Psychological and Biochemical Effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide


Stoll1 and Condrau2 have shown that the psychological effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD–25), an amide of one of the constituents of ergot, are similar to those obtained in mescaline intoxication, but are produced by the oral administration of quantities as small as 0.02–0.06 mgm. While, in our experiments, the symptoms varied greatly from one person to another, the basic pattern of reaction seemed the same in twenty subjects who were members of the hospital staff. After initial slight autonomic symptoms, such as enlarged pupils, feeling of cold, ‘goose flesh’ and mild nausea, the most marked changes were emotional, a pleasurable feeling tone amounting to euphoria and bursts of laughter ; this sometimes alternated with, or later was followed by, depression. There was also a general complaint of a feeling of lassitude and muscular weakness. In spite of some difficulty in concentrating, consciousness remained clear and introspection almost undisturbed. Visual illusions and hallucinations, especially illusions of movement, colour and distortions of the body image were frequently present.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Stoll, W. A., Schweiz. Arch. f. Neurol. u. Psychiat., 60, 279 (1947).

  2. 2

    Condrau, G., Acta Psychiat. et Neurol., 24, 9 (1949).

  3. 3

    King, E. G., Haslewood, G. A. D., and Delory, G. E., Lancet, i, 886 (1937).

  4. 4

    Cori, G. T., and Cori, C. F., J. Biol. Chem., 94, 561 (1931).

  5. 5

    Barker, A., and Summerson, W. H., J. Biol. Chem., 138, 535 (1941).

  6. 6

    Hawk, B. P., Oser, B. L., and Summerson, W. H., “Practical Physiological Chemistry” (J. and A. Churchill, Ltd., London).

  7. 7

    Friedemann, T. E., and Haughen, G. E., J. Biol. Chem., 147, 415 (1943).

  8. 8

    Gottfried, S. P., and Willner, H. H., Schweiz. Arch. f. Neurol. u. Psychiat., 62, 809 (1949).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

MAYER-GROSS, W., McADAM, W. & WALKER, J. Psychological and Biochemical Effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. Nature 168, 827–828 (1951).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.