hand holding vial of 1P-LSD
Photo by Georgia Love for DoubleBlind

1P-LSD: Is This Research Chemical Really a Legal Trip?

This novel psychedelic is viewed as an alternative to regular acid—but it's complicated.

DoubleBlind Mag

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Updated December 19, 2023

1P-LSD is a variation of the classic but prohibited drug known as LSD or “acid.” As a serotonergic psychedelic, its effects are similarly stimulating to LSD and feature powerful sensory and cognitive alterations—perhaps including profound experiences, insights, or even the much-discussed “ego dissolution.” 

1P-LSD exists specifically because of LSD’s illegal status. LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide (also known as LSD-25), was first synthesized in 1938 in a Swiss lab by Albert Hofmann and discovered for its psychedelic properties in 1943. In the 1960s, the youth counterculture movement had widely adopted LSD use, bringing it to the attention of federal law enforcement and leading to its prohibition in 1968 (along with subsequent inclusion in DEA’s Schedule I), though it is both non-addictive and non-lethal. 

READ: Inside the World’s Largest Collection of Acid Tabs

1P-LSD Blotter paper
Originally published in The Honest Drug Book | Wikimedia Commons

Demand for LSD has waxed and waned over the intervening decades, but today’s psychedelic resurgence has increased consumers’ interest in lysergamides—including numerous analogues such as ALD-52 and, later, 1P-LSD. It’s fairly accessible to purchase 1P-LSD via the internet, though its gray-area legal status lies in whether or not it’s intended for human consumption (see below for more).

What is 1P-LSD?

1P-LSD (1-propionyl-lysergic acid diethylamide) is a newer but nearly identical analogue of LSD that’s sold on the gray market as a “research chemical” or a “novel psychoactive substance” (NPS). Matthew Aragón, a drug education consultant and harm reduction activist, tells DoubleBlind that 1P-LSD and other novel psychoactive substances exist to circumvent international drug laws due to their slightly altered chemical structures and similar effects to prohibited drugs. 

It’s not yet verified, but 1P-LSD is often referred to as a “pro-drug” of LSD, which means that it may be converted into LSD inside the body. According to this model, the body then absorbs the harmless propionic acid, leaving an intact LSD molecule. To get technical, it’s thought that 1P-LSD’s propionyl group (represented as “1P” in the compound’s name) is separated and digested by the human body’s normal metabolic processes. This explanation seems to make sense, given that users of 1P-LSD report virtually identical effects with LSD, and similar effects between the two substances have been observed in animal and human models. Still, it’s worth mentioning that, in animal models, research suggested that 1P-LSD may be less potent than LSD. Still, doses given to laboratory mice don’t necessarily reflect the doses used by humans.

1P-LSD vs. LSD

LSD and 1P-LSD are remarkably similar in chemical structure, differing only in a small group of atoms (pictured in the bottom of the model) called a “propionyl group” that, in 1P-LSD, attaches to a nitrogen atom in the “indole” portion of the LSD molecule.

1P-LSD structure vs. LSD structure

According to Aragón, experienced users report extremely similar—even identical—effects from the two substances. In his work with DanceSafe, he’s observed that 1P-LSD users often report more consistent experiences with 1P-LSD than with LSD. This, he says, may be due to the fact that there are fewer worldwide manufacturers of 1P-LSD compared to LSD. As a result, it’s possible that the 1P-LSD on the market is more consistently dosed than LSD is.

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Is 1P-LSD Safe?

Though it’s important to note that 1P-LSD is classified as a “research chemical” or novel psychoactive substance that has not yet been thoroughly studied, it has been available on the gray market since 2015 and appears to have a similar safety profile to LSD, assuming that you have access to an unadulterated supply. During this time, 1P-LSD hasn’t garnered any major concerns within the research chemical community, says Aragón, and overall appears well-tolerated. 

