While LSD remains a Schedule I controlled substance, a legal LSD alternative exists called 1P-LSD that is said to induce near-similar effects with no reported toxicity.
What is 1P-LSD — the Legal LSD?
1P-LSD is a derivative and functional analogue of LSD. It differs in structure by the addition of a propionyl group added to the nitrogen in the indole group of LSD. 1P-LSD came into prominence when it began being sold as a designer drug in January of 2015 on the dark web. Ever since, it has steadily remained a popular drug of choice due to its legal status – that’s right: legal LSD!
How Does a Legal LSD Exist?
How exactly is 1P-LSD legal? Well, the United States Controlled Substances Act does not regulate 1P-LSD like it does LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and other psychedelics. Instead, the United States classifies 1P-LSD as a research chemical (also known as a “designer drug”).
The United States has the Federal Analog Act in place, which allows any chemical that is “substantially similar” to a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II to be treated as if it were listed in Schedule I, but only if intended for human consumption. Most manufacturers and online sites that sell 1P-LSD state that the substance is meant for research only and not for human consumption, to skirt around this rule.
Other countries, including France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy, among others, regulate 1P-LSD as a controlled substance. With society accepting psychedelics more, it may be possible that normal LSD is legalized in the near future. But for now, 1P-LSD is a legal alternative.
What is the Pharmacology of 1P-LSD?
There is very few research looking into the effects of 1P-LSD, but a 2020 study highlighted the pharmacokinetics and subjective effects of the drug for the first time. In this study, two human volunteers were given controlled oral and intravenous doses of 1P-LSD and their urine and serum subsequently analyzed. 1P-LSD was detected for 4.16 hours in serum and 2.7 hours in urine, but LSD was detected in all serum samples after 24 hours and up to 80 hours in urine. Furthermore, there was a bioavailability of close to 100% of LSD after administration.
This points to 1P-LSD being a prodrug of LSD, meaning that it is a drug that turns into an active form after it enters the body, in this case the active form being LSD. David E. Nichols, one of the world’s leading psychedelic researchers, further commented on this theory by explaining that 1P-LSD would be unable to fit and dock properly into the 5-HT2A receptor with the propionyl group. This gives us further insight that 1P-LSD may turn into LSD in the body rather than acting as an independent molecule.
Does 1P-LSD have Similar Effects as LSD?
The 2020 study showed the psychosensory effects and time course of 1P-LSD were comparable to those of LSD. In addition, it was not possible to reliably distinguish between an oral dose of 1P-LSD vs. LSD. That is until sensitive analytical methods were used. These findings further substantiate the prodrug theory. Anecdotal reports also state it is virtually impossible to distinguish between 1P-LSD and LSD. Many reports of this can be found psychedelic subreddits such as r/LSD.
So, what does this all mean in a TL;DR sense? Basing it off the little research that exists, 1P-LSD lives up to the hype of it being a legal LSD option. It has indistinguishable effects to LSD. 1P-LSD is a good legal way of consuming LSD because the doses are properly measured and regulated.
LSD doses are highly variable, so it is difficult to know the exact amount of drug in a blotter. But with 1P-LSD, doses are consistent and properly measured. Since 1P-LSD is indistinguishable from LSD, it can serve as a good way of gauging doses. Taking 100ug of 1P-LSD gives a user a threshold to gauge if future LSD blotters are under- or overdosed.
No one wants to take an underwhelming, underdosed 150ug LSD blotter. Taking this legal LSD allows users to know exactly what each dose feels like. This allows them to find the dose that works best with them.
How Safe is 1p-LSD?
Legal alternatives of illicit drugs should not be blindly consumed. Users must conduct their own research to ensure their safety. Usually, designer drugs have little to no research regarding their safety and long-term effects. Since they are not meant to be used for human consumption, taking them can be a gamble. For example, when synthetic marijuana (also known as K2 or Spice) came into prominence in the late 2000s, many users thought it was a safe, legal alternative to weed, but research later showed that the synthetic cannabinoids produced toxicity not associated with weed.
In the case of 1P-LSD, there is no formal research on its safety. But, there are anecdotal reports that there is no toxicity or side effect that occur from its consumption. Just as with any other drug, proper harm reduction should be taken when consuming any type of foreign substance. Using the theory that 1P-LSD is a prodrug of LSD, then it could be predicted that the pharmacological and safety profiles of both drugs are comparable. This cannot be certain until proper studies are conducted, as the propionyl group may or may not affect the profile.
So…is Legal LSD Worth Exploring?
Overall, it seems that 1P-LSD is a promising way to legally consume LSD. This molecule can provide psychonauts a form of legal LSD that has indistinguishable effects and no negative anecdotal reports regarding its safety. 1P-LSD also allows users to be able to gauge the difference in doses more accurately. As always, proper harm reduction techniques must be followed. One way is to test LSD blotters and related drugs using an Erlich reagent test. This ensures the drug is actually LSD or LSD-derived. Unfortunately, there is always the possibility 25i-NBOMe adulterates LSD and its derivatives.