ipomoea violacea heavenly blue

What is LSA? The Trippy Story Behind the Morning Glory

The seeds of morning glories and some other plants contain LSA, a cousin of LSD.

Danielle Simone Brand // July 22, 2020

DoubleBlind Mag


Table of Contents 

What is LSA?

LSA—also known as ergine—is a psychedelic compound found in the seeds of several common plants, including morning glory (Ipomoea violacea), Hawaiian baby woodrose (Argyreia nervosa), and sleepy grass (Achnatherum robustum). It can also be found in certain fungi. 


The psychoactive properties of LSA stem from its alkaloid makeup; examples of other plant-based alkaloids include caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, and morphine. Because LSA tends to exert a sedative effect on the user, you’ll find that some sources classify it as a depressant, in addition to a psychedelic.


What Does LSA Stand For?

If D-lysergic acid amide (LSA) sounds similar to D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), that’s because it is. These chemical cousins are said to produce similar effects—which makes sense since LSA is also an ergoline alkaloid, which appears in different types of plants and fungi, including the ergot fungus from which LSD derives. 


LSA Seeds 


LSA Effects—Or, What It’s Like to Trip with LSA

Most people report that LSA yields a less intense trip than LSD, and microgram for microgram, that’s true. However, psychonauts who’ve taken large quantities of LSA have had extremely powerful psychedelic experiences. Of the two common sources for LSA, Hawaiian baby woodrose seeds are the more potent.


Because LSA is naturally-occurring and most people don’t have the equipment or experience to determine precise doses, an LSA trip can be somewhat unpredictable. That said, LSA’s most prominent effect, for most people, is that of sedation, relaxation, and a dream-like state of mind.


However, some trippers report that this effect is situation-dependent; in an active setting like a festival or concert, the LSA experience can be exhilarating, or energizing, for some people. LSA’s other effects include a powerful body high, tingly sensations, heavy-feeling limbs, euphoria, fatigue, enhanced color and pattern perception, time distortion, auditory or visual hallucinations, light trails, shift in perspective, personal insights, and heightened sense of interconnection and oneness.  


Possible Side Effects of LSA

The most common side effect trippers report from LSA is nausea. Some people will also experience vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and cramping after eating the seeds. It’s possible that using an extraction method instead of ingesting seeds directly will reduce the negative GI effects, but reports from users vary on this point.


Other common side effects of LSA include elevated heart rate, changes in blood pressure (increased blood pressure is more common, but decreased blood pressure is also possible), anxiety, paranoia, confusion,

vasoconstriction, dilated pupils, loss of motor control (similar to a drunken state, reported at very high doses), sweating, dizziness, and muscle contractions. 


How Long Before I Feel the Effects of LSA?

The effects of Hawaiian baby woodrose seeds can usually be felt within 20-40 minutes. Morning glory seeds are a bit more variable, with the onset of effects ranging from 30-180 minutes.


How Long Does an LSA Trip Last?


Most people report their trips last between five and eight hours, but the sleepiness and sense of relaxation can last for up to 12 hours. Like with other psychedelics, it’s possible that you’ll feel some of the after-effects of an LSA trip a few days later. 


How to Take LSA 

To help reduce the nausea associated with LSA, avoid eating a heavy meal before tripping. Many people simply grind the seeds to a fine powder and then add them to a beverage or pour them into a gel cap.


But in an effort to avoid some of the nausea and other digestive upset associated with swallowing the seeds, you can chew the seeds to a paste, swirl the mixture in your mouth for 15 to 30 minutes without swallowing, and then spit out the paste.


You can also try a DIY extraction method, such as soaking the seeds in distilled water, then adding garlic and fruit juice, or making an LSA tincture. 


LSA Dosage

Morning Glory Seeds Trip

A threshold dose of morning glory seeds is about 20 to 50 seeds, while a strong dose is 250 to 400 seeds. Anything in between is considered a light or common dose.


HBWR seeds are both larger and more potent than morning glory, thus the difference in dosage. A threshold dose is between one and three seeds, while a strong dose is between seven and 12 seeds.



LSA-containing seeds were used ritually by Mesoamerican cultures like the Maya, Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec peoples as entheogens, or psychedelic spiritual aids. These pre-Columbian indigenous peoples found that LSA, along with other psychedelics, facilitated shamanic practices including communicating with the dead, predicting future events, and coming to terms with traumas and losses.  


Albert Hoffman, the Swiss chemist who was the first to synthesize LSD in 1938 and trip on it in 1943,  also made LSA in his lab after receiving samples of Mexican morning glory seeds. He reported that LSA and LSD had remarkably similar structures, while also noting that LSA caused him to feel much more sedated than LSD.


Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin—the “godfather of ecstasy” who helped popularize MDMA—wrote that LSA led him to experience “a tired, dreamy state” that subsided after about five hours, an experience on which he elaborates in TiHKAL: The Continuation (an acronym that stands for “tryptamines I have known and loved”). 




Harm Reduction Strategies for Safer LSA Tripping 

Like most other psychedelics, LSA isn’t considered addictive and has no known toxic dose.

Additionally, if you have schizophrenia or severe bipolar disorder—or if you’re taking psychotropic medications, particularly lithium—it can be dangerous to add psychedelics. 


To trip more safely, you can do the following:

Our newest course: Using Psychedelics for Growth.

·      Be mindful of your set (emotional and mental state) and setting (where you are and who you’re with)

·      Take a low dose the first few times you try LSA to get a feel for how your body responds 

·      Seek a trustworthy source that guarantees the seeds are free of fungicides and pesticides

·      Ask a trusted friend to trip sit

·      Refrain from combining LSA with other substances; read here about the effects reported from combining LSA with cannabis, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other substances


While LSA might not be a perfect LSD substitute, or even a very well-known one, its appeal lies in its accessibility and relative legality—and a number of online retailers are picking up on that trend.


Now, research is needed to learn more about the possible uses and limitations of this natural psychedelic.


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