LSD – officially known as Lysergic acid diethylamide is a semi-synthetic psychedelic drug known for its psychological effects. These effects can include closed and open eye visuals, altered thinking processes, altered sense of time and spiritual experiences, and often associated with the 1960’s counterculture. It is mainly used as an agent in psychedelic therapy, as well as an etheogen and a recreational drug.
LSD is non-addictive, has a very low toxicity level relative to does and is not known to cause brain damage, although in rare cases anxiety and or delusions are rare adverse reactions.
LSD is produced in a crystalline form, then mixed with excipients, or in a liquid for production in ingestible forms. Colorless and odorless with a bitter taste, LSD is sold on sugar cubes, in tablets or squares of gelatin, or commonly as blotter paper (sheets of paper soaked with LSD).
There is a wide range of effects associated with LSD and are often unpredictable. With 30 to 90 minutes after ingesting the user can feel extreme changes in mood, and feel several different emotions at once or have wide swings from one emotion to another. Delusions and hallucinations have been reported when taken in high doses. Physically, LSD can cause dilated pupils, sweating, higher body temperature, loss of appetite, increased heart rate, blood sugar, sleeplessness tremors and dry mouth.
Severe effects include distorted perception of the size and shape of objects, color, movements, sounds, touch and own body image. Frightening changes such as sensations that ‘crossover’ giving the feeling of hearing colors or seeing sounds can bring the user to a state of panic. Terrifying thoughts, fear of losing control or fear of insanity and death are other sever effects associated with some LSD users.
The acute adverse reactions of LSD are referred to as a ‘trip’ or a ‘bad trip’. Lasting 10 to 12 hours, these experiences are long and depend on the size of the dose.
The chances of fatalities resulting from impaired judgements such as the inability to spot common dangers increase. After an LSD trip a use may experience flashbacks, which are recurrences of the effects of LSD and can take place days or even months after taking the last does. Other effects reported after a trip include anxiety and depression.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NHSDA) in 2010 reported that the percentage of the population aged 18 to 25 who had ever used LSD was 6.4%.