5. LSD and Hallucinogens (Mescaline, Psilocybine-Psilocine)


  1. What does LSD stand for?
  2. Name two ergot alkaloids.
  3. What is the common name and the taxonomical name (genus & species) for the mold found on wheat/rye and used to make LSD?
  4. In what form is LSD usually sold?
  5. How is LSD generally distributed?
  6. List the common presentations of LSD.
  7. How many micrograms are considered a full psychedelic dose of LSD?
  8. What are starting materials for the synthesis of LSD?
  9. What does prolonged exposure to UV light do to LSD?
  10. Why are illicit LSD manufacturing laboratories easy to conceal?
  11. Sunlight degrades LSD. (True or False)
  12. Describe a rapid method for the detection of LSD on your hands.
  13. What color tests can be used for the presumptive identification of LSD?
  14. Why are LSD and chemically related compounds considered especially hazardous?
  15. Why is manufacture of LSD so limited?
  16. What are the primary pharmacological effects of LSD and mescaline?
  17. List some medicinal uses (if any) of LSD.
  18. Why are penalties associated with LSD sometimes not in terms of weight?
  19. Why is better to analyze LSD sooner rather than later?
  20. How might the presence of LSD on blotter paper be recognized?
  21. Describe several matrices (forms or types of illicit products) in which LSD in found?
  22. Has the cultivation of ergot fungi proven to be a reliable means of synthesizing lysergic acid?
  23. Has ergocristine been observed to be used effectively as a precursor in illicit manufacture of a common hallucinogen? Explain.
  24. Name two screening tests for LSD. Describe how they are used.
  25. Will LSD be mostly charged or uncharged (neutral) at acidic pH?
  26. At acidic pH, will LSD be more soluble in nonpolar (organic) solvents or polar (aqueous) solvents?
  27. Why can a dirty injection port liner be particularly problematic for GCMS analyses of LSD?
  28. Will GCMS distinguish isomers of LSD, for example: LSD, iso-LSD, LAMPA? Explain.
  29. Will infrared spectrometry distinguish d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) from l-LSD?
  30. Will infrared spectrometry distinguish LSD from iso-LSD?
  31. Will several TLC systems and visualization techniques effectively distinguish LSD from its isomers? Explain.
  32. What distinguishes the structure of LAMPA from LSD? How is this difference distinguished analytically?
  33. Will the infrared spectrum of an optically pure isomer of LSD be the same as that of a racemic mixture?
  34. If an infrared spectrum of a sample does not match a reference spectrum of LSD, to the degree required to establish identity, does that rule out that the analyte is, in fact LSD? Explain why this is or is not true.
  35. If only a single piece of LSD blotter paper is received, is it necessary or appropriate to extract the entire exhibit in an attempt to recover sufficient analyte for instrumental analysis by GCMS? (Assume a 1 ul injection volume and a GC detection limit of 0.1 ug for LSD.) Describe an appropriate sample preparation procedure. |
  36. You open a case that contains 150 different items, all suspected LSD, but the submission form warns that it is likely that not all items contain LSD. How would you decide which items to analyze?
  37. What techniques may be used to distinguish LSD from iso-LSD? Is GC-MS an appropriate technique?
  38. How does your laboratory’s protocol direct you to report the quantity of material received, in a case where an exhibit consists of a single sheet of perforated LSD blotter paper? The blotter paper is ten square centimeters in size. Perforations divide the sheet into ten rows and ten columns, or 100 one square centimeter pieces. The paper weighs 2.20 grams.


  1. What are the primary pharmacologically active constituents of Psilocybe mushroom and peyote cactus?
  2. Is it possible to synthesize psilocybin? Why is this not typically done?
  3. Describe the physical appearance of peyote cactus, and the associated 'buttons'.
  4. What are some typical macroscopic characteristics of Psilocybe mushrooms?
  5. How are psilocybe mushrooms used?
  6. How are peyote buttons used?
  7. What is the major psychoactive component of the cactus Peyote?
  8. What are the major psychoactive components found in Psilocybe Mushrooms?
  9. What does a characteristic blue coloration on the stems or caps of Psilocybe mushrooms suggest?
  10. How many species of mushrooms contain psilocybin and psilocyn? Does this impact their control?
  11. Which color tests are useful for indicating the presence of psilocybin/psilocin in mushrooms?
  12. Describe an effective procedure to extract psilocybin/psilocin from mushrooms for identification by GCMS.
  13. Is the elevated temperature of the GC injection port sufficiently hot to cause degradation of psilocybin?
  14. If so, what degradation results? If so, how should this be reflected in an analytical result based on GCMS data?"
  15. Explain why an extraction of the mycelium of Psilocybe mushrooms for the purpose of identifying psilocybin or psilocin by GCMS may not be successful.
  16. Why does the analysis of Psilocybe mushroom frequently involve derivatization?
  17. Describe some extraction techniques which may be used for the analysis of psilocin and psilocybin. Include any precautions that must be taken.
  18. What are the active ingredients of the Amanita Mushrooms?
  19. Under what schedules are Peyote, Psilocybin and Psilocin controlled?
  20. What is the control status of psilocybin mushroom spores?
  21. How are mushrooms preserved after harvesting?
  22. Where can psilocybin mushrooms be found?
  23. What happens to psilocybin when analyzed by GC techniques?
  24. What color tests can be used for the presumptive identification of psylocin/psylocybin?
  25. Organize the following terms in order of the life cycle of a mushroom:
    • spores germinate to become mycelium
    • mycelium branch to form a compact hardened fungal mass (sclerotia)
    • formation of fruiting bodies
  26. Are all parts of the plant classified botanically as Lophophora williamsii Lemaire, whether growing or not, controlled as peyote? |
  27. Describe an effective sample preparation procedure GCMS identification of the principal alkaloid found in peyote.
  28. Describe an effective extraction procedure to recover the principal psychoactive component in peyote.
  29. Describe an extraction technique which may be used to isolate the mescaline in peyote for analysis.
  30. What is the principle active ingredient of peyote?
  31. What color tests can be used for the presumptive identification of mescaline?
  32. What is peyote? Describe its physical appearance.
  33. Are peyote cacti available legally?


  1. What is the main psychoactive ingredient of Khat?
  2. What are the three main alkaloids in Khat?
  3. What Drug Class is Khat?
  4. Cathinone converts to what substance? How can the cathinone be preserved?
  5. What is ibogaine?
  6. Where can DMT be found?
  7. Describe an extraction procedure for the analysis of Khat.
  8. Describe the physical characteristics of khat.


  1. What is sage/diviner’s sage?
  2. What is the current local legal status of Salvia divinorum?
  3. Describe the extraction process employed by Giroud for the analysis of fresh Salvia divinorum leaves.


  1. How should standards be verified when no published literature is available?
  2. Define the term indole. Name some common indole hallucinogens.
  3. Define the term catechol. Name some common catechol hallucinogens.

Last Update June 2022

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