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Article Summary


LSD is a hallucinogenic drug which is produced from a chemical which is derived from grain fungus. Although it was first produced by a chemist and intended for use in medicine, it was soon realized that it would never have any legitimate use in medicine and it also had a high potential for abuse. Because of this, LSD is a Schedule I drug in the U.S. and it is against the law to produce, purchase, possess, process, or sell without express permission from the Drug Enforcement Agency. This hasn't stopped recreational drug users from using it for decades.

LSD can be purchased on the illicit market as a tablet, capsule, on a sugar cube, in gelatin, or as a liquid which is placed on a small piece of paper to be swallowed. Blotting paper with liquid LSD on it is the most common form of the drug which users will come across these days, which may be imprinted with some sort of logo or other color graphic such as a cartoon. These tiny pieces of paper, which are about a quarter of in inch wide, are cut from a larger piece of paper which has about 900 blotters on it. Although some individuals may choose to inject LSD, swallowing one of these pieces of paper is actually a more effective method of administration for this particular drug because it is more quickly absorbed when taken orally.

LSD Effects

When someone takes LSD, the user's perception of their environment changes dramatically. They don't necessarily see things which aren't in fact there, but their perception of what is there is significantly altered. This is what is known as a "trip". A LSD trip will typically begin within about a hour of administration, and it can last several hours. A LSD trip will peak about halfway, and then taper off as the drug wears off. During a LSD trip, users will mainly have a visual experience with intense colors and objects which were once stable becoming ambulant. Some things and people in the environment of the user may have light emanating from them or seem much larger or smaller than they are in real life. Time perception could possibly be altered during a LSD trip, with some individuals experiencing it moving very quickly while others may think it is moving rather slowly or even in reverse. There are even instances of users seeing colors when a certain sounds if heard.

Aside from the hallucinatory side of the drug, individuals who take LSD experience a general sense of happiness and euphoria. Some users get thrown into a very contemplative state while tripping and report to have had very spiritual and religious experiences while high on the drug. This is one of the reasons LSD was a particularly powerful drug, during the "hippie" era, when users were aiming for this particular state of mind.

While LSD's effects may seem somewhat harmless, problems enter in when someone who is tripping on LSD uses poor judgment because of their misperceptions of their environment. For example, someone who is having a particularly monumental LSD trip may think they are immortal or that they can fly, and so may attempt to do so by jumping out of a window for example. Scenarios such as this are one of the reasons LSD is often taken in groups, to prevent such occurrences. However, there are still dangers involved when individuals tripping on LSD lose their inhibitions and put themselves in danger because of it.

LSD Abuse

Another problem with LSD is that there is no telling what kind of a LSD trip you are going to have. There are good trips and then there are bad trips. It's uncertain exactly what causes a "bad trip", although it is believed that one's mood when taking the drug and where they take it somehow affects which way the trip is going to go. For example if the user is in a particularly foul mood and in an environment which may not be suitable for LSD use, the individual may be more likely to experience what would be considered a bad trip. A bad trip may consist of more fear and paranoia than happiness and euphoria, and the trip may seem endless. In these types of situations, users have been known to go to the hospital to seek help but there is very little that doctors can do. The most physicians will do for someone tripping on LSD is given them some sort of anti-anxiety medication. People who have bad trips often don't return to using the drug because of how terrible they felt.

LSD has also been reported to cause what are known as flashbacks. Some individuals who have used LSD at some point in the past say that they had a LSD trip which lasted anywhere from minutes to several hours long after they had taken the drug. While this might be enjoyable for someone who has had a pleasurable and positive experience from taking the drug, someone who had a horrifying LSD trip may not be so happy about this. There are even reports of chronic LSD users experiencing constant visual hallucinations, as opposed to intermittent flashbacks here and there. Little is known as to why flashbacks may occur, but studies point to the possibility that LSD may be stored in fatty tissues which could be released at any point and trigger an unexpected and possibly unwelcome trip.

LSD use is not as harmless as one would think, and individuals who use the drug chronically experience serious side effects and other problems. Chronic LSD use can cause a general disconnection from reality, one's environment and the people in it. This is not healthy, and which is why chronic LSD use can result in many unwanted social woes. While it may seem appealing and fun, there is no telling how LSD will affect any particular user. Time has shown that a bad LSD trip can result in disastrous outcomes for the user and possibly others as well.

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