LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide) is a Schedule I hallucinogenic that currently, has no acceptable medical use for treatment in the United States and after being banned due to rampant abuse of the drug during the 1960’s counterculture.
As an illegally manufactured drug, variations in potency, chemical contents, and forms of LSD can prove dangerous to even the most experienced users.
“Good Trip” or “Bad Trip”
LSD experiences are often referred to as “tripping” where reality, time, colors, sounds, shapes, movements, sizes, and space, become massively distorted. Our brains are intricate and complex systems and how LSD effects one person, can be dramatically different in another. Added to the changes in environments, personalities, moods, expectations, and LSD dose variances, an LSD “trip” can result in a pleasurable experience in one episode or a nightmarish experience in another.
According to a 2013 report by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “LSD induces a heightened awareness of sensory input that is accompanied by an enhanced sense of clarity, but reduced ability to control what is experienced.” A person who is under the influence of LSD, no matter whether they are having a “good trip” or a “bad trip”, is in danger of being unable to control what happens to them, risking harm to themselves or others.
Physical Dangers of LSD
Nothing is predictable when using LSD, but, some more experienced users prepare their environments before using the drug in an effort to keep themselves safe, while others consume it at “raves”, concerts, or nightclubs where the dangers are compounded.
Physical effects include impaired psychomotor functions, elevated temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, profuse sweating, insomnia, dry mouth, and tremors. Individuals risk dehydration, overheating, seizures, and cardiac arrest, especially when participating in overly exertive activities.
Impaired psychomotor functioning can cause loss of coordination and slowed reactions which could lead to injuries or the inability to physically protect oneself in case of danger.
Psychological Dangers of LSD
Although many users get away with using LSD and not having a “bad trip”, there are still many negative psychological dangers. Altering the serotonin balances influences a majority of brain cells that control cognition, emotion, and behaviors and the effects can last for days until normal balances are restored. Psychological dangers of LSD include:
- Severe, terrifying thoughts, panic, anxiety, or fear of losing control, insanity, or uncontrollable emotions that can further result in physical dangers such as panic attacks, difficulty breathing, cardiac arrest or stroke.
- Violent, aggressive, harmful, or suicidal behaviors.
- Delusions or hallucinations that can last for hours.
- Loss of judgment, inhibition, and inability to recognize dangers that can lead to dangerous behaviors such as walking balconies, jumping from high altitudes, engaging in unprotected sex, or consuming other substances.
- Long lasting effects of anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, memory or cognitive impairments, and flashbacks – also known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD).