CULTURE
A History of All the Different Ways People Have Taken LSD
Most folks prefer to drop acid on their tongues. But that hasn’t stopped psychonauts from coming up with other inventive ways to consume LSD.
Published on April 1, 2020

LSD, a psychedelic drug known for its mind-blowing visual displays and life-altering insights, is typically consumed through the mouth. But, due to LSD being an incredibly tiny molecule, it can enter the human body through a variety of routes, not just orally.

Ever since LSD — otherwise known as “acid” — first entered popular culture, people have tried numerous ways of consuming it. Below, you’ll find pretty much all of them with historical examples showing that, yes, these methods did, in fact, work. 

However, since LSD is a Schedule I drug in the US, know that trying any of these methods could land you in prison. There are also some minor health risks to consider. Basically, MERRY JANE isn’t responsible if you decide to trip acid after reading this. We’re just providing the information for educational — and entertainment — purposes. Now let’s dive into the psychedelic abyss of dosing techniques. 

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Through the Skin

Since the LSD molecule is so tiny, it can absorb directly through the skin, especially when prepared in liquid form. In fact, the world’s very first acid trip likely occurred through the transdermal route, when Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who first synthesized LSD, accidentally got some on his fingertips.

Blotter Paper / Tabs

Probably the most well-known method for taking LSD is in the form of blotter papers. Blotters are sheets of paper serrated or perforated into small squares, usually about a square centimeter each. Sheets of blotter paper typically feature aesthetically-enticing images of cartoon characters or other wild illustrations, some which are sold online (sans-LSD). 

Blotter paper became the preferred LSD consumption method for a couple of reasons. One, a single drop (or “hit”) of acid could fit onto each square (a “tab”), making it easier to dose (and sell) the drug. Furthermore, the designs found on most blotter sheets look fuckin’ cool as hell, and what better way to store acid than on something that could double as a framable work of art? 

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Microdots

If blotter papers are the blunts of the LSD world, then microdots are the half-sized joints. Microdots are tiny paper squares that range from one-quarter to one-tenth the size of a standard blotter hit. The idea behind microdots was that they could make microdosing easier, or they could absorb more concentrated LSD mixtures on much smaller pieces of paper to deliver the same dose in a tinier (read: easier to hide) package. 

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Candy

Just as liquid LSD can be absorbed into blotter paper or microdots, many candy products are ideal for soaking up and storing the psychedelic. Once the LSD dries on a given candy — such as Sweet Tarts or gummy bears — psychonauts can simply let the treats melt in their mouths before blasting off. 

Liquid Drops

While pure LSD comes as a white crystalline powder, it can be readily dissolved in mixtures of water and alcohol. These liquid mixes have no distinguishing smells or flavors, and pretty much look like plain ol’ water to the naked eye. LSD drops can be transferred to paper or candies, or they can be administered directly under the tongue — or even into your eyes (more on that next). 

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In the Eye

For the truly hardcore trippers, liquid LSD can also be applied directly to the eye. Word on the streets is that dosing the eye causes harder trips with rapid onsets, since the blood vessels in the eyes connect directly to the brain, though the phenomenon may be placebo, too. 

Do note that self reports of people dosing themselves through the ocular route describe the experience as painful, as the ethanol (and possibly the LSD, too) in the liquid drops burn the sensitive tissue of the eyes. 

Intravenously

There’s really no point to inject LSD, but yes, some people have done it. In a video for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), neuroscientist David Nichols describes an experiment where human subjects received intravenous LSD. He said it took roughly 30 minutes for the effects to begin after injection. Seeing as LSD normally takes 30-60 minutes to begin when taken under the tongue, the IV route sounds like more trouble than it’s worth.

Snorting

Remember earlier when we said LSD is often synthesized into a white, crystalline powder? That means it can be snorted through the nose, just like other powdered drugs. Earlier this year, doctors reported one case study where a woman accidentally inhaled lines of pure LSD thinking it was cocaine, an estimated 550 times the standard dose.

Amazingly, the woman did not die after 34 straight hours of tripping so hard she couldn’t stop vomiting. In fact, her case study indicates that there may be no lethal dose of LSD for humans. Additionally, she claimed that the LSD megadosing experience helped wean her off of morphine, which she took to control pain related to Lyme disease. 

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From a ‘60s-Era Synthesizer Keyboard

Last year, Eliot Curtis, a repair technician based in California, claimed he received an unexpected dose of LSD after fiddling with a vintage synthesizer that was kept in a cool, dark closet. According to the story, the synthesizer was owned by an avid LSD user, so it’s possible that drug residues ended up in the instrument, only to be absorbed by Curtis’s body decades later. Curtis reportedly tripped so hard that he hid in the closet until the effects wore off. 

That tells us two things: LSD can be transferred to practically any dry surface, and it can maintain its potency for many, many years under the right conditions — such a synthesizer storage room. 

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From a Sex Worker Employed by the CIA

OK, while getting slipped LSD from a sex worker isn’t exactly a route of administration, it makes for a fun (and frightening) story. 

In the 1950s and ‘60s, the CIA ran a brothel in San Francisco. As part of the intelligence agency’s Project Midnight Climax (we’re not making this up), CIA scientists wanted to know what the effects of LSD were on unsuspecting, nonconsenting individuals, namely to see if the psychedelic could make a good truth serum. 

Although the CIA’s psychedelics mind-control projects are (supposedly) no longer operating, all leaked documents suggest the CIA didn’t find success with LSD (or weed) as an interrogation tool. In most cases, subjects just got high AF and laughed their asses off until the CIA got bored and transferred them elsewhere. The British Army performed similar LSD experiments back in the day, which also yielded hilariously strange results. 

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Randy Robinson
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Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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