Acid (aka LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide) is a very potent hallucinogen. The onset and duration of acid effects depend on the dose ingested and the method of use, but most LSD “trips” last between 9-12 hours. LSD can be identified on the following drugs screens in the time given following the previous use:
- Urine test – 2-4 days
- Blood test – 6-12 hours
- Hair test – up to 90 days
- Saliva test – Not applicable
Of note, the half-life of LSD is 3.6 hours, which means it takes this amount of time for half of the amount of the dose to be eliminated from a person’s system. Factors that can influence these tests include how much LSD the person used before the test, their age, weight, individual biology, and overall health.
More on Acid (LSD)
Lysergic acid is found naturally in the ergot fungus and is so potent that doses are typically only in micrograms. Effects are reported as stimulating and mind-altering but can range anywhere from pleasant to terrifying experiences, the latter commonly referred to as having a “bad trip.”
Acid is illegal in the U.S. and classified as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This means that the drug is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical purpose.
LSD is human-made, produced as a crystalline form, then combined with other ingredients or diluted as a liquid to create ingestible forms. It is odorless and colorless and has a slightly bitter taste.
LSD is a psychedelic, mind-altering drug that induces hallucinogenic effects by interacting with brain serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a “feel good” neurochemical that helps regulate mood and behavior. LSD can be found on the black market in a variety of forms, including the following:
- Blotter paper, or LSD is soaked onto sheets of absorbent paper and cut into small, individual dosage units
- Thin squares of gelatin (known as window panes)
- Liquid on sugar cubes
- Pure liquid form
- Tablets known as microdots or capsules
Although less common, some individuals may snort/inhale LSD intranasally or inject it into a vein.
Effects of Acid
The mental and physical effects of acid can be unpredictable, and no one can know for sure if its use will result in a good or bad “trip.” Effects are often experienced about 30-45 minutes after consumption, peak around 2-4 hours, and may last in some form up to two days.
Effects include the following:
- Distorted perception of the shape of colors, objects, sound, touch, and body image
- Altered sounds
- Anxiety or depression
- Accelerated heart rate, increased body temperature, and high blood pressure
- Extreme mood changes
- Delusional beliefs
- Impaired depth and time perception
- Scary thoughts and feelings
- Sense of losing control, insanity, or fear of death
The physical effects can also include nausea, lack of appetite, sleep disturbances, dry mouth, tremors, and seizures.
Risks and Flashbacks
After using LSD, the ability to make sound judgments and recognize everyday hazards may be impaired, making the user more vulnerable to injury. In some instances, LSD users may also develop psychosis, including delusions, severe depression, and symptoms similar to schizophrenia.
After a trip, the user may suffer from acute depression, anxiety, flashbacks, or hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), which is marked by a return to the effects of one or more LSD trips days, weeks, or months later.
A flashback can manifest suddenly, especially among chronic hallucinogen users or those with a co-occurring mental health disorder. Healthy individuals who ingest acid only occasionally may also encounter flashbacks, however.
Repeated LSD users can also develop tolerance, meaning that a person will need ever-increasing doses to achieve the same effect.
In some individuals, it may take up to 90 minutes to achieve significant effects—as a result, some users may ingest multiple doses in a brief time in an attempt to initiate an intense trip. This could lead to an unintentional overdose.
LSD overdose symptoms may include the following:
- Dilated pupils
- Perilously high blood pressure
- Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
- Muscle shakes or tremors
- Profound drowsiness
- Excessive sweating/flushing
- Tingling/prickling sensations
Signs of a severe LSD overdose (rare) may include the following:
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Bleeding inside the skull
- Dangerously high body temperature
- Blood clotting problems
- Breakdown of muscle tissue, which could result in kidney failure
- Coma (very rare)
LSD is not known to produce a chemical dependence, meaning it is unlikely for withdrawal symptoms to onset upon cessation of acid use. For this reason, medical detox may be unnecessary.
Like any psychoactive substance, however, LSD can be emotionally addictive and, therefore, somewhat challenging to quit abruptly. Persons addicted to acid are encouraged to participate in a drug treatment program that includes behavioral therapy, counseling, 12-step program meetings, and group support.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers offer comprehensive approaches to addiction treatment, including complementary, holistic practices, such as meditation, mindfulness therapy, yoga, and art and music therapy. Our medical and mental health care staff is committed to providing those we treat with the tools, education, and support they need to recover from substance abuse and enjoy long-term sobriety.