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  • Fake LSD (Acid) | What Are NBOMes or “N-bombs?”

    lsd acid blotter paper tabs - Fake LSD (Acid) | What Are NBOMes or “N-bombs?”

    LSD, also known as lysergic acid diethylamide, or acid, is a psychedelic drug with a nuanced history in the United States. 

    It was originally imported by the CIA for covert testing on unknowing military and civilian test subjects, before becoming a centerpiece for the counterculture of the 1960s.

    LSD was banned by the United States in 1968 and has remained an illegal but highly sought-after schedule I controlled substance in the years since.

    However, a variety of unpredictable new drugs have been distributed under the guise of LSD. These synthetic drugs increase the risk to those who take illicit substances without a complete understanding of what they are actually using to get high.

    What Is Fake LSD?

    Fake LSD can refer to any drug passed off as the synthetic hallucinogen LSD while actually containing other ingredients with hallucinogenic effects, such as cannabis, MDMA, psilocybin, or mescaline.

    However, some of the most common and worrying LSD imitators are a class of synthetic drugs known as NBOMes or “N-bombs,” which are classified as analogues of the 2C family of phenethylamine drugs. 

    The most common of these are identified as 25I-NBOMe, 25B-NBOMe, and 25C-NBOMe.


    Each of these substances is an ultra-potent agonist for the 5-ht2c and 5-ht2a receptors in the brain, among others. 

    They massively increase the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that impacts many different physical states in the body, including mood, thinking, reward, learning, memory, vomiting, vasoconstriction, and more.

    Like LSD, N-bombs can come in various forms, including:

    • patterned blotter paper squares (for sublingual or buccal use)
    • powder forms (for snorting or smoking)
    • the liquid form (for nasal sprays)

    Fake LSD & The Dangers Of Designer Drugs

    So-called ‘designer drugs’ or ‘new psychoactive substances (NPSs) are a diverse grouping of unusual and poorly understood drugs produced in advanced but clandestine laboratories, typically overseas, and exported around the world outside of the medical system.

    In the 2010s alone, more than 900 of these unique substances were identified by law enforcement agencies worldwide, including:

    • synthetic cannabimimetic
    • stimulants, especially derivatives of cathinone (bath salts)
    • synthetic opioids
    • psychedelics, including N-bombs
    • non-pharmaceutical benzodiazepines

    Many of these substances are drugs that have been discovered by pharmaceutical companies in the past, described and patented in public records, but never introduced to the drug market due to issues with their production or safety.

    Counterfeit Market

    Today, many of these drugs are being illegally produced and exported in various forms. 

    They may be packaged and marketed as well-known brand names or generic drugs like Oxycontin, Ritalin, or Xanax, or either laced into or passed off as in-demand illegal drugs like LSD, methamphetamine, or heroin.

    Side Effects Of N-Bombs

    Effects and side effects of N-bombs are known to include:

    • visual and auditory hallucinations
    • confusion
    • anxiety
    • panic, fear, or agitation (a ‘bad trip’)
    • violent or bizarre behavior
    • seizures
    • dilated pupils
    • unusual sweating
    • elevated heart rate (tachycardia)
    • high blood pressure (hypertension)
    • high body temperature (hyperthermia)

    Adverse Effects

    Certain dangerous and potentially life-threatening adverse effects have also been reported, including:

    • excited delirium
    • rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases a damaging protein into the blood
    • disseminated intravascular coagulation, a blood clotting condition that can lead to uncontrollable bleeding
    • hypoglycemia, low blood sugar leading to potentially severe complications
    • metabolic acidosis, a dangerous buildup of bodily toxins
    • multiorgan failure

    LSD Vs. Fake LSD

    LSD is not known to have ever caused human death through a drug overdose. It is also considered to be non-addictive and, chemically speaking, has a low potential for abuse.

    N-bombs, however, are much less understood but have caused serious adverse reactions in many cases. At least nineteen Americans have died due to N-bomb use, and the drugs are believed to have a more significant potential for abuse relative to LSD, potentially leading to addiction.


    LSD is known to cause a wide range of visual hallucinations, illusions, and other sensory effects known as a trip. N-bombs may also cause hallucinations, but their effects tend to have more in common with MDMA/Ecstasy, a drug that also has amphetamine/stimulant properties.

    In addition, LSD can be taken by swallowing while NBOMBs cannot, and NBOMBs are said to have a bitter taste while LSD is tasteless. In all other respects, however, the drugs are difficult if not impossible to tell apart based on their physical properties.

    Telling The Difference

    The only way to reliably identify a psychoactive substance before you take it is to have the drug tested. In recent years, a variety of different test kits have been developed to help identify various drugs, including LSD, and confirm their identity.

    However, due to the increased risk posed by new, adulterated substances, the safest short- and long-term option is to avoid the use of street drugs entirely, whatever their true identity might be.

    To learn about our substance abuse and addiction recovery services, please contact Ark Behavioral Health today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

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    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on October 20, 2022
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