LSD is a very common hallucinogen that became popular in the 1960s. Its popularity continues today. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, LSD is one of the most powerful mood changing psychedelics. When it was invented in the 1930s, the scientists were looking for a circulatory stimulant. They did not discover its hallucinogenic properties until the 1940s, when one of the scientists accidentally ingested it. This accidental ingestion brought about a use for the lysergic acid in ergot, a mold found on rye bread.
People did not always consider LSD a recreational drug. Throughout the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, scientists experimented with it to hopefully find a link between the hallucinations produced by LSD and the hallucinations produced by psychosis. Unfortunately, it has several severe short and long term effects that make it dangerous for medical and recreational use.
Why do People take LSD?
People take LSD for a variety of reasons. After its invention, many scientists took LSD to study its properties. They prescribed it to patients to help them deal with psychosis. Almost everyone who takes it describes the experience as psychologically changing.
People take it recreationally to expand their consciousness, for entertainment, and for the hallucinations. Most of the time people find the visions and sensory effects pleasant and entertaining. Some people also believe that the hallucinations are intellectually stimulating.
The main reasons people give for taking LSD are:
- boredom – most people who take LSD take it as entertainment.
- to help with spirituality – people describe LSD as a spiritual experience. The often speak of a sense of connection with the world around them.
- intellectual stimulation – the hallucinations bring on different ways of thinking and feeling.
- to help with problem solving – the psychedelic effects of LSD are said to bring about new “out of the box,” answers to problems that a person is facing.
- to help with another mental illness – some people take LSD because they believe that it can help alter their mind. They think that LSD might help them treat or abolish their mental issues.
- as a new experience – many people take LSD for the unusual and novel experience the hallucinatory effects bring.
Regardless of the reasons people take LSD, there are some effects that all of them have in common.
What are the Short Term Effects of LSD?
Although it is impossible to quantify all of the short term effects of LSD because each person’s experience is different, most people describe or experience common effects. These effects fall under both physical and psychological categories. The short term psychological effects of LSD are:
- changes in mood,
- falling into a trance-like state,
- changes in vision,
- tactile sensations from nerve stimulation or hallucinations,
- changes in the sense of time or time distortion,
- changes in the sense of smell,
- fear of losing control,
- distortion of identity,
- terrifying thoughts or hallucinations,
- anxiety, and
The short term physical effects of LSD are:
- high blood pressure,
- dilated pupils,
- increase in body temperature,
- increase in heart rate,
- dry mouth,
- loss of appetite,
- irregular breathing,
- impaired depth perception,
These are the effects most people describe while tripping on LSD. Many of the negative effects are only experienced when someone has a “Bad Trip.” This is when someone has an extremely negative experience on LSD.
The act of taking LSD is often called tripping. LSD puts people into a highly suggestible state. You can have a good trip or a bad trip, depending on the suggestions while tripping. A good trip is one that everything is relatively pleasant. A bad trip however can be nightmarish. No one knows what causes a bad trip exactly nor is anyone immune to having one.
What are the Long Term Effects of LSD
The long term effects of LSD are mostly psychological. These effects can last for a few days up to years after taking LSD. These long term effects are:
- delusional thinking,
- lack of interest in previous activities,
- lack of motivation,
- schizophrenia, although it is not determined if the predisposition existed before taking LSD,
- difficulty discerning reality from fantasy or hallucination,
- mood swings similar to bipolar disorder,
- panic attacks,
- paranoia and paranoid behavior,
- nightmares and night terrors,
- irrational thinking,
- suicidal thoughts and tendencies,
- inability to communicate, and
- permanent hallucinations.
Flashbacks are another long term mental effect. No one knows why they occur although some speculate that the LSD that remains in the cerebral spinal fluid migrates to the brain in small doses causing vivid memories of the trip. Flashbacks are by far the most common of the long term side effects.
There are also several long term sociological side effects to LSD use. These side effects are:
- unplanned pregnancy,
- legal issues due to arrest,
- job loss, and
- loss of friends and family.
Fortunately, if you are experiencing any of the damaging short and long term side effects of LSD there is help available. According to the National Library of Medicine, treatment for LSD addiction begins when you recognize there is a problem. If the addiction is taking over your life, it is time to seek LSD addiction treatment.