Precise dosing of LSD

Precise Dosing of Liquid LSD

An Overview of Liquid LSD

 Other useful resources: How to Change Your Mind, (annotated summary); Phases of an LSD Trip; Precise dosing of LSD; How to Find a Psychedelic Guide

To understand how dosing of liquid LSD works, it is important to have a basic understanding of how liquid LSD is prepared for sale.  When manufactured, LSD is a crystal, similar in appearance to salt (but more similar to crystal meth).  LSD is diluted in a liquid, typically either ethanol (Everclear) or a mix of ethanol and distilled water and added to blotter paper or gelatin, or sold in liquid form.  

For liquid LSD, the ratio of crystalline LSD to the alcohol/water solvent depends on the desired dose and the expected drop size from the dropper bottle being used.  For example, if one wants a 125 ug dose from a dropper bottle and one assumes a standard dropper bottle dispenses 0.05 ml per drop of LSD (this is a commonly used assumption), then one must mix a concentration of 125 ug of LSD per 0.05 ml of final solution.  

If preparing 10,000 drops, one would need 1,250,000 ug of LSD (125 ug x 10,000 units = 1,250,000 ug, or 1.25 grams). One would also need enough solvent to produce 500 ml of final liquid.  In this final solution, each 0.05 ml drop of solution contains 125 ug of LSD. (As an aside, the density of LSD is 1.2±0.1 g cm−31.2±0.1 g cm−3, and therefore 1.25 grams of LSD is around 58 ml.  So one would use 442 ml of solvent for 1.25 g of LSD to produce 500 ml of LSD solution).  

The key fact is that a single 0.05 ml drop of solution from a dropper bottle consists of a specified amount of LSD and the rest is an inactive solvent.  The strength of the LSD dose can be changed by increasing the ratio of LSD to solvent in the solution.  

To get a desired dose, two conditions must be true:  (i) the LSD solution is at the desired concentration (e.g., 125 ug per 0.05 ml), and (ii) the dispensing device consistently distributes the desired amount of liquid (e.g., 0.05 ml per drop).

Accuracy vs. Precision

When considering methods of dispensing liquids, like a dropper bottle, "accuracy" refers to getting the desired amount of liquid on average.  For example, if we want a 0.05 ml drop, but our dropper gives out five drops: a .03, a .04, a .05, a .06 and a .07 drop, its average is exactly 0.05 ml, and it is therefore an accurate dropper. 

"Precision" refers to getting the same amount of liquid each time, whether or not it is the actual desired amount.  So the dropper in the example is not precise, but it is accurate.

Ideally, we would want our dose of LSD to always be the exact dose we want.  In other words, in our case we want every drop to be exactly 0.05 ml, a drop that is both accurate and precise.  

If the LSD solution were correctly prepared, so that each 0.05 ml drop contained 150 ug of LSD, the dose of LSD would also then be exactly what we want (and be both accurately and precisely dosed).

Getting the "Right" Dose

In a perfect world, we would get the exactly correct dose every time, with the LSD solution having the correct concentration and the dosing method (e.g., a dropper bottle) dispensing the correct amount of liquid.  To get the correct concentration requires the person preparing the LSD solution correctly gets the concentration correct, and accurately tells buyers the concentration.  And the correct amount of liquid is included in each dose.

Unless one either: (i) has crystal LSD and makes the solution themselves, (ii) buys from a source that is both highly competent and honest, or (iii) or one has access to sophisticated laboratory testing to determine the concentration of LSD in the solvent, it is not possible to calculate know the exact concentration of the liquid LSD.

In other words, we can not calculate an accurate dose, because without knowing an accurate concentration we can never know how much LSD is in any dose.  And it turns out that's totally fine...

We probably won't know how much LSD is in a dose and therefore we won't have an "accurate" dose (or at a minimum will have no way to know whether we have an accurate dose).  However, we can have a "precise" dose every time by using liquid LSD of a consistent (but unknown) concentration and measuring the identical volume of liquid for each dose every time.    

While we may not know what the actual dose is, but we can take the identical dose every time.  Or we can increase the dose by a percentage and know how much we are taking relative to the other times we took it.  This, it turns out, is plenty of information.

Thoughts About LSD Dosing

Erowid and other sources provide the following guidance on doses:

  • Light Dose: 20 - 75 ug

  • Common Dose: 50 - 150 ug

  • Strong Dose: 150 - 400 ug

  • Heavy Dose: 400 + ug

The ranges are very broad, and the descriptions very vague.  It just gives the most basic of information.  A starting point for a new user, but otherwise not very useful.  However, once a user has taken a precisely measured trip, they have established a "baseline trip".  They have no idea of the actual amount of LSD they have ingested, only the actual volume of liquid they have ingested.  They can then adjust dose higher or lower to obtain a more or less intense LSD effect.

One need never know how much LSD is actually ingested, and instead only know that the dose is the same as the baseline, 10% higher than the baseline, 20% lower, etc.  So with precise measurements, one gets all the information they need.  The actual amount of LSD ingested is essentially irrelvant after the first time.  Only the amount taken versus other trips in the critical information.  

So now all is needed for precise dosing is having a consistent LSD concentration and then measuring the liquid dose with precision.

Consistent LSD Concentration

There are two ways to have LSD of a consistent concentration when obtaining liquid LSD.  First, one can purchase a larger quantity of liquid LSD and do everything possible to avoid degradation over time.  Second, one can find a reliable source for liquid LSD and confirm with the source that the methodology for creating the LSD solution does not changed over time.  

