Have you ever wondered what would happen if you snorted a Scarface-sized pile of LSD? Well, you don’t have to. A new medical report detailed a case where someone did this for you.
The report, recently published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, described the acid-sniffing case of one 46-year-old woman, identified only as CB. Back in 2015, CB mistook a bunch of powdered LSD for cocaine. She snorted about 55mg of the drug, which may not seem a lot until you consider that the average minimum dose of LSD is only 100mcg, or about 550 times less than what she actually stuck up her nose.
Fifteen minutes after inhaling an ungodly amount of acid, CB’s roommate noticed she was acting weird. She started frothing at the mouth while speaking incoherently, then vomited infrequently while slipping in and out of consciousness. The vomiting, blacking out, and speaking in tongues went on for nearly 34 hours straight, though in the final 10 hours, CB finally began coming down from what must have been a frighteningly cosmic experience.
Now, here comes the weird part: For two decades prior to that fateful mindfuck of a night, CB took eight morphine pills a day to control foot pain she developed after contracting Lyme disease. But after she railed that mega-dose of LSD, she eventually weaned herself off of morphine, replacing the powerful opioid with microdoses of LSD instead. And the kicker? She never experienced opioid withdrawal symptoms.
CB’s case taught doctors two things: One, there probably isn’t a lethal dose of LSD for the average person. And two, LSD can work as a non-addictive, relatively non-toxic painkiller, though how to actually administer it to patients with chronic pain still hasn’t been worked out by researchers.
“The glib answer to that question is a sort of rewiring of the brain, but what does that actually mean?” Mark Haden, the study’s lead author, told New Atlas. Haden has worked as an addiction treatment specialist for 28 years, and he teaches medical students at the University of British Columbia, which conducted the case studies.
“New neural networks get formed. We all know we get into certain habits,” he continued. “If you are used to putting your jacket on with your right arm in first, try it the other way around, and you’ll realize how difficult it is to change neural pathways. So, our lives are full of neural pathways, and LSD or psychedelics generally, seem to do something to create new neural pathways. That is a really superficial answer. We don’t really understand what that means.”
Two other studies included in the report showed that uber-high doses of LSD did not cause serious, long-term damage. One case included a pregnant 26-year-old identified as NW. NW wasn’t aware she was two-weeks pregnant when she took 500mcg, or five times the standard dose, of LSD. She later gave birth to a perfectly normal, healthy child who is now 18-years-old.
NW, coincidentally enough, took that giant dose of LSD at a party with another case study identified as AV. AV was only 15-years-old when she took 100mg, or 10 times the standard dose, of LSD at that party. She had previously been diagnosed as hypomanic, bipolar, and clinically depressed. But after tripping so hard — to the point she experienced something that resembled a seizure — her brain effectively reset to “normal,” and she no longer qualified for the mental illnesses she had been diagnosed with.
Of course, no one should attempt what these three individuals experienced. Scientists still don’t really know how LSD affects people in the long-term, much less how LSD even makes us trip in the first place. But all three case studies indicate that LSD is not a lethal drug, it probably doesn’t cause permanent brain damage (at least when taken infrequently), and, in some cases, it could be more effective as a medicine than conventional pharmaceuticals are.
"LSD is a remarkably non-toxic substance," Haden said to Newsweek.
Universities around the world have already started studying how microdosing LSD may benefit patients struggling with difficult-to-treat conditions. While accidentally taking giant amounts of acid may not be most folks’ idea of a fun time, we’re certain that — if a research group decided to study megadosing LSD — that some hardcore psychonauts would line right up to volunteer.