Acid was the drug of choice for the hippies of the 1960s and it's still a powerful hallucinogen today. But what are the effects of LSD and what are the risks of taking it?
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a hallucinogenic drug that is usually sold on tiny squares of paper, often with a picture on one side. The picture says nothing about the likely effect or strength of the drug. Microdots and dots come in the form of very small tablets. You may also come across LSD on sugar cubes, square of gelatine (known as window panes) or in a liquid form. Liquid acid is often stronger than the other formats.
What are the effects of taking LSD?
- LSD takes about an hour to kick in.
- It can have a powerful and often unpredictable effect on the mind.
- The effects are known as a trip and can last for eight to 12 hours. Much depends on the strength of the drug, the user's mood, their location and surroundings.
- Users may experience their surroundings in a very different way, including the distortion of objects, movement, vision and hearing.
- Hallucinations are common.
- On rare occasions users experience flashbacks of past trips.
What are the risks of taking LSD?
- Once the trip starts, there's no way of stopping it until the effects subside. Bad trips can be terrifying and seem very real.
- Dizziness, disorientation, fear, paranoia and panic may occur.
- The likelihood of a bad trip will increase when users are in a bad mood, anxious, nervous, uncomfortable or have a history of mental problems.
- A bad trip can make users feel very threatened and shaken for a long time afterwards.
- Accidents may happen while users are hallucinating.
- LSD can complicate existing psychological problems such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.
The law and LSD:
LSD and other hallucinogens are Class A drugs. It is illegal to reproduce, supply or possess these drugs except under a special office licence. It's also an offence to allow premises to be used for production or supply.
Other terms for LSD:
Acid, sugar cubes, window panes trips, tabs, Sid, blotter, microdots, liquid, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, stars, lightening flash, paper mushrooms, rainbows.
Other terms relating to LSD:
Casualty: A person who has taken too much LSD and developed mental issues as a result.
Come home: To come down from an LSD trip.
Trip: Experiencing the effects of LSD.
If you're planning on taking LSD:
- Hallucinogens can enhance and amplify existing feelings. Even so, being in a good mood does not guarantee a good trip.
- If you're with a friend who's having a bad LSD experience you can help by simply being there with them as a steadying influence. Remind them they've used LSD (they might have forgotten) and that they are tripping. Help them to talk if they want to, but don't constantly question them as a bad trip can leave users sensitive to feelings of paranoia. If possible, change your environment to encourage a sense of calm - for example, play some less frantic music or step outside if you're in a crowded club.