Recreational Substance Toxicity

In: Culture Science

19 May 2010

I think I’d have to question some of the sources for this data. 1000 hits of LSD? Related article. (via)


2 Responses to Recreational Substance Toxicity


Mike D.

May 20th, 2010 at 10:17 am

Decent chart. Research into LD-50s of things like cannabis, LSD and psilocybin had the kaibash put on them as they were added to Schedule 1 of the CSA (Controlled Substances Act), which forbids even research on those substances. As we gradually move back into psychedelics research (and we are, slowly but surely), we’ll probably revise those numbers downward some.

That being said, I personally know people who have eaten large volumes of LSD in a single dose and watched them do it. I watched someone take 100 hits (an entire phial of LSD solution) and have a relatively normal, but very long trip (almost 2 days). I know people who have taken up to an ounce of psilocybin mushrooms without ill effect, but it’s impossible to truly know potency, and also exceedingly difficult to ingest 1000 times active dose when you have to eat that much fungal matter. Perhaps once extraction starts being done en masse we might see that theory tested…

Anyway, the trick with LSD & psilocybin is hidden in their methods of action. We don’t really understand how they work, but we do understand that the effects are not from the drug, per se, but the result of a long chain reaction of chemistry in the brain which is initiated and catalyzed by the drug. So, if any component of the chain reaction is unable to fire or firing at lesser power, the effect of the drug is affected in a compounding fashion (consider if several parts of the reaction happen at a lower frequency than baseline).

By contrast, MDMA works by nearly-directly causing a mass release of serotonin into the brain, as do amphetamines with dopamine. This is a common type of method-of-action in drugs, a more direct-effect action. I believe (but am not sure) that marijuana also functions this way upon cannabinoid receptors in the brain, leaving an open question as to why human tolerance to cannabis seems to be so great.



May 20th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Agreed with the other commenter. The outcry against LSD is not about the health effects on the user, but rather the ‘damage to society’ by having people running around on a trip.

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