LSD or d-lysergic acid diethylamide is a powerful mind-altering drug manufactured from lysergic acid, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Lysergic acid comes from the fungus ergot, which grows on certain grains. Aside from scientific names, LSD has picked up a variety of nicknames over the years, particularly when the illegal drug sells on the street.


The drug became known as LSD-25 after it was discovered in 1938 when Albert Hoffman synthesized the molecule. The term LSD-25 came from d-lysergic acid diethylamide followed by a sequential number from its various syntheses. It had been tested on animals with no noticeable results and was discarded. Hoffman, a Swiss scientist, later discovered its potent effects on himself in 1943 when he accidentally inhaled or swallowed the substance, according to the Albert Hoffman Foundation.

Early Names

Acid became a popular name when LSD had widespread use by the counter culture during the 1960s, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland. Other terms included blotter, blotter acid, purple haze, electric kool-aid, blue cheer, mellow yellow, yellow sunshine, tabs, sugar cubes, hits and names such as microdots or dots. Some of the slang terms lasted through the years including “Lucy in the sky with diamonds;" taken from a Beatles song of the same name. Songwriter John Lennon denied the initials in the title had anything to do with LSD, and said the title referred to his son Julian’s description of a drawing that included a classmate named Lucy.

Street Names

The wide variety of street terms for LSD include back breaker, battery acid, boomers, doses, Elvis, loony toons, pane, Superman and white lightning, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center. Many still use older slang terms, such as acid, window pane, sugar cubes, yellow sunshine and dots for LSD.

Combo Slang Terms

LSD has slang terms when combined with other substances, according to CESAR. Candy-flipping and troll refers to LSD and methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDMA or Ectasy). Frisco special and Frisco speedball are terms used for LSD, cocaine and heroin combinations. Outer limits or sheet rocking are names for crack cocaine and LSD. Black acid refers to LSD and phencyclidine (PCP). LSD mixed with 2C-B, a psychedelic drug also known as nexus, becomes a banana split.