A few months ago, I came back to work after I had first tried LSA on the weekend. When I described my experience to a colleague, he looked at me with a surprised look on his face, and said: “isn’t LSA what the hippies in the 1960’s reluctantly took when LSD was not available?”
This was the exact same thing I thought when my man and I decided to pop some LSA- capsules. We expected to get a slightly spacy, semi acid-like experience, but instead ended up completely tripping our faces off for eight hours straight.
Sure, some aspects of LSA are similar to LSD. But taking LSA and expecting an acid-trip is a bit like taking a bite of a peanut butter sandwich when you expect Nutella. So let’s now, once and for all, figure out what exactly the differences are between LSA and LSD.
What is LSA (and LSD)?
Lysergic Acid Amide (LSA) is an alkaloid that occurs in various different plants. It’s found in high concentrations in the seeds of the Hawaiian Baby Woodrose and the Morning Glory plants. The seeds can be chewed or extracted. As you might have guessed, they induce a psychedelic trip.
LSA is an ancient medicine; the Aztecs used Morning Glory for divination and healing rituals. The potent entheogenic qualities of the Hawaiian Baby Woodrose (which are way stronger than Morning Glory seeds) have recently been discovered. You can find more information on LSA here.
D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a synthetic chemical derived from ergot alkaloids which are produced by the ergot fungus which grows on rye. LSD was discovered by Albert Hofmann. It is a strong psychedelic. You can read more about LSD in our encyclopaedia. Albert Hofmann also researched LSA and found out about its significant chemical similarity to LSD. LSA contains lysergic acid, which is also the main component in LSD.
Differences between LSD and LSA
What are the differences between the two? Now that we know what both these substances are, we can start looking for the answer we’ve all been yearning for. The most obvious one is: LSD is synthesized, LSA is found in nature. Whether one is better than the other mainly comes down to personal preference. However, I do have a thing or two to say that extends beyond personal preference.
Side effects of LSA and LSD
LSD is synthesized and isolated. A blotter is a piece of paper with just LSD on it. Your body doesn’t have to digest any weird stuff (except for the paper) other than LSD. Therefore, pure LSD hardly causes nausea and other physical side effects. Pure LSD has a really short half-life; by the end of your trip, the substance is almost completely out of your body. Therefore, this ‘chemical hangover’ that some people report, is most likely caused by adulterants (or just by lack of sleep in combination with an experience that’s very hard for your brain to process).
LSA-seeds, however, can cause nausea at the beginning of the trip. This does wear off after a while, but it can be an unpleasant start of your experience. The seeds and the alkaloids (other than LSA) in it can make you feel sick. LSA is less potent than LSD. Therefore, you need a higher dose. Taking a higher dosage generally, equals more side-effects. This is why Hawaiian Baby Woodrose is considered more popular than Morning Glory.
The side-effects of LSA (like nausea, vomiting and painful limbs) can get quite bad. Frankly, they can pretty much ruin the fun. Fortunately, we have found some ways to eliminate most of the side-effects. If you drink some milk before taking the LSA, it will be less harsh on your stomach. It also helps to eat some fresh ginger (or drink really strong ginger tea). If you still feel nauseous after doing all this, you can always resort to smoking or vaping some Mary Jane.
This might come as a big, fat ‘duh’, but in many countries, you can just order LSA online - no problem. Maybe I’m just lazy (or lucky), but not having to call a dealer and testing your drugs can be quite a relief. LSD has a complicated production process, and the needed ingredients are hard to obtain. Therefore, it often contains adulterants that can cause nasty side effects. Sometimes, LSD doesn’t even contain LSD. Needless to say, it can be quite risky (and probably no fun at all) to take an unknown, potentially dangerous substance.
In principle, both substances are safe, as long as you use your common sense: don’t take it in the wrong setting, with the wrong mind-set, in too high a dosage. Neither LSD nor LSA is physically dangerous, although taking too much can lead to a very, very bad trip, which can potentially cause some long-lasting negative mental effects. LSA is a bit trickier in this regard, as it takes longer for the effects to come on, which causes some people to get impatient and take an extra dose. Don’t do that. Just don’t. You can read more about safe tripping here.
So we’ve discussed some different aspects of these two substances. That’s great and all, but what is the difference if you actually decide to try it? Well, fortunately, you’re speaking to someone who has tried both. A little disclaimer here, though. I am speaking from my own perspective and the perspective of people I have talked to. Of course, the effects differ per person, so take what I am about to say with a grain of salt.
I think LSA is great. Taking LSA can make you very immobile. Standing up and walking feels like you’re on a boat that sails through a heavy storm. It also gives you a bit of a body load and brings you into a dreamy state of mind. It can cause over-sensitivity to light, which sometimes makes it more comfortable to have your eyes closed. This can set you off on a very introspective trip. It can be really self-reflective and spiritual, but also overwhelming, uncomfortable and sometimes scary. I got really profound insights on LSA, I saw light-creatures and understood death. Fortunately, I also had some great laughing fits.
Acid, as some of you might agree with, can best be described as a really great, crazy, surprising rollercoaster trip, with boosted physical energy and an intense desire to wander around and explore. LSA is way calmer than that. LSA can induce some visuals, but generally, no hallucinations, like you get on acid. Colours and patterns do intensify, and you can get this “oh my god the walls are breathing” type of feeling. Closed-eye visuals do tend to get very vivid.
So... LSD or LSA?
If you love acid, and you expect to have loads of energy whilst wandering around like you’re Alice in Wonderland and the yellow submarines float on your ceiling, LSA is probably going to be a bit of a downer. However, if the introspective, mystical aspect of LSD interests you, and you want to go deep, and by that I mean DEEP, LSA would definitely be an interesting substance for you to try.
Author: Sterre Marrée