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In both synthesis and in storage, LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is known to be a very sensitive compound. LSD is derived from ergot, a fungus that grows in grains of rye. Like other ergot alkaloids, LSD is susceptible to degradation under a handful of environmental conditions. By understanding how to store LSD and minimizing the impact of these conditions, you can significantly extend the shelf life of LSD.
When LSD is stored in salt form (tartaric acid salt of LSD) in oxygen-free ampules away from light, it is stable indefinitely. Unfortunately, these conditions are usually just achieved in the lab or research environments. So then, what storage conditions impact LSD’s potency the most? This article looks at why proper LSD storage matters and how to store LSD depending how LSD is made. As explained, it’s possible to significantly extend LSD’s shelf life with just a few common household items.
WHY PROPER LSD STORAGE MATTERS
As Dr. Albert Hofmann, Swiss chemist and discoverer of LSD, states in his autobiography LSD: My Problem Child:
“If most black market LSD preparations contained less than the stated quantity and often no LSD at all, the reason is either deliberate falsification or the great instability of this substance. LSD is very sensitive to air and light. It is oxidatively destroyed by the oxygen in the air and is transformed into an inactive substance under the influence of light. This must be taken into account during the synthesis and especially during the production of stable, storable forms of LSD.”
In particular, fluorescent light and direct UV light from the sun will rapidly degrade LSD, catalyzing the formation of an inactive compound known as lumi-LSD. In addition to oxygen and light, LSD is sensitive to four other factors: heat, moisture, pH and chlorine. Heat and moisture hasten the degradation of LSD by accelerating chemical reactions that break down the molecule (such as oxidation with air or hydrolysis with water).
Under highly acidic or alkaline conditions, LSD will epimerize to iso-lysergic acid diethylamide, which is biologically inactive. Chlorine is one of the most degrading factors — destroying LSD on contact even at the tiny concentrations found in tap water. For this reason, LSD should never be dissolved in tap water.
HOW TO STORE LSD: BEST PRACTICES
With some background on why the proper storage of LSD is so important, there are optimal conditions for preserving LSD at its maximum potency.
Best Storage Temperature
Over long periods of time, LSD will slightly degrade at room temperature. But according to a study from 1998 quantifying the impact of storage conditions on LSD, room temperature results in no significant loss in potency when stored on a short-term basis. Indeed, the researchers found that LSD stored at 25°C did not lose any potency after four weeks.
However, when the LSD was incubated at 37°C and 45°C for up to four weeks, they observed a 30% and 40% loss in potency, respectively. Overall, these findings suggest LSD is semi-stable at room temperature, but potency degradation is enhanced considerably with increasing temperature.
LSD should be stored in a cool environment away from any heat sources such as direct sunlight, space heaters, etc. Preferably, storage should be kept at temperatures below 25°C. With all other storage factors controlled, degradation is quite slow at room temperature, so this is well-suited for short-term storage. For long-term storage, LSD can be stored in the freezer or refrigerator to minimize heat-related breakdown.
Best Storage Conditions
The best storage conditions, where potency should remain unaffected for many years, seek to minimize exposure to the main four factors: light, heat, oxygen and moisture.
When storing blotter acid, first wrap the tabs tightly in tin foil. This will aid in partially protecting them from light and moisture. Once wrapped in foil, they should be placed in an air-tight container. Ideally, this container is non-transparent so as not to allow any light to penetrate inside. For instance, a dark-tinted glass or opaque plastic container is ideal.
For humid environments, add food-grade silica packets or a similar drying agent to the container to ensure that the LSD does not have any contact with moisture. Adding a weak organic acid, such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C), can also help prevent degradation. For short-term storage, the container can then be placed in a cool, dry and dark location.
The best storage conditions for liquid LSD, used for volumetric dosing, is similar. Liquid LSD stores best in an amber-glass dropper bottle, placed away in a cool, dark location. Typically, liquid LSD is stored in high-proof alcohol (such as vodka), which is freezable as well for long-term storage.
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