Dangerous drug: That's why LSD works extremely long

Hours of trips: New study shows why LSD works for so long
Especially during the hippie movement, LSD was a frequently consumed drug, with which long trips are possible. A study has now shown why the hallucinogenic drug works for so long.

Surprising effects of LSD
Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD for short, is a hallucinogenic drug that was popular especially during the hippie era in the 1960s and 1970s, but is still widely used today. The intoxicant, which is usually dripped onto a small piece of blotting paper, provides hours of trips that can be both pleasant and extremely negative. Scientists have been studying the surprising effects of LSD for decades. US researchers have now found out why the drug works for so long.

Why the drug works for so long
As the scientists led by Bryan Roth from the University of North Carolina (USA) report in the journal "Cell", the psychoactive drug has a particularly long effect because of its special binding to brain receptors.

According to the team, for the first time they had gained insight into the structural basis for the effects of a hallucinogen. In their investigation it was possible to show how the LSD molecule sits in the binding pocket of the serotonin receptor: it is wedged there. In addition, part of the receptor folds down like a lid after binding and includes the LSD in the binding pocket.

As the magazine "" reports, Roth explained: "This is probably the reason why the effects of the LSD last so long." then it’s in, it won’t come out. ”

The trip is only over when the LSD molecule manages to break the lid or when the brain cell breaks down the entire complex.

LSD as a medical device
The new findings could help develop medically effective but less hallucinogenic forms of LSD.

Other scientific studies have shown that LSD - and also other illegal drugs - can be used for medical purposes. For example, it has long been known that cannabis helps with many diseases.

Some health professionals also have hopes in certain party drugs for depression and anxiety. In this context, researchers in Berlin have achieved promising results with hallucinogens such as ketamine.

And years ago, studies indicated that alcohol addiction could be treated with LSD, since just one dose could influence alcoholics' self-image in such a way that they remained permanently dry.

The drug, discovered by Albert Hoffmann in 1943, had long been used by psychiatrists worldwide, but in the 1960s LSD was declared illegal in most countries.

Long-lasting horror trips
Roth and his colleagues do not want to encourage people to consume LSD with their publication. The drug can be dangerous. There is a risk that physical reactions such as dizziness, rapid heartbeat and visual disturbances will occur quickly.

There is also a risk of accidents due to the hallucinogenic effects. And since LSD acts as a so-called emotional enhancer, fear and panic can easily occur if the mood is negative. Such “horror trips” can last a very long time. (ad)

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