11 min read

The Unforeseen LSD Overdose of 1972

Dive into a spine-chilling story where 8 people embarked on an unintended psychedelic voyage because of an LSD-cocaine mishap.
The unforeseen LSD overdose from 1972
Photo by Richard Catabay / Unsplash

If someone asked you to bring just one psychedelic to a desolate island where you would be by yourself for an entire year, what would you bring? 🏝️

It's a great question to ask if one is interested in quickly discovering what someone's favorite psychedelic is.

For me, it's definitely LSD, hands down.


A simulation of how visuals might look like on a 200µg (2 tab) dose of LSD by artist Oracle Emissary

The return on investment (ROI) is simply unmatched when compared to all other psychedelics, and perhaps even all other drugs.

Think about it.

  • LSD is cheap ✅
  • LSD is odorless ✅
  • LSD is tasteless ✅
  • LSD is potent in mere micrograms ✅
  • LSD lasts 10 hours ✅
  • LSD produces incredible visuals ✅
  • LSD is non-toxic ✅
  • LSD consistently delivers valuable, therapeutic & life-changing insights ✅
  • LSD is also likely the easiest to smuggle & distribute... as if intentionally, the molecule wanted itself to be spread all around the world undetected 🤫

I mean, come on.

I can only get so erect 🍆

That's why I consider LSD to be the most versatile, and perhaps even the best, all around psychedelic.

Plus, the folklore & history surrounding LSD, along with its influences on music, art, and culture, are equally fascinating.

We're definitely going to be exploring all of those different facets of LSD in future editions of NSP.


Despite all the aforementioned positive attributes of LSD, it is equally important to highlight the fact that LSD can be incredibly dangerous as well.

The fact is...

LSD—OR any powerful tool like it, must be approached with respect and diligence, or there's a potential of getting your ass kicked.


If you stick to safe, conservative dose ranges like 100μg to 300μg, you're most likely going to be OK.

The primary hazard of LSD is primarily psychological, not physiological.

But, would it be possible to push the limits of LSD to such an extent that even serious physiological symptoms begin to occur?


In fact...

In today's edition of NSP...

I am going to share an interesting story with you where LSD induced pain (both psychological AND physiological) was at an all-time high—pun intended 📈 😁

We will explore a fascinating case study where a group of people accidentally ingested an absolutely OBNOXIOUS amount of LSD.... and lived to tell about it!

So, buckle up tight, and read on.

It all started on a quiet Saturday evening in San Francisco.

On July 29th, 1972, in San Francisco...

Four women and four men got together for a night of fun and frolic, expecting to have a normal Saturday night party.

...and they had absolutely no clue they were about to unintentionally take the entire concept of a "hero's dose" to new, unimagined dimensions.

Following a dinner party, amidst the jubilation, all 8 individuals took turns and began to snort cocaine out of a straw.

So far, so good... at least if you're into that sort of thing... and if you're into that sort of thing, I heard there's a great snorting meme involving turtles in this edition of NSP 🤫

There was one big problem, though.

In the middle of this cocaine snort-fest, they also snorted another white powder believed to be cocaine.

This other mystery white powder was actually high-purity D-lysergic acid diethylamide tartrate aka. LSD in flaky crystal form.

Cocaine and powdered crystal LSD also look quite similar, which certainly wasn't helpful to a bunch of party animals who were already high on cocaine.

In short...

All 8 of them accidentally insufflated obscene, unheard quantities of LSD.

For context, this is the type of dose that would have made Terence McKenna look like a toddler.

Keep in mind, the onset & effects are felt a LOT faster when snorting crystal-LSD than when consuming a tab of blotter acid orally—so it wasn't long until they realized they'd made a serious mistake.

Within just 5 minutes of snorting the LSD, all of them began teleporting to a brand-new dimension no psychonaut has dared to traverse.

When u realize it wasn't cocaine meme
When u realize it wasn't cocaine

In a much more uneventful parallel universe, they were also being hauled to the emergency room at San Francisco General Hospital.

At this point, you might be wondering...

So, how much LSD did they ingest?

All eight individuals had plasma levels of 1000-7000 μg per 100 mL of blood plasma.

Assuming a "hit" or a "tab" is 100 μg — that's about 10 to 70 hits of LSD per 100mL of their blood plasma.

Considering that an adult human has about 4.7 to 5.5 liters of blood, of which plasma is about ~55%, that's approximately 2.6 to 3 liters of plasma.

In layman's terms, these folks ingested about 260 to 2100 tabs (or hits) of LSD each! 😵😵‍💫

Actual footage of NSP readers reacting to the dose
Actual footage of NSP readers reacting to the dose

5 of them were comatose.

3 of them had respiratory failure.

Many of them required assisted ventilation.

Vitals from all 8 individuals (ranging in age from 19 to 39 years old) after overdosing on LSD.
Vitals from all 8 individuals, ranging in age from 19 to 39 years old.

