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Alcohol More Harmful Than Ecstasy and LSD?

Beverage News


According to the Dailymail.co.uk:

Ecstasy, LSD and cannabis are less dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes, the Government’s chief drug adviser claims today.
Professor David Nutt is calling for a new ‘index of harm’ to warn the public about the relative dangers of various substances.
He says alcohol should rank fifth, behind only cocaine, heroin, barbiturates and methadone, while tobacco should rank ninth, ahead of cannabis, LSD and Ecstasy.

Professor Nutt? Really?

These are some heavy claims to be sure. D.A.R.E. to compare: A beer with lunch = a little morale booster in the middle of the day. LSD with lunch = a whimsical ten-hour journey with the white rabbit into the center of consciousness and wonder, with a slight probability of unimaginable terror that feels like it lasts for a thousand eternities.

Of course, I’m just speculating. Any lunchtime LSD poppers out there that will back up the fine Professor Nutt?


  1. chris | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    a beer is not a relative dose to one hit of lsd. if you had 10-20 beers at lunch (which in my opinion would be a relative dose) then your comparison would make sense. stop circulating bullshit.

  2. Mark | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    I think you found your lunchtime LSD user..

  3. Neal | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    I don’t think Professor Nutt is suggesting that we replace our beer and wine consumption with LSD and Ecstasy. I believe hes just trying to create a more informed/educated populace so that they do drugs more safely. They forget to mention little facts in school like LSD is less toxic than vitamin c.

    These drugs could never replace beer and wine – they dont pair with food, arent as social, and dont taste good. Plus, the more often you take LSD, the less effective it is. If you tried to take it every day (which I don’t think anyone would), it would stop having any effect whatsoever.

    Don’t worry about prohibition coming back.

  4. Corben | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    ^^^ chris, I’m not really sure what your trying to say… you drink relative doses at lunch?

  5. Jeff Dorenbush | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Why would alcohol rate higher as more dangerous? Cigarettes are much more dangerous than alcohol unless I am getting my facts from the wrong sources.

  6. Alan Kropf | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Great comments, I can definitely see where everyone is coming from. It seems a little silly to compare all of these substances in the first place. We’re talking apples and oranges and LSD. Most any substance, from alcohol to ecstasy to Big Macs, have the potential to seriously impact your physical (and mental) health if abused. Be smart and be healthy.

  7. SD Lounger | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    It seems to me we have been indoctrinated with misinformation about all of these drugs from the beginning. I would imagine if you look into the history of the banning or regulation of each of theses substances you would find political motives rather than safety concerns.

  8. El Jefe | Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Nutt probably has some good points – the problem is that you can think up many good criteria for re-ordering such a list – the “impairment from having one at lunch” vs “long term use damage” criteria being two examples. So it’s dependent on point of view and agenda.

    Sad that he might lose his job over it… BBC headline “Nutt Faces Sack”:


  9. Cam | Friday, January 22, 2010

    Actually, to Alan Kropf, LSD has no physical side effects, harmful or not. It binds to 5-HT receptors in the brain (part of the serotonin system) but just like serotonin, the effects are namely psychological.

    I don’t think comparing a lunchtime drug is the proper way to assess the harm that a particular drug does. Sure alcohol has the potential to be a morale booster, but it certainly doesn’t behave that way for everybody, and it also depends on the context in which one is taking the drug. I agree with Chris in that 10-20 beers is a relative dose; comparing a beer to a relative dose of LSD would be like, say, 50 micrograms, or 25 milligrams of MDMA (ecstasy), which is just barely a threshold dose.

    Alcohol (usually) improves mood, heightens confidence, and lowers inhibitions, in lower doses. In higher doses it markedly decreases balance and coordination, numbs the skin (and has a general dulling effect on all five senses), and depending on the person can severely effect judgement. This presents the possibility of doing something stupid on even a single occasion, as opposed to harm resulting from repeated consumption of a drug. As we all know, repeated consumption could result in severe liver or even brain damage.

