LSD (acid) is a commonly used psychedelic drug known for inducing powerful hallucinations and altered sensory perception. Unfortunately, in addition to the sought-after effects of LSD, it comes with the risk of adverse side effects, both in the short and long term.
What Is LSD?
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a synthetic drug derived from ergot, a fungus that infects rye grain.
LSD is in a class of drugs known as psychedelics. When small doses are ingested, it can produce changes in perception, mood, and thought. More significant amounts may cause visual hallucinations and distortions of space and time.
Sometimes, what is presumed to be LSD can be other chemicals, such as NBOMe or the 2C family of drugs. These can be dangerous, however, and their quality is inconsistent. Ingesting an excessive amount of these substances can be lethal, with several deaths having been reported.
What Does LSD Look Like?
In its purest state, LSD is found as a white, odorless crystalline substance. However, LSD is so powerful that an effective dose of the pure drug is so tiny, it’s virtually invisible. As a result, it’s often adulterated with other ingredients.
The most commonly used form is LSD is a solution placed onto gelatin sheets, blotting paper, or sugar cubes, which release the drug in the person’s system when consumed orally. LSD is also sometimes found as a liquid in capsules.
LSD is usually swallowed or ingested sublingually (dissolved under the tongue), though it can also be snorted, smoked, or injected.
Effects of LSD
There is no safe level of psychoactive drug use, and it always comes with some risk. Therefore, it’s essential to be careful when taking any psychoactive drug.
LSD effects can vary and may be based on the following factors:
- Weight and overall health of the user
- Level of tolerance, if any
- Use of other psychoactive substances
- Amount of the drug used and potency
The effects and side effects of LSD usually onset within 30 minutes and can last up to 8-12 hours. The following signs and symptoms may be experienced:
- Sense of well-being
- Perceptual changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Increased body temperature
- Rapid breathing
- Flushed skin
- Sweating and chills
If someone takes an excessive amount, the adverse effects of LSD are more likely to occur. Fortunately, an overdose is unlikely to result in death, but the person may suffer and act erratically. Severe effects may include severe anxiety and panic, paranoia, risk-taking behavior, and psychosis.
Sometimes an individual can experience a ‘bad trip’ involving a disturbing hallucination. This can lead to panic and risky behavior, such as thrill-seeking or attempting self-harm.
Some persons who regularly use LSD may eventually experience flashbacks. A flashback is when an LSD experience reoccurs, prompting a sensory distortion that may involve perceptual or emotional changes.
Flashbacks can onset weeks, months, or even years after the drug was last used. Flashbacks can be very disturbing, particularly if a frightening experience or hallucination is remembered. They can be induced by stress, tiredness, exercise, or using other psychoactive substances. Fortunately, they usually do not last for more than a minute or two.
Hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD) causes an individual to keep reliving the visual element of an experience caused by hallucinogenic drugs.
Unlike the immersive flashbacks that some people experience after using psychedelic drugs, HPPD flashbacks are entirely visual, such as seeing blurry patterns, size distortion, and bright circles. These individuals do not relive any other aspects of the feeling of being on LSD or other hallucinogen drugs.
HPPD flashbacks are not typically pleasant and can cause anxiety, and they can become annoying if they occur frequently or last for a prolonged period. However, HPPD does not induce full hallucinations or delusions.
LSD and Mental Health
Using LSD can trigger or exacerbate mental health issues such as anxiety, schizophrenia, and psychosis. Therefore, anyone with a history of these conditions should avoid taking LSD.
Still, research into LSD in a controlled clinical setting has shown positive results in treating the symptoms of depression, PTSD, stress disorder, and relieving anxiety in those with a life-threatening health condition.
Combining LSD and Other Substances
The effects of using LSD with other drugs or alcohol can be unpredictable and dangerous. For example, mixing LSD with MDMA (ecstasy) cause leads to the increased potency of the latter, resulting in a bad trip or other adverse effects. LSD taken with alcohol can decrease the perceived effects of alcohol, increasing the likelihood of drinking too much, possibly causing vomiting and blackouts.
Polydrug use is a term for using more than one drug simultaneously or one very soon after another. Polydrug use can involve both illicit and legal and legal substances, such as alcohol and prescription medications.
Getting Professional Help
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