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LSD is a hallucinogen that alters the users’ perception of reality

LSD is a hallucinogen that alters the users’ perception of reality
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LSD (acid)

2-minute read

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a powerful drug that changes users’ perception of reality. People who use LSD have ‘trips’, which can be enjoyable or can be very frightening. LSD is an illicit drug, and is very dangerous if taken with other drugs.

What is LSD?

LSD is a chemical extracted from a fungus. It’s also known as acid, trips, tabs, microdots and dots.

It comes as an odourless white powder that can be dissolved in water. It may also be soaked up on blotting paper, sugar cubes or microdots (little gelatine balls), or taken as a liquid, tablet or capsule.

LSD is usually swallowed, but it can be sniffed, injected or smoked.

LSD effects

Trips, or hallucinations, start about an hour after taking LSD. People taking LSD can see sights and hear sounds that aren't really there. They can feel wonderful and relaxed, or scared, anxious and paranoid.

People having trips can feel sick and vomit, and they can have seizures. They can also feel dizzy, have a racing pulse, breathe fast, have trouble seeing, or have chills and sweats.

A bad trip can involve terrifying hallucinations. People on a bad trip can misjudge dangerous situations and do things they would not normally do, like try to fly or try to kill themselves. The Reachout website has some tips on how to help a person having a bad trip.

Trips can last up to 24 hours. Coming down from a trip takes a few days.

Some people who have used LSD can have flashbacks, and become dependent on the drug.

Using hallucinogens with ice, speed or ecstasy can lead to a stroke.

Find out about LSD's effect on mental health and learn about what options are available for treating drug addiction.

Last reviewed: March 2017

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