Side Effects of Serotonergic Hallucinogens
The most important part of the discussion about LSD concerned the adverse effects of its use. The main danger lies in the fact that, apparently, LSD causes chromosomal abnormalities. Therefore, men or women who use this drug are at risk of having inferior children. This finding is based on the discovery that LSD disrupts chromosomes in leukocytes that are artificially cultured in a laboratory. Based on this, there is a fear that LSD can damage human gametes. Although the fact that chromosomes are disturbed in leukocytes in a laboratory test tube under the influence of high doses of LSD does not prove that the same should occur in natural conditions. In the course of a serious study of this issue did not appear convincing evidence that LSD (as well as any other serotonergic hallucinogen) increases the number of descendants with congenital disorders, if taken in moderate doses. Although some risks are still possible when taking high doses, the ability of LSD to cause hereditary disorders is no stronger than that of aspirin under normal circumstances. However, as with other substances, there is a risk of damage to the fetus if the drug is taken during pregnancy.
Other adverse effects of LSD deserve a closer look. An important problem is acute panic or paranoid drug-induced reactions. These bad trips leave a person in a state of acute mental disorder in which he can hurt himself or others. It is difficult to establish the frequency of bad trips, but there were enough of them to be in the 60s. there was an extensive network of accessible crisis centers, where LSD victims could receive psychological help and, if necessary, referral to a hospital. Currently, bad trips are becoming less common, because it is better known how to prevent them. The psychological state of the drug user and his environment is important. For example, there was a case of suicide of a person who took LSD during one experiment conducted by the CIA in the 50s, but did not know about it. Being under the influence of a drug without prior knowledge of its capabilities is very dangerous, there can be disastrous consequences. A quiet, calm environment, low doses of LSD reduce the likelihood of bad trips, although they can occur under the most favorable circumstances.
Another problem that is associated with hallucinogens, similar to LSD, is the phenomenon of the “return of the past.” It consists in a sudden, unexpected re-experience of fragments from hallucinogenic trips that occurred weeks, months, years before that moment. Although, as in the case of bad trips, it is difficult to establish the frequency of this phenomenon, according to one study, 53.5% of those who use LSD experienced a “return to the past” syndrome. Although the majority do not consider them particularly destructive, but 12.9% of those who have experienced this, sought medical help. Although little is known about the causes of their occurrence, they are triggered by anxiety, fatigue, the consumption of marijuana, or sudden changes in the environment, such as at nightfall.
LSD also causes long-term mental disorders. Perhaps the most famous and terrifying example of this is Charles Manson and his “family.” In the “family” of Manson, LSD was used in large doses, but it is not known exactly what role, if any, this use played in their psychopathology, which led to mass murder. When you meet with an insane person taking LSD, it is difficult to establish whether a mental disorder has occurred as a result of taking LSD, or if this person has already been ill, and LSD has more acutely manifested these symptoms. The matter is further complicated by the fact that LSD users have previously dealt with many other drugs and it is not known what role those in turn played. It is believed that hallucinogens can aggravate or exacerbate psychosis or emotional disturbances in some sensitive individuals. LSD also causes other adverse effects. For example, there are few but alarming cases of persistent visual disturbances caused by LSD. LSD also causes long-lasting or permanent changes in the biochemistry of the brain and affects the behavior of animals in the laboratory. Thus, although LSD is not addictive, it is a potentially dangerous drug.