The Chemistry of LSD


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Lysergic Acid Diethylamide also known as LSD has been a controversial subject for the past few decades.  From being one of the most popular hallucinogens in the sixties, it is now illegal throughout the United States.  Today, many people still argue about the health risks and whether or not it should continue to be illegal.  I chose to use LSD as my … because I would like to know the true effects it has on the body and mind, and gain an opinion on this argument.
Composition of ...

LSD is made from the fungus ergon which is known to grow on rye.  Someone making LSD must be extremely careful because ergon is toxic and caused many deaths in the Middle Ages when it was eaten. LSD has no color, odor, or taste. To make LSD you must have great knowledge in organic chemistry and a full lab setup. The chemist must extract the ergot alkaloids from the fungus. Also this must be done in a dark room because the fungus will decompose under bright lights. The other ingredients to make this drug are very dangerous such as chloroform and anhydrous hydrazine which are carcinogens and can easily be absorbed through skin contact alone.  The alkaloid is then combined with the lysergic acid compound “iso-lysergic acid hydrazide” by adding and heating processes.  Then the acid is isomerized which is when the atoms in its molecules are rearranged through a chemical process. its then mixed with an acid and a base and evaporated. What’s left is “iso-lysergic diethylamide” which is isomerized once more to make LSD, which is then purified and crystallized. The LSD is then usually dissolved in ethanol, where sheets of blotting paper are dipped and then dried.

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components


  • Carbon

  • Hydrogen

  • Nitrogen

  • Oxygen

Chemistry's Role

The two main components of my … are almost entirely manmade.  The process by which the ergot is used is very dangerous and complex.  Chemistry plays a large role in creating this hallucinogen, and must only be performed by knowledged chemists with a full lab.


About the Author

Corina Haydal