Drug checking using reagent tests can help you find out if your LSD is what you think it is.
Why should I test my LSD?
LSD, acid, or tabs are nicknames for the hallucinogenic drug lysergic acid. It often comes in the form of a ‘tab’ on blotter paper. Like many hallucinogenic/psychedelic drugs, LSD can change your perception of the world and can cause you to see, hear and feel things that aren’t there (hallucinations).
Sometimes, what people think is LSD is a synthetic hallucinogen called an NBOMe. NBOMes are a large group of drugs that can have similar effects to LSD to start but can often cause increased psychological distress and agitation as well as physical symptoms like tremors, vomiting, fevers and in severer cases, seizures, difficulty breathing and even death. It is impossible to tell NBOMes from LSD by look alone, especially as they both often come on blotter paper.
Because NBOMe can be a dangerous drug, with different effects and dosage to LSD, it's a good idea to check your LSD before using it to keep yourself safer.
What do I use to test my LSD?
You can bring your LSD along to a drug checking clinic where it’ll be tested using a chemical reagent called Ehrlich’s. Reagents are little bottles of chemicals that react with the ingredients in your drug to produce a colour change. This colour is compared to a chart where you can see what your drug is most likely to be.
If you can’t make it to a clinic, Ehrlich's reagent is also available at places like The Hempstore or at Cosmic so you can do the test yourself. We recommend the Dancesafe Ehrlich's reagent. They are easy to use and relatively inexpensive.
How do I use Ehrlich's to test my LSD?
Once you have your Ehrlich's reagent, the testing is simple. Here are the steps:
Remember reagents are corrosive and can burn your skin and clothes, so be careful not to touch them!
- Cut a tiny piece from your tab. Ideally cut it as a 'pizza wedge’ including some of the center of the tab. It only needs to be a very small sliver, about the size of a matchstick head.
- Put your tab piece on a white ceramic plate.
- Take the cap off your reagent bottle and hold it about 2 inches above your tab.
- Carefully squeeze 1 drop of Ehrlichs reagent onto your tab. Do not let the tip of the bottle touch the tab, this will contaminate the whole bottle.
- Wait for several minutes to see if the reagent liquid turns a purple or pink colour. It may take 2-5 minutes to produce a colour change. Holding a lighter flame under the plate where the drop of reagent is can help speed up the reaction.
If the sample turns a purple or pink colour- it is likely LSD, or another ‘indole’. Treat it as if it is LSD.
If the sample does not change colour (has no reaction) it is not an indole and could be another substance, like NBOMe.
Drop of Erlichs reagent on a sliver of an acid tab, beginning to show purple colour change. Erhlichs reagent liquid is a pale, transparent yellow-brown colour to begin with.
After several minutes, colour change is more pronounced.
Repeat this step for each tab that you or the people around you have. You cannot consume the piece of the tab that you used the reagent on, as it is now toxic.
What should I do if I can’t get Ehrlich's reagent?
Reagent testing at home, or by a drug checking service is the best way to go for seeing if your LSD really is LSD. However, this might not be possible for everyone, so here are a few other tips:
- Remember, ‘ if it’s bitter, it’s a spitter!’ LSD does not have a bitter taste, however NBOMes can, so if you place your tab in your mouth and it tastes bitter, it is likely an NBOMe.
- Start slow and stay low - NBOMe can be dangerous and has different doses to LSD. If you aren’t sure that you have, take a smaller amount of the tab and wait at least an hour to see how you feel.
- Know the signs of an overdose and get help if you need it - an overdose from NBOMe can cause symptoms such as:
- Severe agitation, anxiety, or psychosis
- Becoming very hot or spiking a fever
- Having tremors
- Having seizures
- Having difficulty breathing
- Having chest pain
- Passing out.
If you or someone around you has taken a tab and experiences any of these symptoms, or other worrying symptoms, call 111 or get medical help as soon as possible
It can also be helpful to have a sober person around you or a trip-sitter who knows what to do if things go wrong.
We teamed up with comedian Janaye Henry to explain the ins and outs of drug checking. It's a simple process that helps you stay safer by finding out what's really in your drugs.
We know that breath testing is a generally reliable measure of alcohol intoxication, but the same isn't true for cannabis. We dove into the science to find out why.
Worldwide, the 31st of August is Overdose Awareness Day. We've put together a quick guide on spotting overdoses from a few common drugs, and what you can do to prevent them.