Many people have written about the strange side effects of LSD. Despite its rise to fame in the 1960s, there are still many misunderstandings about it. For example, what are the common side effects? There’s a lack of factual information about acid. Because of that, this drug seems to inspire nothing but myths.
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LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is a long-lasting psychoactive drug that distorts perceptions and sensations. LSD is one of the most potent mood-altering drugs out there. It causes intense visual distortions of someone’s perception of reality, and these side effects can last up to 12 hours. LSD is illegal in the United States, and it’s considered a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Common slang terms for LSD include Acid, California Sunshine, Hippie, Lucy in the sky with diamonds, Yellow Sunshine, and Zen. LSD is usually sold in tablets or capsules but sometimes in liquid form.
What Does Acid Feel Like?
Acid is made from a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. Funny enough, LSD was accidentally discovered in the late 1930s by a pharmaceutical researcher. Not getting the results he wanted initially, Albert Hofmann dismissed the drug.
Each person’s experience with acid will be different. Side effects of LSD can start a few hours after someone takes it. Initially, people experience things such as “seeing” colors or “tasting” sounds. Most people will see still items such as furniture pieces move, swell, or shrink before their eyes.
Once the effects of acid start to fade away, people experience a sense that everything is “lighter” or “brighter” than before the trip.
However, that’s what people call a “good trip,” or the best scenario for acid euphoria. A bad trip can have an element of paranoia, fear, or even depression. Some people experience paranoia and overwhelming feelings. Those suffering adverse effects of LSD can become aggressive towards those around them or have suicidal thoughts and attempt to harm themselves.
Short- and Long-term Side Effects of LSD
While LSD is a hallucinogenic drug, people experience both physical and psychological side effects. Again, these vary tremendously and depend on a myriad of factors that are almost impossible to pinpoint. These effects are the result of stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.
Acid Side Effects Short-term
LSD after-effects begin anywhere between 20 and 90 minutes after taking acid. Initially, people will start to feel psychological effects, and the perception changes. However, as they go through their “trip,” some people also experience physical effects.
Common physical LSD side effects:
- Dilated pupils
- Elevated body temperature
- Rapid heart rate
- Raised blood pressure
- Changes in salivation, either more saliva or dry mouth
- Tingling in the extremities like fingers and toes
- Physical weakness
- Shaking or tremors
- Flushing in the face
- Nausea and vomiting
- Suppressed appetite
- Blurred vision
- Sleepiness or fatigue
Common psychological LSD side effects:
- Auditory and visual hallucinations
- Changes to other senses, including touch, taste, and smell
- Altered perception of time and reality
- Feeling like one is having a mystical, spiritual, or religious experience
- Synesthesia, or the blending of sensory experiences together
Furthermore, those who experience a “bad LSD trip” are likely to experience symptoms such as panic attacks, paranoia, delusions, dissociation, detachment from reality, and seizures. Users report hearing colors, seeing inanimated objects talk to them or melt, and other forms of hallucinations.
Acid Side Effects Long-term
Due to the nature of this drug, not many people abuse it the same way they’d abuse cocaine, for example. Long-term health problems of abusing drugs overall can be quite detrimental. However, chronic acid users are likely to experience long-term side effects.
- Drug-induced psychosis: Regular LSD users are at higher risk of developing some form of psychosis. Those with a family history or genetic predisposition are at higher risk. Taking LSD or other hallucinogens can trigger these types of mental health conditions.
- Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPDD): Also known as “flashbacks,” these are random episodes leading to re-experiencing the hallucinations from a previous trip for no discernible reason. Those struggling with this disorder may also experience light tails or halos attached to moving objects in their visual field that can be scary and increase anxiety.
How Long Does Acid Take to Wear Off?
Everyone’s acid experience is incredibly different. Most people will experience the first symptoms anywhere between 20 to 90 minutes after ingesting acid.
Once symptoms appear, these can last around six to 15 hours. However, it might take your body up to 24 hours or more to feel normal again. That if you’re not experiencing “flashbacks” after your dose.
Interestingly enough, acid is detectable in your urine even five days after your last dose. And traces of acids can be found in hair follicles 90 days after the last dose.
Things that might interfere in how short or long the “trip” lasts include other substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, or alcohol consumption during the trip. Factors such as age, medical condition, size, and more also play a role.
Can You Overdose on Acid?
Since acid is highly unpredictable, it’s almost impossible to know if a user will have a positive or negative trip. When talking about LSD overdose, this happens when anxiety symptoms escalate into a full-blown panic attack. However, overdose deaths on LSD alone are non-existent since someone would need to take close to 200 doses at one time to reach toxic levels of the drug.
Despite this, LSD is still a powerful recreational drug that can lead to dangerous and potentially deadly situations. Paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions are all widespread side effects of acid. People can run into the streets, jump in front of a car, or even participate in violent or criminal activity that can be extremely dangerous.
Is LSD Addictive?
Hallucinogen addiction is different from the “classic” type of addiction. That is, acid and many other hallucinogens don’t produce physical dependence. The extended use of LSD doesn’t cause physical withdrawal symptoms. Though the dependence on LSD is real, however, it is viewed as a mental addiction.
An individual can become dependent upon the way acid makes them feel. After all, it produces intense euphoria, and that’s undoubtedly addictive. Still, LSD addiction is relatively uncommon, thanks to the overwhelming effects of acid mentioned above.
While it produces euphoria and makes users feel good, it’s simply not practical to take LSD regularly. An acid trip requires eight to twelve hours and is too long to lend itself to addiction. However, the long-term effects of acid can be significant. Users who experience flashbacks may suffer from confusion and reduced ability to function.
Having said this, anyone with addictive behavioral problems can develop an addiction to acid or any other non-addictive substance.
The Bottom Line
While rare, LSD addiction is possible. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse disorder, know that recovery is possible. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we believe in personalized treatment programs that cater to your individual needs. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction rehab programs and how to start walking the right path toward recovery.