LSD (Acid)

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the most well-known substances comprising the hallucinogen class of drugs. Consumed for its intense effects on users’ environmental perception, thoughts and self-awareness, LSD is a highly potent psychedelic drug whose volatile effects may last anywhere from 3 to 12 hours.

A Brief History of LSD


LSD, as pictured here, is often sold in sheets of drug-saturated paper tabs.

Lysergic acid was first isolated in the 1930s by researchers at the Rockefeller Institute in New York City. Scientist Albert Hofman later developed lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and promoted use of the drug amongst the medical and psychiatric community. Such experimental use of the hallucinogen continued until LSD was banned in the late 1960s.

Also referred to as “acid,” LSD is derived from lysergic acid, which can be found in the ergot fungus present on rye found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye, wheat and other grains.

LSD is sold on the street in the form of tablets, capsules, and occasionally as a liquid. Very commonly, LSD is added to absorbent blotter paper and divided into small decorative squares, each square representing one dose. LSD is generally free of odor and color, although it reportedly possesses a mildly bitter taste, detectable upon oral consumption.

Acid Trip: Intense and Unpredictable

Although one’s experience with LSD depends on a variety of different factors (including dosage and the user’s body size), the psychedelic has earned its reputation as being one of the most powerful and intense drugs available.

An “acid trip” may kick in as quickly as 30 minutes after consumption, but whether one will experience intense anxiety, dreadful and unpleasant hallucinations, loss of control or otherwise terrifying distorted realities is entirely a crapshoot. Alternatively, some users experience typical hallucinogenic reactions, including heightened senses, distorted perception of surroundings/self as well as bright, vivid and colorful hallucinations. Such sensations generally wear off within a few hours and are commonly followed by negative emotions, paranoia and/or drug flashbacks which can continue to manifest for several months.

Effects and adverse reactions linked to LSD include:

  • Extreme impairment of perception
  • Delusions; pyschosis (temporary)
  • Terrifying hallucinations (despair, fear of loss of control, intense emotional disorders)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Distorted perception of oneself
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeplessness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure)

The extreme impairment of regular perception of one’s surroundings is perhaps one of the most dangerous aspect of LSD. A user may be completely unaware of his actions or body position in reality and thus endanger himself/herself or others.

Over the course of long-term use, LSD may produce extreme mental and emotional instability. Recurring mental flashbacks of acid trips are very common, as are impaired memory, decreased motivation, mental disturbances and prolonged depression.

LSD may also be called by a number of different street names, including acid, cid, tab, blotters, dots and tabs.

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