Lysergic acid diethylamide is generally known as LSD or acid, and belongs to a class of drugs called hallucinogens. Hallucinogens (including psilocybin mushrooms and peyote as well as LSD) alter the way the brain handles perception and consciousness.
LSD is synthesized from lysergic acid, which comes from a fungus that grows on rye. It’s produced as a crystal, then mixed with inactive ingredients — sometimes mixed with a liquid and diluted.
LSD takes a wider variety of forms on the street. For instance, blotter paper can be used to absorb the liquid and then is cut into individual doses. LSD is also sold as “window panes” (i.e., thin pieces of gelatin containing the active drug); liquid on sugar cubes; and “microdots” (i.e., tablets or capsules). Others choose to inject the liquid. The challenge of buying any form of LSD is that concentration and potency vary greatly from batch to batch, so its effects can be unpredictable.
While the mechanisms of LSD are not fully understood, the drug’s hallucinogenic effects are likely the result of its interaction with serotonin receptors.
A single dose of LSD usually lasts about eight to ten hours, with peak effects noticeable at two hours. Typical effects of LSD include:
As you might have suspected, the experience of taking LSD — known as “tripping” — can be highly unpredictable. A “good trip” can lead to a feeling of spiritual connection with others, as well as beautiful visual hallucinations. Just as possible is a “bad trip” that involves frightening hallucinations and emotional distress. One study of LSD users reports more than 27% have experienced a bad trip.
Tolerance for LSD builds quickly, so each trip usually requires a slightly higher dose Unfortunately, higher doses also increase the likelihood of a bad trip.
Tripping on acid means your judgment is significantly impaired. The altered state of consciousness may make you want to do things that could lead to injury or death.
While these situations do occur, the more common danger of LSD emerges after the trip is over. Following acid use, many people experience acute anxiety or depression. Others have a more dramatic reaction to LSD, with effects like schizophrenia, severe depression or long-lasting psychoses.
You may have heard reference to LSD flashbacks, known clinically as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD). Flashbacks are episodes where the LSD effects (hallucinations, etc.) return without warning, often weeks or months after the last dose has been taken. They’re more likely to occur for people that use LSD regularly; however, they can happen with only occasional use. There also appears to be a correlation between HPPD and use of certain antidepressants.
As far as overdose is concerned, it’s nearly impossible to experience a fatal overdose on LSD. But the drug is dangerous for other reasons. The altered state of consciousness it causes can lead to poor judgment and risky behavior. Abused regularly, LSD can cause severe depression, psychosis, and suicidal thoughts — especially when paired with other substances.
LSD doesn’t cause physical addiction. However, it’s common to become dependent on the acid’s hallucinogenic effects, making it psychologically addictive. At Golden Peak Recovery, we understand that abuse of LSD can cause a number of serious behavioral health conditions that need to be addressed in a drug treatment program, along with the roots of the substance abuse itself. One of the best ways is through group and individual therapy that allow you to deal directly with your emotions and to connect with others in a safe, supportive environment. If LSD and other hallucinogens have interfered with your ability to find balance and peace, Golden Peak Recovery can help.