...and you can bet your ass that none of them were having a good time.

They also experienced symptoms like:

  • Sinus tachycardia, which is an increased rate of one's heart beating 🫀
  • Fixed pupils, flushing & sweating, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting 🤢
  • Temporary hypertension, likely due to LSD being a vasoconstrictor ❤️‍🩹
  • Coagulopathy, which is a condition where the blood's ability to form clots is impaired, which leads to prolonged or excessive bleeding 🩸

Meanwhile, at the party house...

While assessing the scene, police confiscated an additional 208 mg of LSD in powder form, which represents over 2000+ hits or "tabs" of acid.

So, yes, the situation could have been even worse!

Here's the deal...

LSD is one of the safest, most non-toxic substances on planet earth.

Alcohol, which is a legal substance, is actually far more toxic & dangerous than LSD.

Plus, due to the absence of a lot of case studies where people ingested obscene quantities of LSD like in this example, we're still not fully sure about how much LSD is required to actually kill a human, aka its LD50.

As far as I know, the lethal dose of LSD for man is not known, but it ranges from 46 mg per kg in mice and 8 to 0.3 mg per kg in rabbits and 8 to 0.1 mg per kg in Asiatic elephants.

The problem is...

The people mentioned above aren't mice or rabbits, and certainly not Asiatic elephants, so there was no previous reference for this type of royal fuck up.

But, according to the original paper (which I've included below) where this case study was cited, when interpolated for the body weight of man, this would result in a lethal dose of 0.2 mg per kg or an approximate lethal dose of 14,000 micrograms.

Which translates to just 140 tabs of LSD, which obviously makes no sense because the people above ingested between 26,000 and 210,000 micrograms and still survived.

So, we still don't know... but we do know that you're going to have a terrible day if you go into the extreme dose ranges mentioned above.

Impressively, I think they did far better than just survive.

Allegedly, everyone mostly "recovered" within 12 hours to a semi-functional state, and left the hospital within 48 hours of admission.

Yes, you read that correctly.

They went to the hospital on a Saturday and by Monday, they were home wondering what the fuck just happened.

Pretty impressive, if you ask me.

Although, the original paper says:

no apparent psychologic or physical ill effects were noted in a year of follow-up examinations of five patients.

Which, I think, is bullshit.

While LSD is non-toxic, it still poses significant psychic risks.

I've personally consumed up to 1 mg (which is 1000 μg) of LSD — which is equivalent to about 10 tabs, and at that dose, I am comatose with full ego dissolution.

I've only done such a dose a few times, mostly for science, and such a dose is definitely not a regular occurrence for me.

The most I can consume while still being physically functional is about 500 μg or 5 tabs — which is still an extremely high dose that will put most muggles into a non-functional, comatose, and likely turbulent state.

...and let me tell you:

LSD is absolutely no joke, and it will rattle your brain, mostly in a good way if approached with respect and diligence.

But I find it hard to believe there were "no apparent psychologic" effects after taking over 26,000 μg to 210,000 μg OR 260 to 2100 hits of LSD.

The math just doesn't add up for me.

Except for the questionable claim above, this is still an incredible case study in LSD literature.

It's also a superlative example of being dumb, and careless.

Remember, kids, it's never OKAY to go full retard.

While all 8 participants qualify for the much acclaimed Darwin Awards, I sincerely hope they're OK, though.

Unless you're a professional, don't touch LSD in powdered or liquid form because mistakes can easily happen, like the aforementioned example.

I've also heard of people accidentally breaking a glass vial of liquid LSD in their pocket and instantly absorbing thousands of hits through their pores.

This is why I am too paranoid to play with powdered or liquid LSD.

Just stick to blotter paper.

📄 If you're interested in reading the original paper (from NIH) referenced above, I have attached the PDF below for reference 👇🏽

BTW, There are 3 other case studies compiled by Mark Haden & Birgitta Woods that are related & complementary to today's edition of NSP.

📄 If you're interested in reading that paper, I have attached the PDF below for reference as well 👇🏽

Other than that...

I hope you enjoyed today's edition of the NSP newsletter, and if you found it interesting or entertaining, consider sharing it with your favorite psychonaut friend.

Stay safe out there!
Your friend,

—Dr. D


P.S: Just in case you didn't attend the massive Psychedelic Science conference in Denver recently, you might have missed the drama.

Basically, as soon as Rick Doblin came on stage to give the final "closing" talk of the conference, a bunch of people from the audience interrupted him.

Allegedly the hecklers were criticizing Doblin, MAPS, and the "Psychedelic Renaissance" for commercializing psychedelics without adequate indigenous representation... or something along those lines.

If you're curious, here's a video [9:54] of the incident, so you can decide for yourself.

The hecklers certainly made some good points, and this psychedelic stuff is not going to turn out perfect, but it is reassuring to see Doblin giving the hecklers a chance to voice out their concerns during his time on stage.

