Author: James Anderson

LSD: Effects, Risks, Tips, and More

how dangerous is lsd

This means it’s illegal to possess, manufacture, or distribute it. These trips have been described as everything from a spiritual awakening to a trip to the depths of hell (aka the dreaded “bad trip”). In Australia, an anaesthetic called ketamine – which causes hallucinations – is being trialled to see if it helps people with depression. In 1973, eight people were taken to hospital after snorting several milligrams of a powder they thought was cocaine but was actually LSD. They passed out and were hospitalised with high temperatures, internal bleeding and vomiting; although all recovered within 12 hours. Tripping on a regular basis, and therefore relying on the drug to have a good time, can lead to psychological dependence.

how dangerous is lsd

However, it primarily affects the mind with visual distortions and sensory hallucinations. Normally, the brain filters out irrelevant stimuli, but this does not happen with LSD. This overstimulation causes changes in thought, attention, perceptions, and emotions. Additionally, LSD reduces brain activity in several structures, including the right middle temporal gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex, cerebellum, and left superior frontal and postcentral gyrus.

Effects of LSD Use

Today, LSD is an illicit substance used recreationally for its hallucinogenic effects. LSD does not cause addiction, a brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior. However, regular acid use can lead to long-term health problems. Extreme agitation caused by LSD can lead to violent or risky behaviors. In some cases, people can experience panic attacks or attempt to flee from their hallucinations. LSD produces tolerance, meaning the user needs greater doses of LSD to get the same high.

There are reports of inanimate objects appearing animated, with static objects seeming to move in additional spatial dimensions.[60] The auditory effects of LSD may include echo-like distortions of sounds. Higher doses can lead to more intense sensory perception alterations, including synesthesia, perception of additional dimensions, and temporary dissociation. The FDA has not approved it for any medical uses, but advocates and some researchers suggest it could improve mental health treatment outcomes in some people.

how dangerous is lsd

Some LSD users also experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, and fear of insanity or death. Active doses for LSD between 0.5 and 2 mcg/kg (100–150 mcg per dose). Its half-life is about 3 hours, but ranges between 2 hours and 5 hours, and the psychoactive effects can last up to 12 hours. A single dose of LSD may be between 40 and 500 micrograms—an amount roughly equal to one-tenth the mass of a grain of sand. When you take LSD, it reacts with these receptors to trigger the hallucinogenic effects within your senses. Researchers believe this reaction is also what causes the long-lasting high.

An individual’s mindset, surroundings, stress level, expectations, thoughts, and mood when they take the drug strongly influence its effects. LSD’s danger lies in the unpredictability of the “trip.” The drug’s potency is unreliable, and individuals react differently to it, even if they take the same dose as they did before. Read more about LSD, its physical and mental effects, long-term effects, and more. Swiss chemist Albert Hofman first synthesized the drug in 1938 to treat respiratory depression. In 1943, Hofman accidentally discovered its hallucinogenic properties when he absorbed some through his skin.

How long do the effects last?

There have been many reports of phenomena termed acid flashbacks – bouts of psychedelic-like perception long after the drug’s effects have work off. Although the flashback is frequently described by people who have used LSD, it has not been well researched or understood. Still others describe experiences with illegal LSD, obtained for philosophic, artistic, therapeutic, spiritual, or recreational purposes. If you or a loved one is showing signs of an overdose or a bad trip, it’s a medical emergency.

  1. There are a few variables that can affect when acid kicks in and how intense the effects are.
  2. There is no surefire way for an untrained person to recognize LSD without drug testing.
  3. It can also trigger panic attacks, psychotic episodes, disturbing anxiety, paranoia, pain, and a feeling of dying or going insane.
  4. A fatal overdose from LSD is unlikely, but adverse effects that require medical intervention are possible, especially when someone takes a large amount.
  5. There is no way to predict the amount of LSD that is contained in any form consumed.

A very small amount, equivalent to two grains of salt, is sufficient to produce the drug’s effects. You can reach out to your primary healthcare provider if you’re comfortable doing so. Patient confidentiality laws prevent your doctor from sharing this information.

LSD Effects

Flashbacks, also known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), and severe disorientation can happen after only one dose. Because LSD does not cause physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms do not occur when a person stops using it. However, LSD can trigger long-term psychosis or schizophrenia in some people. People can take it orally as capsules, pills, sugar cubes, chewing gum, or liquid drops transferred to colorful blotter paper. LSD is a semi-synthetic drug that combines natural and manufactured substances. Manufacturers derive it from ergot, a fungus that grows on certain grains, and a non-organic chemical called diethylamide.

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available. In another case, a 20-year-old woman’s death after taking LSD at a music festival was attributed to LSD toxicity that resulted in organ failure, hyperthermia, and dehydration. While the effects of LSD set off a chain reaction of events, his death wasn’t due to ingesting a toxic amount of LSD. A closer examination of five such cases suggests there were other factors at play, including unsafe conditions and police intervention. Reports of people overdosing on LSD on its own are extremely rare, so it’s hard to say what the typical signs would be.