These plants contain chemical compounds, such as mescaline, psilocybin, and ibogaine, that are structurally similar to serotonin, and they produce their effects by disrupting normal functioning of the serotonin system. Historically, hallucinogenic plants were used largely for social and religious ritual, and their availability was limited by the climate and soil conditions they require.
After the development of LSD, a synthetic compound that can be manufactured anywhere, abuse of hallucinogens became more widespread, and from the 1960s it increased dramatically. All LSD manufactured in this country is intended for illegal use, since LSD has no accepted medical use in the United States.
Physical Characteristics of LSDLSD is a clear or white, odorless, water-soluble material synthesized from lysergic acid, a compound derived from a rye fungus. LSD is the most potent mood- and perception-altering drug known: oral doses as small as 30 micrograms can produce effects that last 6 to 12 hours.
LSD is initially produced in crystalline form. The pure crystal can be crushed to powder and mixed with binding agents to produce tablets known as "microdots" or thin squares of gelatin called "window panes"; more commonly, it is dissolved, diluted, and applied to paper or other materials.
The most common form of LSD is called "blotter acid" - sheets of paper soaked in LSD and perforated into 1/4-inch square, individual dosage units. Variations in manufacturing and the presence of contaminants can produce LSD in colors ranging from clear or white, in its purest form, to tan or even black.
Even uncontaminated LSD begins to degrade and discolor soon after it is manufactured, and drug distributors often apply LSD to colored paper, making it difficult for a buyer to determine the drug's purity or age.
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