Mustafa's Meme
when u take LSD over the weekend and experience enlightenment but still have to go to work on Monday meme

Latest psychedelic news
What Mustafa's Pondering

⭐ = Mustafa's favorites

💻 Ram Dass AI — Someone made an AI-based large language model (LLM) that is trained on the writings of Ram Dass, which means you can now interact with him from the convenience of your home ⭐

📰 News: Magic Mushrooms. LSD. Ketamine. The Drugs That Power Silicon Valley via The Wall Street Journal (non-paywall) — The following paragraph was entertaining: "Doblin added to his employee manual a section called smokable tasks—things you can do at work when you’re high on drugs, such as brainstorming in a meeting or using Excel." 😅 ⭐

📰 News: Why mainstreaming psychedelics isn't generating a fuss via Axios

📰 News: There’s a dangerous message that psychedelics will solve all your mental health problems by Michael Pollan via El País

📰 News: ‘Psychedelics is about healing’ - Thousands gather in Denver for the largest psychedelic conference to date via CPR News

📰 News: AOC, Dan Crenshaw and the mellow struggle for psychedelic drug access via The Washington Post (non-paywall) ⭐

📕 Book: Psychedelics: The Revolutionary Drugs That Could Change Your Life—A Guide from the Expert by Professor David Nutt via Audible. Looks interesting. Here's a non-paywalled review of the book ⭐

📺 Video: Artificial Intelligence, Buddhism, and the Future of Mindfulness with Duncan Trussell and David Nichtern via Vimeo [1:24:03] ⭐

📺 Video: Jaden Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith & guests like Michael Pollan talks about magic psychedelics & mushrooms on Red Table Talk via Facebook Watch [35:10]

📺 Video: Toms Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie, who pledged $100 million to psychedelic research, talks about the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics via CNBC [4:29]

📺 Video: Elon Musk on Mushrooms & Psychedelics via YouTube [2:34]

📺 Video: DMT Entity Diplomacy — A discussion with Hamilton Morris & chemist and neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Gallimore about his continuous DMT infusion project (DMTx) and his new book Reality Switch Technologies via YouTube [2:12:47] ⭐

📺 Video: How Psilocybin Can Rewire Our Brain, Its Therapeutic Benefits & Its Risks by Andrew Huberman [2:09:01]

📺 Video: The Counterculture Psychedelic Research Commune [8:35]

📺 Video: The truth about psychedelics by Cleo Abram via YouTube [15:29]

📺 Video: Comedian Louis C.K talking about undergoing MDMA therapy on Theo Von's This Past Weekend

🏛️ Policy: Massachusetts for Mental Health Options committee filed paperwork with state campaign finance regulators signaling plans to pursue a ballot question that could decriminalize psychedelics via CBS News

🏛️ Policy: Minneapolis Mayor made psychedelics the lowest priority for law enforcement by issuing an executive order via New York Times (non-paywall)

🏛️ Policy: Berkeley will stop enforcing federal & state bans on Entheogens via Berkeley Side

🏛️ Policy: Australia becomes the first country in the world to re-classify MDMA & Psilocybin as medicine at a national level. Approved psychiatrists can now use them to treat some mental health conditions via Nature (non-paywall)

🔬 Science Explainer: Psilocybin Synthesis in 4 Steps & How Magic Mushrooms Rewire Brain Networks by Total Synthesis via YouTube [26:29] ⭐

Mustafa's Art Corner

Astronaut about to enter a portal, surreal art by artist Nick Flook
By artist Nick Flook

Mustafa's Meditation
Alienation from nature and the loss of the experience of being part of the living creation is the greatest tragedy of our materialistic era.
It is the causative reason for ecological devastation and climate change.
Therefore, I attribute the absolute highest importance to consciousness change.
I regard psychedelics as catalyzers for this.
They are tools which guide our perception toward other deeper areas of our human existence so that we again become aware of our spiritual essence.
Psychedelic experiences in a safe setting can help our consciousness open up to this sensation of connection and of being one with nature.
LSD and related substances are not drugs in the usual sense, but are part of the sacred substances, which have been used for thousands of years in ritual settings.
The classic psychedelics like LSD, Psilocybin and Mescaline are characterized by the fact that they are neither toxic nor addictive.
It is my great concern to separate psychedelics from the ongoing debates about drugs, and to highlight the tremendous potential inherent in these substances for self-awareness, as an adjunct in therapy, and for fundamental research into the human mind.
It is my wish that a modern Eleusis will emerge, in which seeking humans can learn to have transcendent experiences with sacred substances in a safe setting.
I am convinced that these soul-opening, mind-revealing substances will find their appropriate place in our society and our culture.
—Dr. Albert Hofmann, LSD and the Divine Scientist: The Final Thoughts and Reflections of Albert Hofmann