The term “research chemical,” according to Aragón, evokes fear because it sounds like something that hasn’t been well studied and may not have a known safety profile. While the former statement is true, the latter isn’t necessarily so: “research chemical” can apply to any analog, including those considered relatively safe when used in appropriate doses, like 1P-LSD, in addition to drugs with a much higher risk profile.

“The designation of ‘research chemical,’ or ‘not for human consumption,’ is sort of just a consequence of how our drug laws are structured,” says Aragón, who adds that the term doesn’t necessarily indicate that a substance is dangerous. However, with any novel psychoactive substance, it’s important to be aware that “you’re using something that not a lot of humans in history have consumed,” he says.

There is a lethal dose for LSD, but it’s very high compared to the typical recreational dose. Still, while it’s easy to assume that 1P-LSD and LSD have similar safety profiles, there’s still a lot we don’t know. Partaking in psychedelics sometimes enables risky behaviors when visual and psychological effects are present—particularly in inexperienced consumers. Most psychonauts observe the “start low, go slow” motto and to work with a guide or experienced facilitator the first time you engage with any psychedelic, including 1P-LSD. Before embarking on a journey, you may want to also take time to reflect on your motivation and intent for the trip.

1P-LSD Harm Reduction

READ: LSD Test Kit: Why Drug Checking is Essential for LSD

The subjective effects of 1P-LSD and LSD are essentially identical, so similar precautions apply, including: 

  • Drug-check or otherwise verify the substance (see below)
  • Avoid lysergamides if you have cardiac or neurological conditions, and carefully consider use if you have underlying psychiatric conditions
  • Start with a low dose and proceed slowly
  • Research and avoid possible drug interactions
  • Journey in a safe space with people you trust 
  • Refrain from participating in dangerous activities while under the influence, including driving

Drug checking is particularly important for any gray or illicit market substance you plan to ingest, says Aragón. Many gray market research chemical suppliers manufacture and distribute a wide array of substances—some of which are undoubtedly riskier than others. And while mistakes or mixups are unlikely, they can happen.

Using a test kit containing Ehrlich’s reagent—a chemical that changes color in the presence of certain molecules—is the most common way to check LSD. But unfortunately, Ehrlich’s isn’t a reliable test for 1P-LSD.

Using a test kit containing Ehrlich’s reagent—a chemical that changes color in the presence of certain molecules—is the most common way to check LSD. But unfortunately, Ehrlich’s isn’t a reliable test for 1P-LSD. Whereas the reagent turns a deep purple hue almost immediately in the presence of LSD, users attempting to test 1P-LSD with Ehrlich’s report either a delayed, paler-colored reaction or, more commonly, no reaction at all. It’s possible that the “1P” in 1P-LSD blocks or inhibits the reaction responsible for the color change observed with LSD.

There’s another risk to be aware of: adulterants. There’s a chance that adultered 1P-LSD may still cause a purple reaction in some testing kits. So, if you’ve purchased 1P-LSD and it triggers purple coloration, it may be a sign that it’s mixed with something else—and not necessarily LSD. In an example published by Erowid, 1P-LSD adultered with another tryptamine caused a purple Ehrlich’s reaction.

From a harm reduction standpoint, a best safety practice is to send a 1P-LSD sample to DrugsData or a similar service for laboratory confirmation. While this option costs about $150, it’s a good practice for any illicit or gray market substances that cannot be tested using at-home drug-checking kits. Find resources for drug testing outside of the U.S. here.

1P-LSD Dosage

Like LSD, 1P-LSD is active in minute quantities, measured in micrograms. Both substances are often sold on blotter paper with each square or “tab” dosed at around 100-150 micrograms (µg). Tabs are often used sublingually, cut into smaller doses, or dissolved in a liquid solution. 

But substances found on the illicit or gray markets aren’t exactly standardized. High variability among producers and inaccurate advertising or labeling combine to mean that “users often don’t truly know the exact dosages they’re taking,” says Aragón. Some find the effects of 1P-LSD slightly stronger than that of LSD in comparable doses, while others report that 1P-LSD feels marginally weaker. But because most people have not had experience with an entirely known dose of LSD to use as a reference point, it’s difficult to assess which substance, if either, is more potent. 

