LSD Effects: What Is LSD?
LSD is a psychedelic drug that can cause hallucinations, delusions, and drastic behavioral changes. Although the substance is not physically addictive, LSD can cause several long-term health problems, psychological dependence, or death. LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), first synthesized in 1938, is a highly potent hallucinogen.
It is synthetically made from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It is so potent its doses tend to be in the microgram (mcg) range. Its effects, often called a “trip,” can be stimulating, pleasurable, and mind-altering or lead to an unpleasant, sometimes terrifying experience called a “bad trip.”
LSD is a powerful synthetic hallucinogen. The psychedelic drug can cause visual hallucinations and change a person’s mood, emotions, and perception. Because it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, LSD is illegal in the United States.
It can damage the body, alter the mind and cause volatile behavior that threatens the safety of the LSD user and others. Chronic LSD use can cause long-term health problems such as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder. The disorder causes flashbacks to spontaneous visual distortions that may reoccur months to years after quitting using LSD. 
An illegal drug with no accepted medical uses in the United States, D-lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, is a hallucinogenic drug that alters perceptions and the senses. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) classifies it as one of the most powerful psychedelics, or mood-altering, chemicals that are abused. 
LSD is in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the most criminalized category for drugs. Schedule I drugs are considered to have a “high potential for abuse” and no currently accepted medical use; however, LSD has been used in many therapies and shows some success in treating depression and anxiety. There is even some evidence to suggest that LSD also has the potential to treat PTSD and addiction. Although LSD has been known to have some positive side effects, the drug affects everyone differently. In some cases, serious physical and psychological effects may occur.
There is no safe level of drug use. The use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug. LSD can affect everyone differently, based on:
- Size, weight and health
- Whether the person is used to taking it
- Whether other drugs are taken around the same time
- The amount taken
- The strength of the drug (varies from batch to batch).
LSD Effects On Your Brain/Perception
LSD creates powerful hallucinogenic effects. Your senses are heightened during a trip. Everything in your environment may feel amplified. During an acid trip, you may experience the following LSD effects:
- Brighter colors
- Changing shapes
- Trails behind objects
- Unusual patterns
- “Noisy” colors
LSD can also amplify your mood. If you take acid when you’re feeling good, you may feel more relaxed, happy, or content. You may also become unusually excited and joyful. If you take acid while you’re upset or angry about something or someone, you may grow more upset or frustrated during the trip.
Long-Term LSD Effects on the Brain
After the initial effects of LSD begin to subside, the user may suffer from acute anxiety or depression. Many users also experience flashbacks, the recurrences of effects associated with LSD many days or months after taking the last dose. Flashbacks typically follow a short-term, reversible, and benign course. The reemergence of visual images is typically accompanied by pleasant feelings, and there is usually no significant concern, distress, or impairment in the individual experiencing a flashback.
Unlike flashbacks, a condition called hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) has a much more sinister effect on LSD users. Although similar to flashbacks in that it occurs well after the cessation of LSD use, HPPD is a dangerous and frightening disorder that follows a long-term and irreversible course. The impairment associated with HPPD can be so severe that many individuals are unable to adapt to living with these long-lasting recurrent “trips,” and many need constant treatment to overcome the pervasive symptoms associated with this condition, more research is needed to determine how likely this case is.
Flashbacks and HPPD are only some of the risks associated with LSD or acid abuse. Users are also at risk of developing long-lasting drug-induced psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. When LSD binds to the 5-HT2A serotonin receptors it produces symptoms that are similar to the hallucinations experienced by people diagnosed with schizophrenia. And the fact that drugs used to treat schizophrenia are able to block the hallucinogenic effects of LSD further supports a connection between LSD and schizophrenia.
LSD Effects on your body
During an acid trip, you may experience these LSD Effects:
- Increased blood pressure
- Faster heart rate
- Higher body temperature
- Dry mouth
- Facial flushes, sweating and chills
- Dilation of pupils
- Perceptual changes, such as visual and auditory hallucinations.
- Confusion and trouble concentrating
- Breathing quickly
These symptoms should subside completely within 24 hours.
LSD Effects & Risks
The use of LSD does carry risks:
Bad trip: During a bad acid trip, you may feel scared and confused. You may experience hallucinations that leave you terrified and distraught. Bad trips can last as long as good ones, and there’s no way to stop the trip once it begins. You can expect the effects to linger for up to 24 hours after the bad trip begins.
Tolerance: Tolerance to acid develops quickly. Repeated acid use may require larger doses in order to reach the same effect. However, this tolerance is short-lived. If you stop using acid for a period of time, you’ll lower your threshold for what’s necessary to trip.
Flashbacks: Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder is rare. It causes sensory disturbances similar to what you experience during a trip. These “flashbacks” can occur days, weeks, or even months after your last acid trip.
Psychotic issues: LSD use may trigger schizophrenia in people who are predisposed to the condition. However, this connection remains unclear.
Legal troubles: In the 1960s, U.S., state, and federal governments declared LSD an illegal, controlled substance. It remains such today. That means if you are caught with the drug, you may face fines, probation, or prison time.
LSD Effects: Mixing LSD with other drugs
The effects of taking LSD with other drugs − including over-the-counter or prescribed medications − can be unpredictable and dangerous, and could cause:
- LSD + MDMA (ecstasy): increased potency of MDMA, which could lead to a bad trip or other negative experiences
- LSD + alcohol: decreased perceived effects of alcohol. This can increase the likelihood of drinking too much, which could lead to nausea, vomiting and blackouts.
‘Polydrug use’ is a term for the use of more than one drug or type of drug at the same time, or one after another. Polydrug use can involve both illicit drugs and legal substances, such as alcohol and medications.
LSD Effects: Signs of Use
Signs of LSD use can be distinctive, so you may be able to recognize that someone is using this substance. Some of the common signs of LSD use include:
- Anxiety or paranoia
- Bizarre comments
- Dilated pupils
- Flushed skin
- Increased body temperature
- Paraphernalia (tablets, blotter paper, sugar cubes, or gelatin)
- Poor appetite
- Rambling, incoherent speech
Symptoms of an LSD overdose can include panic attacks, psychosis, seizures, and delusions. If you suspect that someone has overdosed on LSD, contact emergency services immediately and try to keep the individual calm until help arrives.
Treatment For LSD Use
Once a decision is made to obtain treatment, there are several steps to take.
- Speak to a healthcare provider to help direct you to reliable sources of help and monitor your progress.
- Talk therapy (behavioral counseling) and group counseling may be an option to help you understand your behaviors and why you continue to use LSD.
- Keep your appointments and follow your provider’s treatment plan. Consider including trusted family or friends in your treatment plan.
- Take care of yourself: Exercise, eat healthfully and control your stress level. Surround yourself with supportive people.
- Medical therapy may be needed to treat symptoms due to drug use, such as anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia.
- Work to find new hobbies and interests that will take your mind off of drug use. Consider a volunteer opportunity.
- Each day makes an effort to stay away from people who abuse drugs, even if they are former friends.
Reclaim Your Life From The LSD Effects
LSD abuse is a condition that can cause major health, social, and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up Treatment Center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this with a professional and safe treatment that can help ease several LSD Effects. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
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