    MDMA (Ecstasy, or methylenedioxymethamphetamine) improves mood, heightens confidence, lowers inhibitions, produces a mild euphoria, dilates the pupils, and slightly heightens all five senses (with vision, this is due to the dilated pupils; colors become brighter, more vivid, light seems brighter, more blinding, etc.), in lower doses. In higher doses it increases the heart rate, causes markedly increased mood & moderate to strong euphoria, markedly lowers inhibitions, decreases emotional barriers and psychological defenses built up over time by social conditioning and general emotional openness (which is why it can be useful for therapy in the psychiatric field), causes sweating, increased alertness, and markedly heightens all five senses (as opposed to alcohol which does the opposite). Long-term risks involve possible, but unlikely psychological trauma, and possible slight damage to the serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine receptors in the brain. However, the only risk of a single use is probably the most risk thing about ecstasy in the first place; that one cannot necessarily or accurately determine what is in their pill aside from the MDMA itself (or, for that matter, whether any pill sold as “ecstasy” even contains MDMA). The most common adulterant of ecstasy pills by far is methamphetamine, which, though, when taken orally, is less harmful than smoked (“crystal”) meth, however still harmful. Methamphetamine increases the heart rate more than MDMA does, and both combined increase it even more. Methamphetamine also has more of an impact on dopamine receptors, therefore increasing the risk of damage to such neurons. Methamphetamine also dilates the pupils, causes sweating, jitteryness, and for those who haven’t taken it could perhaps be described like caffeine on steroids. And of course, we can’t forget that it’s extremely addictive, though not as addictive as smoked meth. Methamphetamine is also a known neurotoxin. All of this combined with MDMA makes it more dangerous, though pills with lower amounts of meth are manageable. However, whatever other substances are found in ecstasy pills usually cannot be accounted for, thus there is always an inherent risk with ecstasy of anonymity. This, however, is perhaps the best argument to legalize MDMA; regulating the drug would make it legal to synthesize and distribute MDMA, but illegal to adulterate it with any substance, hence producing pure MDMA, which, by itself, is relatively harmless in moderation.

    LSD (Acid, or lysergic acid diethylamide-25) heightens the senses (again, sort of the opposite of the effect that alcohol has on the senses), dilates pupils, and, depending on the context, can produce a mild clarity of mind, or a mild confusion, in lower doses. In higher doses it causes moderate to extreme clarity of mind / confusion (depending on context), synesthesia (overlapping of the five senses), markedly brighter/more intense/more vivid colors (due to dilated pupils), more intense light/light seems more blinding (also due to dilated pupils), visual stimulation such as surfaces “breathing”, eidetic phenomenon (“seeing trails”), closed-eye visual effects (includes a wide variety but generally of a very delicate and geometric nature), decreased filtering of information reaching consciousness from the senses caused by conditioning (being in a familiar location and feeling as if it is unfamiliar, or having to think harder about doing actions which normally require no thought at all, such as talking, driving, using a cell phone, etc.), decrease in emotional barriers resulting from social conditioning, general openness about emotions (which is why it can be useful for therapy in the psychiatric field), and probably the best way to describe it; a general alteration of consciousness. LSD is by far the least predictable of these three substances in terms of its effects, however the effects can generally still be predicted based on the context in which it is used, and the state of mind as well as the personality of the user. My own personal thoughts on its use are that of all of the drugs out there, LSD and the rest of the psychedelics require the most care and responsibility by the user, as well as those around the user. It is very easy to use it properly and experience virtually limitless benefits of its use. It has potential to change one’s life; to make it far more meaningful, spiritual, fun, and worth living. It is also very easy to use it improperly and change one’s life to more isolated, more reclusive, more frightening, confusing, and uncomfortable. The risks are thus probably obvious. Low doses pose little risk, but with higher doses, psychological trauma is the most prominent of these, however the possibility of psychological benefits is just as prominent. But it should still be noted that an inexperienced user (or perhaps an idiot) on a high dose may do something stupid or dangerous while under LSD’s influence. Even an experienced, non-idiot user may do something dangerous on extremely high doses. Adulteration is a risk but not as far as physical damage goes; rather it simply negatively effects the experience. Because LSD is measured in micrograms and most substances are measured in milligrams, it’s unlikely that a tab of acid will have enough of any chemical on it (aside from the LSD itself) to have an effect under normal circumstances, but because LSD increases sensitivity to just about everything, even minimal amounts of adulterants can affect the high; generally it makes it lean towards to confusing, rather than clear-minded, experience. It can also cause some physical discomfort. All the previously mentioned are short-term risks; long-term risks are basically just psychological damage (there is no physical damage, really) and possibly slightly worn-out 5-HT (serotonin) receptors in the neurons. However like I was saying, the benefits are just as prominent; I’ve achieved a state of what I would describe as no less than enlightenment and oneness with the universe on LSD, and the more times I experience that, the more a little piece of that feeling stays with me all of the time. As with MDMA, pure LSD is non-toxic and relatively safe in moderation.

    To conclude all of this, as far as taking a substance during lunchtime, I personally would maybe drink a beer or two, or if I happened to have any, possibly a lower dose of MDMA (as long as I know it’s relatively pure). Higher doses of MDMA would be a bad idea except in the proper setting or context, and pretty much any dose of LSD would be the same, except perhaps a very low dose for an experienced user.

    Any of you guys ever heard of dimethyltryptamine, or DMT?

  10. N-BOMB | Sunday, March 1, 2015

    Nice comments Cam. LSD and DMT are the bomb. speaking of bombs the N-BOMBe series is active in micrograms, but a couple of milligrams is the way to go with these compounds.

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