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Summary sheet: Lithium


The structure of the carbonate of lithium, lithium carbonate.

Lithium salts, or lithium (sold as many salts of the lithium ion and under many trade names, such as Eskalith) is a widely-prescribed mood-stabilizing pharmaceutical of the lithium salt chemical class that produces mood-stabilizing, calming, and dulling effects when administered. Lithium is used clinically for bipolar disorder. Lithium has been reported to potentially trigger psychosis and severe seizures when combined with psychedelics, notably LSD.

History and culture

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This chemistry section is incomplete.

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Unlike sodium carbonate, which forms at least three hydrates, lithium carbonate exists only in the anhydrous form.[13] Its solubility in water is low relative to other lithium salts. The isolation of lithium from aqueous extracts of lithium ores capitalizes on this poor solubility. Its apparent solubility increases 10-fold under a mild pressure of carbon dioxide; this effect is due to the formation of the metastable bicarbonate, which is more soluble:[7]

Li2CO3 + CO2 + H2O ⇌ 2 LiHCO3 The extraction of lithium carbonate at high pressures of CO 2 and its precipitation upon depressuring is the basis of the Quebec process.

Lithium carbonate can also be purified by exploiting its diminished solubility in hot water. Thus, heating a saturated aqueous solution causes crystallization of Li2CO3.

Lithium carbonate, and other carbonates of group 1, do not decarboxylate readily. Li2CO 3 decomposes at temperatures around 1300 °C.


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Lithium has a complex pharmacology.

Subjective effects

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The subjective effects of lithium are primarily mood stabilisation. The onset of these effects are gradual and take place over weeks or months. Long term users who respond report “normality” and partial or full resolution of symptoms of bipolar disorder or depression. Some users report a reduced emotional range and some reduction in creativity.

Lithium has no obvious effects on a single dose within the therapeutic range. Doses above the therapeutic range do not produce positive effects. Effects include nausea, prickling sensation on the skin, headache progressing to confusion, delirium, coma and potentially death.

Experience reports

There are currently no anecdotal reports which describe the effects of this compound within our experience index. Additional experience reports can be found here:

Toxicity and harm potential


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Note: Always conduct independent research and use harm reduction practices if using this substance.

It is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this substance.

Lethal dosage

Tolerance and addiction potential

Dangerous interactions


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Warning: Many psychoactive substances that are reasonably safe to use on their own can suddenly become dangerous and even life-threatening when combined with certain other substances. The following list provides some known dangerous interactions (although it is not guaranteed to include all of them).

Always conduct independent research (e.g. Google, DuckDuckGo, PubMed) to ensure that a combination of two or more substances is safe to consume. Some of the listed interactions have been sourced from TripSit.

  • Psychedelics - This combination has been reported by many users to cause seizures and psychotic breaks, notably with LSD. In an unconfirmed anecdote, one death was reported to be triggered by the combination of LSD and lithium.[1] Note the same Erowid article has anecdotes of lithium users using psychedelics multiple times safely and even a published studies done with no ill effects reported. Article Title: Alterations in responses to LSD in humans associated with chronic administration of tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors or lithium. Behav Brain Res 1996;73(1-2):pg 229-33, Bonson KR; Murphy DL. Also Chronic administration of serotonergic antidepressants attenuates the subjective effects of LSD in humans. Bonson KR, Buckholtz JW, Murphy DL. Neuropsychopharmacology. 1996 Jun;14(6):425-36. doi: 10.1016/0893-133X(95)00145-4. PMID: 8726753
  • SSRIs - Combination with Lithium has a potential to cause serotonin syndrome, in people concurrently on serotonergic medications such as sertaline (Zoloft), and fluoxetine (Prozac). [2]

Legal status


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See also

External links