What Is LSD?
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a synthetically manufactured mood-altering psychedelic drug. It belongs to a class of drugs called hallucinogens. It is synthesized from naturally occurring lysergic acid, found in fungi like ergot, rye, and similar grains.
The drug’s discovery was purely accidental; however, it was widely used in the 50s for its anesthetic properties. Over the next decade, it became popular as a recreational drug, which people used to achieve a euphoric state, called a “trip.”
LSD is one of the most commonly abused illegal drugs in the United States. The intake of this psychoactive drug causes sensory changes and leads to visual hallucinations and altered spatial perceptions.
LSD drugs, usually taken orally, come in various forms – tablets, liquid, and capsules or gelatin squares. It is a slightly bitter-tasting, odorless, and white or clear substance. The chemical is also added to square blotter paper decorated with colorful images or cartoon characters.
Street names for the LSD drug include:
- Lucy in the sky with diamonds
- Window pane
- Back breaker
- Purple haze
- Blue heaven
- Yellow sunshine
LSD is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which is the topmost criminalized category. Lysergic acid diethylamide or acid is a psychedelic hallucinogen, which, when taken even in small amounts produces changes in time, space, emotions, and perception. Since it is commonly sold on blotting papers, there is no way to assess an average dose independently. Meaning, it is difficult to tell what amount of drug you are taking.
A very small dose, like around 20 micrograms, can also cause severe hallucinations. Besides, each individual reacts differently, which is why some people may take larger doses to experience the same level of euphoria others enjoy. In the process, some people end up having feelings of alienation and dissociation.
People from ages have been experimenting with hallucinogens found in nature, such as magic mushrooms. However, chemicals like LSD that are made in a lab pose more risks of dangers to the users.
LSD mechanism of action is that the drug takes control of the user’s senses, altering their perception of reality. Initially, going to this state of mind will feel much pleasurable, which is why users start craving more of the drug. Each intake is known as a “hit,” and the euphoric stage gets enhanced with prolonged use.
However, consuming heavy doses can lead to a “bad trip,” which can feel like a living hell. People go into a trance-like state where they do not know what they are doing. Reportedly, there were many instances when abusers committed crimes or attempted suicide in the lack of self-awareness.
While an LSD overdose may not be fatal, it still carries severe repercussions. Victims exhibit sudden bursts of anger, sadness, or anxiety. Their psychotic episodes can cause blackouts, seizures, and unpredictable behaviors, and they harm themselves or others.
Some Facts on Usage of LSD Drugs
LSD Has Therapeutic Uses
In the period between the 1950s and 1970s, many studies were conducted to determine the therapeutic benefits of LDS. It was used to evaluate the changes in behaviors and personalities of tens of thousands of patients.
Fully legal research programs analyzed the potential of the drug in treating various psychological illnesses and disorders like anxiety, depression, addiction, and several psychosomatic diseases. With careful monitoring and controlled usage of the drug, the patients were found to achieve relief from psychiatric disorders as well as remission.
For healthy people, too, LSD showed creative enhancement, spiritual and personal development. However, since people started abusing the drug, it was banned in 1970. Still, clinical research continued until the early 2000s.
LSD Produces Unpredictable Side Effects Compared to Other Drugs
LSD may be one of the least toxic drugs, with almost nonexistent risks of fatal overdose. However, risky behaviors can happen. Recent epidemiological studies for drugs used non-medically indicate that LSD and other psychedelics have a lower potential for aggravating mental health disorders or increasing suicidal tendencies among users.
That is not to say that there are zero adverse psychological reactions to LSD. However, the media stories cover sensational news articles that have people misattributing the involvement of LSD or exaggerate the doses taken.
Moreover, with LSD, the impact of the drug is not as predictable as opiates, sedatives, alcohol, or even prescription pills. The side effects and overdose risks are similar for anyone, under any circumstance. LSD adverse consequences vary with the individual’s state of mind, whether the drug is taken among trusted parties, the user’s psychological and physical condition, and many other factors that affect different persons differently.
