The following brief account of experiences with LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide, lysergide) in normal subjects will serve as a model. Experiences with mescaline and psilocybin are similar:
• Vision may become blurred and there may be hallucinations; these generally do not occur in the blind and are less if the subject is blindfolded. Objects appear distorted, and trivial things, e.g. a mark on a wall, may change shape and acquire special significance.
• Auditory acuity increases, but hallucinations are uncommon. Subjects who do not ordinarily appreciate music may suddenly come to do so.
• Foods may feel coarse and gritty in the mouth.
• Limbs may be left in uncomfortable positions.
• Time may seem to stop or to pass slowly, but usually it gets faster and thousands of years may seem suddenly to go by.
• The subject may feel relaxed and supremely happy, or may become fearful or depressed. Feelings of depersonalisation and dreamy states occur.
The experience lasts a few hours, depending on the dose; intervals of normality then occur and become progressively longer.
Somatic symptoms include nausea, dizziness, paraesthesiae, weakness, drowsiness, tremors, dilated pupils, ataxia. Effects on the cardiovascular system and respiration vary and probably reflect fluctuating anxiety.
There is no shortage of sensational accounts of experience with psychodysleptics, because there has been a vogue amongst intellectuals, begun by Mr Aldous Huxley,37 for publishing their experiences. Subsequent accounts are tedious to most except their authors and to those who would do the same; they have little pharmacological importance and reveal more about the author's egocentricity than about pharmacology. The same applies to published accounts of what it is like to be a drug addict.
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