Recently a friend of my family's started using LSD. He's been using other drugs for over a year now and considers himself to be both mentally stable and emotionally mature enough to handle his drug use, both of which I would agree with. The problem is that he is only 17-years-old. Research shows that human brain development does not fully conclude until age 25 and that the use of certain drugs can interrupt normal functioning. I tried doing some research both on the boards and other places on the web, but I have found little information. I was wondering if anybody knew of any research/personal experience that demonstrated any danger in using LSD prior to complete brain development. Even if it is okay to use before completing development, is 17 too young? What are the dangers?
You'll probably turn into a hippie. Not trying to make a smartass joke. Many people who I know started doing acid at 16 have some sort of quirkiness about them. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. It's usually pretty cool.
I didn't start taking acid until I was 20. But I took so much, it was ridiculous. I'd say I came out fine though. I now wear a suite and tie to work! I do have mild HPPD as a result though, but it doesn't bother me and I actually have better eyesight than everyone I know. Not bad!
Oh and also if you have an underlying, dormant mental illness, a single dose of LSD can trigger it and become active. I had a friend who I known since he was 11. Great friend and had a lot of character to him. However, he took acid at the age of 18 and started hearing voices a couple days later. 4 years on, and he is now completely insane. Lives a reclusive life, and broke off all contact with me, believing I'm some sort of shaman or demon out to get him. Basically he has schizophrenia to the best of my knowledge. He's delusional and lost touch with reality.
I too started taking acid at 16, and did a lot of it until I was 19. Since then it's been an occasional thing, not a "every weekend" thing.
This is a very complex question. I don't feel I fully understood the experience back then and I misinterpreted a lot of it. The only guidance I had in trying to understand these experiences was the rambling nonsensical bullshit high school kids say about LSD, the lyrics of rock songs, and the tip-of-the-iceberg psychonaut info that filters through mainstream culture - namely Tim Leary, Hunter Thompson, and famous musicians who used LSD.
This wasn't a good basis for understanding the drug and its effects but we can't blame that on age outright. The maturity of my LSD experiences, I now feel, are just a reflection of my own personal maturity, and the experiences have gotten deeper and richer over the years.
As a young man LSD confused me to an extent. I was always at odds with society in some way and LSD intensified this. It didn't make me antisocial or unproductive - in fact my grades actually improved after I started on LSD and I started reading and playing music more - but it made normal society seem even more "off" to me.
But this turned out to be positive - for much of my youth I thought there as something wrong with me because I was so confused by so much of the culture I lived in.As I grew older I realized that we are asked to ignore a lot of awful things if we want to be "normal". Normal is shrugging off exploitation of Third World pseudo-slaves, shrugging off people living off a diet of toxic crap, and on a smaller level people doing things like mowing their lawn so short that it promotes weeds to grow, then paying someone to spray noxious chemicals on their yards to control the weeds which wouldn't be there in the first place if they'd just set their lawnmower on a higher setting! But a normal person would worry more about the Super Bowl than those kinds of questions...
(Didn't the previous poster say something about turning into a hippy?)
LSD put me in tune to the high levels of cognitive dissonance I was being told I had to accept to be a normal person. I live with this shit now - I have a pretty normal life, wife, house, dog, steady good job - but I don't "accept" it. It's wrong and it always will be but I still go about my day as a productive member of society.
LSD also put me in tune with other more beautiful levels of existence - art, food, culture, music, nature, our wonderful and confused species, all became more exquisite than ever imaginable after I had seen them anew. (Food is best appreciated after the experience.)
A typically "LSD" response to this thread would be "well, define normal". Brains develop in so many ways. Analytical minds see non-analytical minds as flaky. Artistic minds see analytical minds as cold an inhuman. Cynics see everyone else as stupid and optimists think everyone is just fine is only they were more optimistic. But each of these types serves a role.
Chances are LSD, unless severely abused, will just amplify whatever your existing personality is. I don't think occasional use of LSD at a young age will cause abnormal brain development in any clinical sense. People who suffer from LSD almost always either have a pre-exiting mental condition or just outright abuse it, taking vast quantities.
When I was young I read a quote somewhere from a Native American Peyote user, who said "peyote teaches you how to live a proper life." That confused the shit out of me. I didn't understand how watching my hands change colors, seeing the sky fuck the moon or really, really enjoying a Black Sabbath song could teach me how to live a proper life. But to psychedelics I credit the following:
- teaching me how to understand poetry
- convincing me to go back to school in my late 20's to get a better job.
- getting me into a regular exercise routine
- eating better, no fast food, no soda, no junk food (while, you know, very occasionally, like those maple cream eggs they sell around easter...)
- getting me to reconnect with nature which I loved as a kid but became disconnected from in my late teens to mid-twenties.
- I am no longer an atheist but a pantheist (I know some people would say this is bad but I still agree with, say, Dawkins' view of organized religion. It's a lie that keeps people away from the truth about...I hesitate to write "God" but for lack of a better word...)
I started taking LSD when I was 14 and shrooms when I was 12 and I dont think they did me any harm.I tripped a lot as well until I got to about 18yrs old when I found it wasnt as enjoyable as it used to be.It might not sound like a sensible thing to say but I think that LSD is much more enjoyable when you are a teenager.Most teenagers have less 'mental baggage'so to speak,which means there isnt as many demons that can get into your mind when you tripping.If he is a mentally stable person and he knows all about set/setting etc. he will probably be ok.I wasnt the only person to do it so young,all my friends did and as far as I know it didnt permanently damage anybodys brain.It also changed a few people where I live from fighting/gangs and other negative behaviour which is always a good thing.
If he is going to take it anyway maybe you could advise him how to go about doing it in the safest way??