The internet is full of urban legends about LSD being absorbed through the skin. While there is little debate that many people have accidentally dosed themselves with LSD, we cannot find any proof that LSD can be absorbed through the skin.
Despite the fact that it is not practical and might even be dangerous, it is possible to take LSD in ways that could make you think it was absorbed through the skin.
In this article, we will look at this myth and examine various perspectives from Albert Hofmann's first trip, LSD water guns, and scientific developments that might actually allow this myth to become a reality.
Is it possible to absorb LSD through the skin?
LSD is extremely potent. This increases the odds that someone can dose themselves by handling the compound - but that doesn't mean it's going through their skin. LSD is measured in micrograms, not milligrams like many other drugs. The tiniest bit of LSD stuck to someone's fingers could be transferred to their mouth, eyes, nose, or probably any body orifice.
However, if LSD can soak through your skin has never been formally studied in a lab. The best guess about accidental doses is people contaminate their hands with LSD and touch body parts or get LSD into open wounds.
If you are worried that you have accidentally ingested LSD, get to a safe place, create a set and setting, and ask someone you trust, preferably someone familiar with psychedelics, to be your trip sitter. Please seek medical attention if you are experiencing an emergency.
Did Albert Hofmann Absorb LSD Through His Skin?The myth of LSD being absorbed through the skin started with Albert Hofmann, who discovered LSD and tried to explain his first accidental trip in "LSD: My Problem Child" with:
"Possibly a bit of LSD solution had contacted my fingertips during crystallization, and a trace
of the substance was absorbed through the skin."
When Albert Hofmann was creating the first LSD for Sandoz Laboratories, he had no idea that he was dealing with one of the most potent psychedelics ever discovered, and It's important to note that even Hofmann isn't 100% sure how the first LSD trip happened.
Dancesafe, an organization focused on harm reduction and education about drug use, shares a story that illustrates the care needed when handling LSD:
How are we 10000% sure about this? Well, we know some folks who used to manufacture "fluff" (crystalline LSD) and they could stick their hands into millions of hits without getting high, BUT they had to literally tie their hands to their belts to avoid touching their faces.
— DanceSafe (@DanceSafe) March 9, 2022
Was Albert Hofmann's First Acid Trip a Spontaneous Mystical Experience?
Dr. David Nichols has been involved with psychedelics for decades and is one of the co-founders of the Heffter Institute, a non-profit dedicated to psychedelic research. Nichols and others in his lab have synthesized LSD regularly to perform tests on rats but have no reports of accidental ingestion.
In fact, Nichols has a theory that Albert Hofmann wasn't on LSD on "bicycle day" when Hofmann recorded having had his first acid trip. Nichols suggests that because Hofmann had experienced "spontaneous mystical experiences" as a child, he was having another on bicycle day, which he mistook for an LSD trip. Nichols's further evidence for this theory is that Albert Hofmann's trip only lasted for 2 hours, which is very short for LSD.
Nichols said when he proposed the idea to the Swiss Chemist, Hofmann's response was, "It's possible."
Absorbing LSD Through Eyes, Nose, Ears, and Open Wounds
What exactly happened on bicycle day will always be a mystery. But what we do know is that LSD can be absorbed orally, intranasal, and probably through the ears and butt. LSD can also be absorbed through small cuts. There are rumors that Jimi Hendrix made small cuts on his forehead and placed LSD under his headband to trip during live performances.
LSD Water Gun
There are stories of the "Merry Pranksters," an infamous group of LSD evangelists from the 60s led by Ken Kesey, squirting people at festivals with water guns full of LSD. This, too, has encouraged the myth that LSD can be absorbed through the skin, but it is more likely that it found its way into the eyes or mouth.
The tradition continues to this day with people misting each other at festivals with LSD water, along with "alternative" methods of liquid LSD ingestion like eyes, nose, and ears.
How Not to Take LSD
Putting LSD in a person's eye could be dangerous. Solvents are used in the production of LSD, and drugs sourced from the underground may not be pure. Putting unknown chemicals in your eyes is a bad idea.
Can You Snort LSD?
Snorting LSD isn't practical and not a good idea. Taking crystal LSD by snorting would be difficult as the doses are extremely small.
One woman found this out by snorting more than five hundred times the standard dose of LSD after thinking it was cocaine. Reports say she tripped for more than 24 hours while blacking out and vomiting but also was cured of long-standing foot pain, which helped her beat her morphine dependency.
Can you Boof LSD?
There are many anecdotes that LSD suppositories (putting LSD in your anus) are effective.
Boofing is a relatively common method of consumption for certain drugs (but not LSD), which in some cases are also put inside people's vaginas or, in rare cases, up the urethra of the penis.
While this particular method of consuming psychedelics hasn't been formally studied, there is no reason why it wouldn't work. It's possible that the bioavailability of LSD is less with a suppository or might take longer to kick in.
Otherwise, the tips we found cruising Reddit were to ensure the environment is moist or to make a kind of LSD enema and squirt it up.
Boofing LSD also appears to have side effects and risks that should be considered. Never use any unsterile equipment or put a crystal-like powder in the anus. Using this method can cause health complications since the anus is a sensitive area of the body and is much more exposed to microabrasions and infection. Furthermore, it may also block blood flow to parts of the intestine and cause unnatural cell death.
Since LSD is such a potent drug, boofing it is an entirely unnecessary method of consuming this substance.
Can LSD Be Absorbed Through The Skin with Transdermal Patches?
Drugs being absorbed through the skin is not unheard of, and while your skin is a very powerful and efficient organ, it does have ways of absorbing substances.
For example, transdermal patches have become a fairly popular CBD product. Manufacturers create products that contain "permeation enhancers" to aid in the absorption of CBD. However, CBD is unique because of its ease of interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system with access points on the skin. LSD needs other entry points.
Can LSD be Absorbed with DMSO?
For LSD to be absorbed through the skin, special transdermal patches would need to be created, although this is theoretically possible as one group is studying.
Another urban legend is that LSD can be absorbed with a compound called DMSO or dimethyl sulfoxide. DMSO makes it easier for the skin to absorb certain compounds, and again, stories from music festivals have suggested that a high dose of LSD can be absorbed with the help of DMSO.
However, David Nichols also relates a story debunking this claim. LSD chemist Nick Sand related a story to Nichols about painting DMSO on his skin and then adding LSD, but with no effect.
If you have just spilled LSD on your skin, the best thing you can do is clean it up as thoroughly as possible. Be very careful, as getting tiny amounts into your body is probably easier than you think, and large LSD doses are very small.
In case of accidental consumption of LSD, move to a safe place, create a set and setting, and ask someone you trust who is familiar with psychedelics to act as your trip sitter. Seek medical help in case of emergency.
Learn more about LSD.