It’s Extremely Hard To Find LSD In The U.S. — Here’s Why

Photo by Zerbor.


by Aaron Kase

on April 16, 2015

Where has all the acid gone?

Among the gifts of LSD to America were 1960s culture, psychedelic rock & roll music, and sleek, user-friendly computers (via Apple co-founder Steve Jobs). Countless people have credited the psychedelic substance, first synthesized in the late 1930s, for opening their worldviews and leading them toward spiritual enlightenment. It even shows promise in treating disorders like anxiety and depression.

However, the hallucinogenic chemical, often sold in doses on blotting paper, appears to be fading from public view and consciousness. Are people really using it less, and if so, why?

Io9 compiled some of the statistics that confirm the diminishing role that LSD is playing in society: Emergency room visits due to bad acid trips dropped from 5,000 per year in 1999 to between 2,000 and 4,000 in more recent years. Furthermore, the percentage of high school seniors who used LSD in a given year dropped from around 10 percent in the mid-1990s to around 3 percent in the last decade, and the percentage who thought it was easy to acquire plummeted from over 50 percent to around 25 percent during the same time period.

“It looks to me like lack of availability has played a major role in the decline of this drug,” University of Michigan researcher Lloyd Johnson said to Io9.

So what happened to cut off the supply? It turns out that a single man was responsible for much of the LSD available on the market in the 1990s. When UCLA researcher William L. Pickard was arrested in 2000, the supply abruptly dwindled to a trickle. Pickard was busted by federal agents in Kansas as he worked to transform an old nuclear missile silo into a massive LSD laboratory. Once he was out of the picture, no one moved in to fill the void.

While acid is not particularly complicated for a skilled chemist to manufacture, its main ingredient is quite tricky to acquire. Ergot alkaloid, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains, is strictly controlled by the Drug Enforcement Agency and therefore is nearly impossible to buy or import in the United States.

Another possible concurrent explanation for the disappearance of LSD is the decline in jam-bands. Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead died in 1995, and Phish cut back on their tours in the early 2000s. Certain followers of the band were allegedly major LSD suppliers and used the tours to sell their goods to local distributors around the country. When the tours stopped, so did the easy connections.

For whatever reason, the acid market has dried up considerably, which is bad news for people with aspirations to use it therapeutically. Given its usefulness in treating anxiety and depression, one possible solution would be for the DEA to remove it from Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act so it would be easier for practitioners to use with their patients — not to mention for researchers to acquire it for study to discover whatever other hidden benefits the chemical has locked in its molecules.

“These drugs offer the greatest opportunity we have in mental health,” researcher David Nutt said of one study earlier this year. “There’s little else on the horizon.”

For now, prohibition remains in place, and even the black market has withered. “We’ve banned research on psychedelic drugs and other drugs like cannabis for 50 years,” Nutt said. “This is a truly appalling level of censorship.”

there are 5,472 Comments


As everyone reading this article probably knows, Sunday is Bicycle Day. I’ll be spending it with Leonard at the US Penitentiary in Tucson. All things considered, Leonard is remarkably upbeat and positive. Send a little karma his way Sunday. Thanks!

Mark McCoskey

It’s been 30 years or so since I last enjoyed LSD. After hearing about micro-dosing, would love to come into contact with a clean source.

Jaclyn Traylor

I can help you out, Mark. I have a direct source of clean LSD that comes straight from the chemist, and I have tested it myself. It’s quality stuff – 125ug per tab, which is a full trip. Since you’re looking to micro-dose, you could split these tabs into 3×3 pieces, and each piece would be only 14ug, a perfect amount for a microdose.

I can easily hide these tabs in a regular envelope and send them to you. They cost $9/tab. Send me an email and we can talk further:

(P.S. This is optional, but if you want to use an anonymous email, sign up at

Mark McCoskey

Jaclyn, I’m getting an error message on your email address that you provided.


Oh, don’t mind me — I’m only gnawin’ my tree nut. There’s no ergot to speak of, although there could be some nasty mold inside … I’m about to find out whether mama tree won this struggle to drop a viable seedling.

I see a person who wants to share some ideas about LSD in this posting …

Interestingly, LSD was researched in America not through the federal public university but through the private Harvard school. So interesting that the federal government would take to telling us that we should never attempt to know nor find out what were going on in the world and do all that freeze on LSD study when it was in fact such a simple substance to begin with, being lysergic acid and dry ethyl alcohol compounded to the same amide radical NH2 that were just one hydrogen radical shy of being the more potent ammonia.


This guy is no terrorist and no bomber. He furthered the end of a legacy that could help unlock many mysteries not only of our socialized condition (from literate volumes of work of known university researchers) but also that could help any kind of legitimate authority of medical science devotion come to grips with what people have been using and/or whatever it does that would seem to be so powerful.

In pursuit of the common cold codex to give us a glimpse at wisdom, we have been left the remains of the researcher’s lunch of record and sentenced to repeat his mistakes without any need for verbatim.

We remain under the protection of laws that prohibit LSD but may prefer to recognize that such laws cannot reasonably be absolute and unconditional. These laws mean that people can object to being badgered to use LSD, people such as children … or anyone suffering from excessive factors of abuse.

Really, an experience that can’t be shared with anyone means that its consequences must become diverted elsewhere.

We’re not a society of drug users. We limit ourselves to be critical of a world of such hostility that today may not be the day to embark on such an unknown quantity that something like LSD may imply.

We make our own discoveries because we are not owned by other people.

There is no point in letting every advance definition become an inescapable prison sentence.

Dangers surely must fit some sort of realistic parameters?

Everyone throwing themselves into the same well disappear from the same scene.

Huckleberry Fidget

i feel like i want to believe this ‘micro-dosing’ theory so badly, especially after how occasionally using dry herbs have helped me sort through myself bit by bit. i’m located in the sf bay area if anyone has a pure connection.
-lost in the silicone valley


Pickard is serving two life sentences. You cannot fatally OD on LSD. Other than intoxicating a person for 8-12 hours, it does little else. He would have had to rape or gun down a school bus full of children to get this sentence otherwise. I think he should be freed.


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