LSD Induces Acid Flashbacks
Psychedelics are notorious to induce deep realization of subconscious thoughts and feelings. LSD, in particular, can bring forth your repressed memories and resentments towards life circumstances.
The drug can cause visual and spatial hallucinations that make you feel like your deepest, darkest fears have come true. It is true that for LSD use can be heaven for those who can achieve a transcendental euphoric feeling, but for others, a bad trip can be pure hell.
LSD prolonged usage causes Hallucinogen-Induced Persistent Perception Disorder, which may be the result of long-term changes in the brain pathways. About 4% of LSD users experience this disorder. Some parts of the drug experience come alive even after years after trying the drug once. They arrive without warning and impair the user’s normal functioning. Theoretically, experts believe that LSD drug consequences are stored in the body’s tissues when taken even in microdoses. The effects get released over time, making you re-experience altered sensations, delusions, and recollect lost memories.
This situation is called acid flashbacks, caused by LSD when you have triggering predisposition factors, such as:
- Chronic LSD use or any other hallucinogen in the past
- History of bad acid trips
- Use of prescription medication
- Marijuana or alcohol or the other intoxicants uses
- Pre-existing mental illness or personality disorder
LSD Addiction Symptoms
You may find yourself asking: “Is LSD addictive?”
Though the drug shows potential for abuse, it does not actually cause physical dependence. Those who abuse LSD do not usually crave for more hits, nor do they exhibit compulsions and drug-seeking behaviors.
However, the users tend to develop a tolerance for the drug and do not get the desired high with the same amount every time. They keep upping the dose. LSD drug addiction symptoms depend on factors like duration of use and the amount of the drug taken.
LSD abuse symptoms include mood swings, tremors, dilated pupils, and shifted sensory perceptions, such as:
- Altered or distorted perceptions of time, speed, size, shape, and space
- Intensified hallucinations, both visual and sensory
- Depersonalization – causes dissociation with one’s body
- Blended realities where they can’t differentiate fact from fiction
- A blended sensory experiences fuse, e.g., seeing sounds and hearing images
After taking the drug, users enter a psychedelic state where their judgment is impaired. Accidents and injuries have been reported when the abusers were in this euphoric stage. The adverse reactions are amplified if they take LSD and alcohol or any other drugs.
Signs That Someone Is Abusing LSD
Whether the users take LSD pills, tabs, or blotters, the drug leads to powerful and overwhelming effects. Since the drug has the tendency to take over the brain and the entire body, the user experiences a complete disconnect with reality. Their senses may alter, which they confuse as being enlightened. Their senses cross-over, as explained before.
So, if you doubt that someone close to you is experimenting with LSD drugs, look at their behavior and the way they communicate. They swap their perceptions, and say things like, “That flower sounds beautiful.” However, this condition, called Synesthesia, occurs naturally in some people. So, this alone does not prove that your friend or family member is on LSD.
They may also complain of hearing voices often and see things with eyes closed. If they are expressing such thoughts once in a while, it may be because they are preoccupied or just got jolted out of a fantasy or daydreaming. But when such occurrences happen frequently, you may suspect that they are abusing LSD. Another thing to watch out for depth and space distortions. They may be seeing things differently or perceiving the distance, height, and colors of objects that are far from reality. Again, these may happen to people with certain medical conditions.
Watch out for signs like:
- Increased heart rate
- Dilated pupils
- Dry mouth
- Profuse sweating
- Loss of appetite
- Long-term psychosis
Given the fact that most LSD users are teens or young people, it is better to deal with your discovery in a clever way. Accusing them of drug abuse or raining on them right away will not produce the desired effects. Since LSD is a man-made drug with unpredictable consequences, the reaction of the user when you call out their LSD addiction can also vary.
Managing LSD abuse and bringing the person back to normal state requires medical assistance and a willingness on the user’s part to get better. Find resources like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to learn about what to do in such situations. Or, call AddictionAide to find help in a short time. You can also check out drug rehab centers located close to you on our website.