Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known colloquially as acid, is a hallucinogenic drug. Effects typically include altered thoughts, feelings, and awareness of one’s surroundings. Many users have visual or auditory hallucinations. Dilated pupils, increased blood pressure, and increased body temperature are typical. Effects typically begin within half an hour and can last for up to 20 hours. It is used mainly as a recreational drug or for spiritual reasons. LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), first synthesized in 1938, is an extremely potent hallucinogen. It is synthetically made from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains.
How is it used?
- By swallowing it if it’s a tab or a pellet (micro dot)
- By dropping it onto the tongue if it’s liquid
- By dropping it onto food or into a drink if it’s liquid
LSD stands for its chemical name, lysergic acid diethylamide, and is commonly called acid. LSD is usually swallowed, or dissolved under the tongue, but it can also be sniffed, injected or smoked.
It’s a powerful hallucinogenic drug, which means you’re likely to experience a distorted view of objects and reality if you take it. The experience of taking LSD is called tripping. LSD trips can last several hours and can be very intense. Trips are often described as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on whether the experience was enjoyable or distressing.
When you take LSD, there’s no way of knowing how you might feel or what kind of trip you’re going to go on. And once you start tripping it’s difficult to control the effects. LSD can also be taken in very small amounts, and this is sometimes called micro-dosing.
LSD is a mind-altering drug. It is thought LSD causes it’s characteristic hallucinogenic effects via interaction with the serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps control your behavior and mood, governs your senses, and moderates your thoughts. The physical effects of LSD are unpredictable from person-to-person. Usually, the first effects of the drug when taken by mouth are felt 30 to 45 minutes after taking it, peak at 2 to 4 hours, and may last 12 hours or longer. Use by the intravenous (IV) route will produce a much quicker action, usually within 10 minutes. Effects include:
- distorted visual perception of shapes, colors
- altered sounds
- anxiety and depression
- flashbacks (a return of the “trip” experience) days or months later
- rapid heart rate, increased body temperature and high blood pressure
- dilated pupils
Extreme changes in mood can occur. If taken in large enough doses, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations. Overdose can lead to severe psychosis. Death is often due to a direct injury while under LSD influence; there is no known lethal dose of LSD.
The physical effects can also include nausea, loss of appetite, increased blood sugar, difficulty sleeping, dry mouth, tremors and seizures. The user may also experience impaired depth and time perception, with distorted perception of the size and shape of objects, movements, color, sound, touch and their own body image. Sensations may seem to “cross over,” giving the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic. Some LSD users also experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, and fear of insanity or death.
An experience with LSD is referred to as a “trip”. Acute, disturbing psychological effects are known as a “bad trip”. These experiences are lengthy, with the effects of higher doses lasting for 6 to 12 hours, and it may take 24 hours to return to a normal state.