The intention of constructing this report is to inform others about the dangers and potential consequences affecting relationships after taking Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (more commonly known as LSD or acid).

A relationship is not just someone who is infatuated or in-love with another, it could also be the relationship between siblings, parents, other family members, friends, work colleagues. Not only society, but human existence in general thrives on relationships, and without them society is at risk. Without having positive relationships, it becomes difficult for a society to function and it affects everyone around the negative relationship.

Having a healthy relationship has been shown to lessen the risk of premature death by as much as 50%; another study proved to show that committing to a life partner can add another 3 years on to life expectancy. It has also been discovered that healthy relationships can offer an easier way to deal with stress. After going through a stressful time, recovery can be achieved quicker and easier once reminded of strong friendships and with the ongoing support from close friends. If someone is affected by a toxic relationship, it could potentially impact on their wellbeing, and their lifespan.

Throughout the report, information regarding the production of LSD and the physical and mental effects it has on the brain will be outlined and explained. Continuing on, the report will then discuss what a user’s LSD abuse can cause in their family, and friendships, also including the effects towards a significant other.


Whilst reading through this report it is important to note that not enough research has been conducted on this drug to be able to confidently say that these pieces of information are completely factual.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide is an illicit hallucinogenic drug that causes the user to experience extremely vivid hallucinations, mood swings, a sense of feeling ‘one with the universe’ and unrealistic beliefs, such as believing they can fly. When an abuser takes the drug, the effects are completely unpredictable and could occur in a happy, peaceful ‘trip’ (reaction to the drug), or in a terrifying or confusing ‘trip’, resulting in panic and loss of control within themselves. The effects of LSD can last an extremely long period of time, sometimes lasting around 12 or more hours. 

After taking LSD, the user could suffer from a series of flashbacks. These flashbacks could occur at anytime, some even experience flashbacks days, months or even years after taking LSD, and could send the individual into a potential state of panic. When experiencing a flashback, the abuser will relive certain aspects of a trip they had whilst taking the LSD, even if they’re not using it at the time. This is can also be referred to as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). However, this is not only caused by LSD, but is also common in users of other hallucinogenic substances.  

To create LSD the chemist must have access to a full lab, including a dark room, and must have a strong working knowledge for organic chemistry. They must be extremely cautious regarding the toxicity of ergot as well as other dangerous chemicals such as chloroform. The chloroform can be dangerous as it can cause cancer and damages kidneys and liver after inhalation or contact with skin alone. 
To start, the ergot alkaloid is synthesised into a lysergic acid compound also known as isolysergic acid hydrazide by heating with chemicals, including hydrazine acid, hydrazine hydrate, sodium nitrate, sodium bicarbonate, and diethylamine. The isolysergic acid hydrazide is then isomerised (when a molecule is rearranged and transferred into another molecule) and cooled. It is then evaporated to leave iso lysergic diethylamide. This is then isomerized again to produce the active LSD (chemical structure shown below).

Figure 1: Structure of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. Retrieved from:

After being purified and crystallised, the acid is then dissolved in ethanol before sheets of blotting paper are then dipped in and dried (blotter acid). Before being dissolved, the chemist will have to be extremely careful to not degrade the drug. Degradation of the drug can occur when exposed to heat, light, oxygen and/or moisture. The blotting paper is shaped into small squares about 6.35 millimetres wide. Each square contains one dosage of the drug and are usually printed with cartoon characters. LSD can also be seen as gelatin squares (window panes) and tablets (microdots).  

The LSD solution is in a crystallised, solid form, is odorless, colourless and tasteless. It has a molar mass of 323.43 g/mol, has a boiling point of around 80-85 °C, has a  melting point of 82.5 °C, is soluble in water and has the chemical formula C20H25N3O. The functional groups present in the lysergic acid diethylamide include carboxylic acid, two alkenes, and an amine. 

After the LSD has been taken it will not enter the bloodstream until it reaches the small intestine, which usually takes around 30-60 minutes. 90% of absorption of nutrients and minerals happens in the small intestine, where they are then transported into the bloodstream. As the acid passes through the small intestine, the drug is then absorbed into the user’s bloodstream and will eventually reach the brain. 

LSD affects multiple brain receptors including dopamine, adrenergic, glutamate and serotonin. Serotonin is the main receptor to focus on when explaining the effect of LSD on the brain. Serotonin is a chemical nerve produced by cells that send the signals between nerve cells. It affects one’s emotions and motor skills. It also helps reduce depression, regulate anxiety, heal wounds, stimulate nausea and maintain bone health. Scientists believe that the LSD mimics the 5-HT2A serotonin receptor and collides with it at an unexpected angle, causing it to fold over the drug, creating a lid. The LSD is then trapped and the receptor continually fires, causing the vivid hallucinations in a user’s trip. The brain then sucks the receptor into the cell in order to degrade the LSD. This takes up to 12 or more hours, explaining why a user’s trip lasts so long. This all occurs within the main place in the brain where serotonin is found, the visual cortex. This also leads explain why a user experiences extreme visual hallucinations.


There is no doubt that when an individual decides to use drugs it is going to affect their relationships, whether they’re close friends, family or a significant other.

As dependance for the drug starts to increase, the user will become fixated on how and where to buy more LSD, taking away the interest of their relationships and loved ones. This then leads to the other people in the relationships to investigate into why their friend, relative, or significant other has become isolated and disinterested. 

When the other people in the relationships first discover the evidence of drug usage, it is expected they will become anxious and distraught considering their lack of knowledge about the situation and will feel obligated to help the loved one.
Family members, parents in particular, will often defend their child and slowly start to become engrossed in every decision they make. On the other hand, children affected by their parents’ drug use will become weepy, clingy and are at high risk of developing a mental illness, such as depression and/or anxiety, if drug abuse continues. 

As the situation continues to grow and worsen, the other people in the relationships may feel obliged to try LSD themselves to potentially understand the user’s need to take the drug, or turn to other drugs as a coping mechanism. This can cause a chain reaction of drug abuse within a family and other relationships and therefore the rest of society. 

On the other hand, evidence also shows that prolonged use of LSD can cause the user to be unable to concentrate on work. This can lead to potentially getting fired from their job, losing their relationships with work colleagues as well as losing the ability to make a living.


It is not uncommon for people to believe that using LSD, or any kind of drug, will only affect them and not the people around them. This is a common misconception as LSD highly affects the other people connected to the abuser in an extremely negative way. This is shown specifically throughout the discussion of the report, where it is clear that abuse of lysergic acid diethylamide can result in the user’s loved ones feeling the effects of stress, anxiety, the loss of the relationship all together, and could also lead to potential addiction spreading throughout a family or friendship group. 

All of this evidence shows that taking LSD not only has major effects on the user’s brain, mental health and physical health, but will also risk the strength of the relationships, the mental health and the physical health of everyone else around them. 

Considering the lack of research conducted around the effects of LSD, it is best that the use of the illicit hallucinogen is avoided as it is still unknown whether it can cause greater problems.

Public Education Piece

For my public education piece I made an infographic to advise the general public of the information showed in this report.


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