What is LSD?
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), first synthesized in 1938, is an extremely potent hallucinogen. It is synthetically made from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It is so potent its doses tend to be in the microgram range. It’s effects, often called a “trip” can be stimulating, pleasurable, and mind-altering or it can lead to n unpleasant, sometimes terrifying experience called a “bad trip.”
Effects of LSD Use
LSD is a mind-altering drug. LSD causes it’s characteristic hallucinogenic effects via interaction with the serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps control your behavior and mood, governs your senses, and moderates you thoughts.
The physical effects of LSD are unpredictable from person-to-person, and no one knows if they will have a good or bad “trip.” Usually, the first effects of the drug when taken by mouth are felt 30 to 45 minutes after taking it, peak at 2 to 4 hours, and may last 12 hours or longer. Use by the intravenous (IV) route will produce a much quicker action, usually within 10 minutes. Effects include:
- distorted visual perception of shapes, colors
- altered sounds
- anxiety and depression
- flashbacks (a return of the “trip” experience) days or months later
- rapid heart rate, increased body temperature and high blood pressure
- dilated pupils
Extreme changes in mood can occur. If taken in large enough doses, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations. Overdose can lead to severe psychosis. Death is often due to a direct injury while under LSD influence; there is no known lethal dose of LSD.
The physical effects can also include nausea, loss of appetite, increased blood sugar, difficulty sleeping, dry mouth, tremors and seizures.
The user may also experience impaired depth and time perception, with distorted perception of the size and shape of objects, movements, color, sound, touch and own body image. Sensations may seem to “cross over,” giving the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic. Some LSD users also experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death.
An experience with LSD is referred to as a “trip” and acute, disturbing psychological effects as a “bad trip”. These experiences are lengthy, with the effects of higher doses lasting for 6 to 12 hours, and it may take 24 hours to return to a normal state.