Each approach has pros and cons, but either can be effective.  We believe that properly stored liquid LSD does not demonstrate substantial degradation even over substantial periods of time.  There is a debate over what temperature to store liquid LSD at, including whether to freeze it.  However, we believe that liquid LSD, stored in the dark in a glass bottle at room temperature will not show notable degradation over many years.  We are aware of a user having stored a bottle for over five years for the sole purpose of determining degradation, and has seen no notable change in effecacy over this period.  This person believes in purchasing larger quantities of liquid LSD, and store it.  It is important to understand the legal implications, however, of possessing a significant number of doses.  In Oregon, for example, you may possess forty "units" of LSD to qualify for the "decriminalization" laws.

Measuring a Precise Dose

Liquid LSD is likely to come in a dropper bottle, with a specific doseage associated with a single drop of the solution.  So the first question is whether the dropper bottle will deliver consistent quantity of liquid in each drop.  

Fortunately, there is plenty of scientific interest as to whether dropper bottles deliver consistent sized drops, especially related to the delivery of glaucoma medication.  See Reliability of drop size from multi-dose eye drop bottles: is it cause
for concern?
   Unfortunately, this analysis is very complex - here's an example, if you would like to see just how complex it is.

However, a few key points are critical:

First, there is no standard manufacture process even for dropper bottles designed for the medical or scientific industry.  See Guidance for industry: container closure systems for packaging human drugs and biologics. US Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration May 1999.

Second, scientific testing of medical grade dropper bottles shows variations of up to 25% between the largest and smallest drop of medication (most studies on the precision of dropper bottles focus on the delivery of glaucoma medication) between different bottles, and significant variation among drops from a single bottle.  See An objective assessment of the variability in number of drops per bottle of glaucoma medication

Third, the angle the dropper bottle is held influences the volume of the drop. Gaynes BI, Singa RM, Schaab G, Sorokin Y. Impact of administration angle on the cost of artificial tear solutions: does bottle positioning minimize wastage? J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2007

Fourth, viscosity, surface tension and density is an important factor in drop size, and the temperture of the dispensed liquid impacts viscosity. See Variation in the volume of lubricating eyedrops available in the brazilian market, 2017

And there are other, less impactful factors, such as how hard the bottle is squeezed, which impacts how quickly the drop is formed, for example.  

Minimizing Drop Volume Variation

Our primary concern is to get identical volume in each drop.  From a practical perspective, if using a plastic dropper bottle:

  1. Scientific grade bottles should be used. The dropoper bottles should feature a tip designed for scientific applications, such as Thermo Scientific™ Nalgene™ LDPE Dispensing Tips for Dropper Bottles. The cost of obtaining a dropper bottle with this type of tip is less than $0.50 per bottle, cheaper than using a breath mint bottle, with reduced risk for either contamination from residue and increased accuracy in dosing. If you have a relationship with your supplier, have this conversation. The cost of a lifetime supply of bottles is around the same as selling two bottles filled with LSD.

  2. The same type of dropper bottle should always be used to minimize cross brand variations.

  3. The dropper bottle should always be held at a consistent angle when administering drops. Held absolutely vertical, with the tip below the bottom of the bottle is recommended.

  4. The temperature of the LSD at time of administration should be consistent between uses to have a consistent viscosity.

Because we only care about consistency, simply using a single bottle, at a consistent temperature, consistent (slow) squeeze pressure and held at a consistent angle will eliminate much of the variation in the size of each dose.  If each user buys their own bottle, stores it properly, and administers their own drop, the user should have a fairly precise dose each time.

However, there are even more precise methods to measure the liquid volume of a dose, and therefore increase dose precision.

Alternatives to the Dropper Bottle

The most useful alternative to relying upon a dropper bottle is to buy a micropipet to measure consistent 0.05 ml drop sizes.  This approach will give high precision measurements.

If one is willing to spend $175, one approach is to buy an adjustable volume micropipet like this one.  After learning the correct technique for using one (see this video), one is able to accurately and consistently measure small quantities of liquid.  Or one could try the less expensive options like this.

Another method to increase the precision of a dose is to measure out a larger number of doses (say 20) into 200 ml amber glass lab container, using the standard dropper bottle.  If the dropper bottle is generally accurate but not precise, it should still have measured approximately 20 doses (although any given drop may have been more or less than a dose).  The volume should be 1 ml, although it is not practical to measure this without lab equipment.  One then adds a fixed amount of either distilled water or ethanol (or, as we prefer, a 50/50 mix of the two).  For example, one may add 199 ml of the distilled water/ethanol mix to the 1 ml of LSD solution, yielding 200 ml of solution, and an aggregate of 20 doses. Therefore, 20 ml of the new solution will contain one dose of LSD. Using a 20 ml scientific syringe, which costs around $20, one can measure a dose with high accuracy. Even if the measurement measurement is off by a full milliliter, the dose is measured with 95% precision, a range that would not be perceivable to the average user.

Note, it is critical that one use the proper substances to dilute LSD.  Tap water will likely destroy LSD.  Ethanol and distilled water are ideal.  "Everclear" is 92.4 percent grain alcohol, and is commonly used for dilution.  Reddit users commonly refer to using Vodka to dilute LSD, as it is more readily available and certainly should work well if the LSD is not subsequently stored for an extended period.