In fact, it’s difficult to establish a reliable measure of equivalency between any two drugs, says Aragón, even those that are chemically and experientially as similar as 1P-LSD and LSD. For instance, it’s unknown whether the propionyl group present in 1P-LSD has any influence on the drug’s pharmacological effects or how the body breaks it down. 

Still, LSD and 1P-LSD carry similar dosing guidelines. A microdose of LSD or 1P-LSD is between 10 and 20 µg. For larger doses, see the following table:

  • Threshold: 15 µg
  • Light: 25–75 µg
  • Common: 75–150 µg
  • Strong: 150–300 µg
  • Heavy: 300+ µg 

READ: LSD: Everything You Should Know

It’s likely, according to Aragón, that because of the relatively small number of 1P-LSD suppliers worldwide, the 1P-LSD in circulation is more consistently dosed than LSD. He suggests starting with a lower dosage of 1P-LSD than you’d typically take of LSD because “having an unexpectedly powerful experience might be a hard way to find out that the ‘250 µg’ LSD tabs you’ve been buying are actually likely closer to 50 µg.” 

Is 1P-LSD Legal?

1P-LSD has a quasi-legal status, depending on the purpose behind purchasing or possessing it. Along with other LSD analogs (e.g. ALD-52, AL-LAD, 1C-LSD, and 1V-LSD), 1P-LSD was invented to maneuver around existing drug laws and is often purchased from international suppliers on the regular web. But while it’s accessible, it’s also complicated. The US Federal Analogue Act states that, if intended for human consumption, analogues of a prohibited substance can be treated the same way under the law as the prohibited drug.

Because of this language, 1P-LSD is sold under the “research chemical” rubric and, like other NPSs, is labeled “not intended for human consumption,” or “for research use only.”

“Gray market does not mean legal,” says Aragón. For this reason, he recommends treating 1P-LSD—along with other research chemicals—in the same way as any illegal substance when it comes to “purchasing, transporting, storing, and disclosing use.”

Packages containing research chemicals, especially when originating in places with known labs, are sometimes seized by US Customs. However, enforcement efforts aren’t usually directed toward LSD analogues, says Aragón, but more toward benzodiazepine and fentanyl analogues.

Packages containing research chemicals, especially when originating in places with known labs, are sometimes seized by US Customs. However, enforcement efforts aren’t usually directed toward LSD analogs, says Aragón, but more toward benzodiazepine and fentanyl analogs.

To reiterate: it’s important to remember that in the U.S.A. compounds like 1P-LSD are legal for research use only; reputable vendors will indicate as such and may also specify that the compound is not intended for human consumption. Even still, it can be difficult for law enforcement to tell what is intended for human consumption and what is not—there’s always risk. Vendors that sell for human consumption are not operating within the boundaries of the law, and buyers from these vendors should be aware that they can be prosecuted by law enforcement.

There aren’t currently many US domestic sources. Recently, a prominent Netherlands lab known to make 1P-LSD was raided by US and international law enforcement, which has the potential to “dry up” the 1P-LSD supply, says Aragón—unless “someone else takes the helm.”

*This article is intended for harm reduction purposes and is not intended to promote illegal activity. Always review the laws in your area before engaging with 1P-LSD.

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DoubleBlind is a trusted resource for news, evidence-based education, and reporting on psychedelics. We work with leading medical professionals, scientific researchers, journalists, mycologists, indigenous stewards, and cultural pioneers. Read about our editorial policy and fact-checking process here.

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DoubleBlind Magazine does not encourage or condone any illegal activities, including but not limited to the use of illegal substances. We do not provide mental health, clinical, or medical services. We are not a substitute for medical, psychological, or psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, or advice. If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger or experiencing a mental health emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency resources. If you are considering suicide, please call 988 to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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