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Long-Lasting LSD

January 31, 2017

Scientists decipher the key to LSD’s staying power.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

How LSD lingers. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The hallucinogenic drug LSD is mysteriously long-lasting: it’s taken in tiny doses, the molecules are cleared from the bloodstream in just a couple of hours, yet its effects continue for 12, 24 even 36 hours. Now, in the journal  Cell, University of North Carolina pharmocologist Bryan Roth and his colleagues report finding the reason: when LSD molecules bind to their chemical target in the brain, they’re trapped.

BRYAN ROTH (University of North Carolina):

There’s like a lid that falls over the top of LSD and blocks LSD from leaving the receptor. And this explains to a great extent why the effects of LSD seem to last so long.

HIRSHON:

In addition to better understanding how this powerful drug works, Roth says the work will help them make other medications more effective and long-lasting.  I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon