The definitive guide to testing LSD

Many of the most well-known psychedelics have been a part of human history for as long as we’ve had history to check. The thousands of substances, developed in the last few decades to replace them, have largely failed to unseat these sacred plants in public awareness, and it’s not for want of trying.
You already read the title, so you know we’re here to talk about the exception to this rule – no other substance, at least in the last century, has captured our collective imagination in the same way as LSD.
Since its first synthesis in Basel in 1943 and the pivotal Orange Sunshine synth in the winter of ‘68, LSD’s popularity has ebbed and flowed over the generations. However, the demand for LSD never completely disappeared, and neither did the supply. This means acid faces the same questions as any other drug: what happens when we experience a sudden spike in supply or dip in demand? LSD may be unique among drugs in many ways, but it answers these questions just like all the others.

Why is LSD faked?

Prices will spike, of course, and doses will plummet – 200µg tabs give way to 150µg, then 100 and finally “100” – but our concern is what comes after that. Adulteration is pretty uncommon in LSD, given how little mass there is to bulk out, but total substitution is all too prevalent. In the past, the primary substitutes came from the DOx family – they were relatively similar in terms of subjective experience, simpler to produce (LSD really is hard-mode for clandestine pharmacologists) and crucially, one of the few substances which were active in a similar-enough dose range to be laid on blotter paper – after all, it’s harder to convince someone they’re taking LSD if they need to 20mg of the stuff to have any effect.
The discovery of the NBOMe family changed things, however. Simpler and much, much cheaper to produce, these compounds quickly overtook the DOxs as the substitutes of choice when swapping out LSD. They’re certainly similar enough that a novice could be fooled, but they would be much more likely to have a terrible time – some folk can tolerate and even enjoy NBOMes, but they’re universally considered to be more difficult to manage than real LSD, and are objectively more dangerous.
This is because NBOMes, almost unique among psychedelics, have the potential for fatal overdose. Don’t get us wrong, it’s entirely possible to take too much of any psychedelic and equally possible to die as a result, but it generally isn’t going to be because the drug itself has shut down any vital organs. NBOMes, meanwhile, can and have killed their users through massively increased heart rate, leading to cardiac arrest or stroke. This threat is compounded by the unpredictability of the stuff: the same dose could induce a light-to-moderate trip in one person and kill another.
We try not to deal in scare tactics, but hard to look at these and not consider them to be scary stuff. Fortunately, all it takes to check what you’re taking is a simple testkit.

What do the statistics show?

While we can’t tell you what’s in your stash specifically, we can look at the results of extensive testing around the world to get an idea of what adulterants are in circulation.

  • Portugal

Boom Festival, 245 samples expected to be LSD were submitted to the drug checking service at the 2014 Boom Festival in Portugal.

67.3% of the alleged LSD samples tested, contained only LSD
0.8% contained LSD combined with adulterants
24.1% did not contain LSD but did contain another psychoactive substance, including 11.4% that were 2,5‐dimethoxyamphetamine (DOC) derivatives, and 9.8% that were N‐benzyl‐2,5‐dimethoxyphenethylamine (25I-NBOMe) derivatives.
7.8% did not contain any psychoactive substance.

Complications that occur

In principle, testing LSD is pretty similar to testing anything else. In reality, however, there are complications:

  • Reactions can be less obvious – the quarter-tab you use to test may contain barely over a thousandth of the dose you may use to test MDMA or cocaine
  • The delivery medium can change your results – that quarter-tab is going to be 99% ink/paper by weight, after all, so we can expect the results to be a little different compared to crystal or liquid acid. If you’ve got a geltab, microdot or, God help you, some kind of candy, those results may change even more.
  • The timeframe can be totally different – in most drugs, reactions take no more than 30-60 seconds. Depending on the medium used, LSD tests can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.

Which testkits do I need?

The more testkits you use to test, the more likelihood you have in finding something wrong. To test LSD we recommend using at least these three testkits, this will help you confirm it’s LSD and rule out dangerous substitutes such as NBOMe.

Ehrlich, This stuff is LSD’s acid test, as it were, the first indicator of whether what you’ve got is acid or not. LSD in any form will slowly turn Ehrlich testkit pink, then purple over time, while DOxs and NBOMes won’t react with it at all.

Marquis, This testkit allows you to react to various potential substitutes such as NBOMe or DOx. Our likeliest substitutes will produce a whole rainbow of responses in Marquis reagent, with one key exception: DOM doesn’t react with Marquis, meaning that we can’t rule it out.

Froehde, Our final test is with Froehde reagent. In most cases, LSD won’t react with Froehde whereas DOM (and most other possible substitutes) will produce a vivid yellow/green.


Why should I use multiple testkits?

To some degree this is about personal preference and how much you want to err on the side of caution. Many people will conclude their testing with a positive Ehrlich reaction but there is a undeniable larger safety in numbers with testkits.

  • A positive Ehrlich reaction on blotter could mean LSD, AL-LAD or ETH-LAD (In active doses) or other indoles (Wouldn’t be a active dose).
  • Ehrlich can technically, be fooled by for example 5-HTP or Melatonin, which would react the same as LSD.
  • If my blotter doesn’t react at all, then I could see if it’s for example 1p-lsd, a NBOMe or DOx with the help of Marquis etc.
  • LSD Analogue testing is trickier than just LSD in many cases, we tested 1cp-lsd a while ago which didn’t react to any of the seven testkits we have.