Friday, August 15, 2014

LSD stunts worm development

In 1960, Sankar reported that LSD retards the growth of meal worm (Tenebrio molitar) larvae.

Worms were divided into two groups. The control Group I received the basal diet consisting of 77% corn meal, 15.4% bran, and 7.6% wheat germ supplemented with 1% yeast extract. Group II received the same diet except that 2.5 mgm LSD were added per 10 gm of diet. As shown in the table above, the weight of Group I by the end of 5 weeks was more than twice that of Group II.

Next, the researchers followed the growth of worms for 10 weeks. For the first 4 weeks, worms in Group II ate the special LSD diet, after which they ate the normal food. A full 6 weeks later, the control group had a weight of 45 g, while the group that had eaten LSD-containing food had a weight of 17.7 g, suggesting that LSD had had a long-lasting effect on growth and development.

The researchers attempted to reverse LSD treatment with reserpine. A group of worms fed an LSD plus reserpine diet had a weight of 8.4 g at the end of 10 weeks, indicating that larvae treated with LSD plus reserpine fared very poorly.

The results suggest that reserpine intensifies the LSD effect on larvae body weight as compared to LSD alone. Similarly, humans receiving a combination of reserpine and LSD report more severe symptoms than when receiving either drug alone.


SANKAR D. V., A. KOPELMAN, P. SCHILDER and E. GOLD (1960). Effect of lysergic acid diethylamide on larval growth. Nature 187, 153-154. DOI:10.1038/187153a0