The CIA thought this drug was the greatest, devoting the lion's share of the MK-ULTRA's resources to its study. First these guys thought it was a truth serum. Then they thought it was a lie serum -- useful for agents undergoing interrogation, because who can tell the truth when they're tripping balls? Then they considered it a "madness-mimicking" or brainwashing agent. And throughout all these years, they did plenty of it; they also slipped it to unknowing citizens, which makes the irony of the war on drugs even heavier.
So let's lighten the mood and talk about why LSD is actually the most fun drug. To do that, you need to understand how neurotransmitters work. "Neurotransmitters are the molecules used for communication within and between neurons in the brain," Dr. Dragna says. "The neurotransmitters are like keys, and the neurons have little molecular doors with locks that can only be opened by little molecular neurotransmitter keys."
LSD poses as both dopamine and serotonin, he says. "In the locks in the brain where serotonin or dopamine would fit like keys, LSD will stick instead," Dr. Dragna says. "LSD isn't shaped exactly like dopamine or serotonin. It doesn't fit into the locks the same way dopamine and serotonin do. Imagine a lock with a key that doesn't really fit. And now imagine jamming that key into the lock anyway. It's going to deform the lock."
When LSD jams itself into a molecular lock, the lock gets deformed. And since that lock we're talking about is a cell in your brain, and since your brain is how you perceive the world, everything looks very different when its cells change shape. "Collectively, this somehow causes a change in how we experience consciousness," Dr. Dragna says.
Altering the way we perceive reality is a lot of fun. It's also, I would argue, a fundamental part of being human. And that's why LSD is No. 1.
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Missy Wilkinson asks you not to judge her just because she once drank cough syrup recreationally. Follow her on Twitter at @missy_wilkinson.