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What is Acid?

Learn the details of this psychedelic drug, from its history to effects.

Acid is one of the many street names of the hallucinogen d-lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, LSD is one of the most powerful hallucinogens sold on the black market today. It was extremely popular in the 1960s and remains popular today.

History of Acid


Acid was present on the mold of rye bread.

Throughout history, there are tales of madness and demon possession. Most of these were due to presence of a fungus on very popular bread. Rye was one of the easiest breads to culture and bake. Scientists created acid from the lysergic acid in the ergot fungus. These scientists were trying to make a respiratory stimulant out of it and accidently invented this powerful hallucinogen.

What are the Effects of Acid?

Most people take LSD for its hallucinogenic effects. These effects are generally called a trip. During a trip you experience:

  • changes in sensations or feelings,
  • visual, auditory, olfactory, and tactile hallucinations,
  • confused sensations such as hearing touch or smelling sound,
  • distorted sense of time, time might go quickly then stop or slow down,
  • delusions, and
  • euphoria.

Many people describe these trips as pleasant and consciousness expanding.

What are the Short Term Side Effects of Acid?

Unfortunately, there are short term side effects that are not pleasant at all but most people do not find them bothersome enough to not take acid. These are:

  • dilated pupils,
  • increased body temperature,
  • increased heart rate,
  • increased blood pressure,
  • sweating,
  • loss of appetite,
  • insomnia,
  • nausea, and
  • dry mouth.

Eating anything on LSD is said to be an unpleasant experience, not only because of the nausea but because of the sensation of eating.

One side effect of acid is known as a “bad trip.” A bad trip is filled with unpleasant feelings and hallucinations. These might include:

  • nightmarish visions,
  • feelings of dying,
  • fear of everything including the hallucinations,
  • anxiety,
  • depression, and
  • general feelings of impending doom.

Bad trips are a byproduct of the state of mind of the user. Most times since you are in a suggestible state while taking acid, it is possible to correct a bad trip if someone suggests that everything is okay. An example of this is the accounts of “Bicycle Day,” a written record of one of the first acid trips.

What are the Long Term Side Effects of Acid?

There are not many recorded long term effects of taking LSD. It is nonaddictive so dependence is not often an issue. Some say that it can be psychologically addictive when a person is already mentally troubled and wants an escape from reality. A few of the common long term effects are:

  • flashbacks – flashbacks are sudden, inexplicable flashes of hallucinations, usually from something seen during an actual acid trip.
  • HPPD – hallucinogenic Permanent Perceptive Disorder, this disorder is extremely rare and involves essentially getting stuck in hallucinations.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, continued use of acid increases these risks exponentially. For more information on acid or for treatment for an acid addiction call use at 1-800-895-1695.

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