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  • Is LSD Bad For You? | What We Know About LSD & Your Health

    Is LSD Bad For You? | What We Know About LSD & Your Health

    LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide is a long-acting hallucinogenic drug that changes the perceptions and sensations of the person using it. It’s made from lysergic acid which is found in ergot. It is considered one of the strongest mood-altering drugs out there. 

    LSD is currently an illegal drug in the US and classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and doesn’t have any accepted medical use.

    That being said, whether it’s bad for you or not is still up for debate. Knowing more about LSD and how it can affect you can help determine if it’s safe for you.

    Is LSD Dangerous To Your Health?

    The biggest concerns when it comes to LSD use are flashbacks, tolerance, and the dangerous behavior someone on the drug can participate in.

    There doesn’t seem to be much evidence that LSD does any harm to the body or the mind even at higher doses. 

    There have been some studies that show mental illness or psychosis appearing after use of LSD, but it’s more likely that LSD increases the risk of mental illness in those who were already at risk of it.

    Flashbacks & Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)

    Flashbacks or HPPD is when the effects of the LSD reoccur days or even months after the last dose. The effects come on suddenly without warning and usually occur in those who have used LSD for a long period of time. Flashbacks can often be mistaken for a stroke or a brain tumor. 


    LSD may cause tolerance in the body. This means someone may need a higher dose of LSD to get the same experience they had with a lower dose. 

    While high doses haven’t been shown to cause harm to the body, the unpredictability of the drug, the behavior you partake in while on it, and the flashbacks that can occur after taking it to make building up a tolerance dangerous.

    Dangerous Behavior

    Because people on LSD can take part in all kinds of unexpected and dangerous behavior while on the drug, it is one of the reasons it can be unsafe to take. 

    When your perception is altered and you’re seeing things that aren’t there, you might do things you wouldn’t normally and possibly hurt yourself or others.

    How LSD Works

    LSD is a psychedelic drug that works with the serotonin receptors in the brain and blocks the communication between the brain’s chemical system and the brain and spinal cord. 

    Serotonin is the neurotransmitter in charge of controlling behavior, perceptions, and regulatory systems like mood, hunger, body temperature, and motor control. 

    When LSD disrupts the system, the person taking the LSD can experience changes in their perceptions and that can bring on hallucinations. 

    Distortions & Hallucinations

    Someone using LSD often sees things, hears things, or senses things that aren’t there. They can also experience rapid mood swings which can go from euphoria to paranoia very quickly depending on the person using the drug and what method they used to take it.

    The distortions and mood swings can last up to 12 hours at a time but generally last from 20-90 minutes.

    Forms Of LSD

    There are several different forms of LSD, including:

    • blotter paper: LSD soaked onto sheets of absorbent paper and cut into individual dosages
    • thin squares of gelatin also known as window panes
    • tablets or capsules
    • liquid on sugar cubes
    • pure liquid form: can be very potent

    Side Effects Of LSD

    The side effects of LSD can be varied. The drug has quite a few short-term side effects and only a few long-term ones. But which side effects you experience is up in the air because you never know if you’re going to have a “bad trip” or a good one.

    Some side effects of LSD use may include:

    • impulsiveness
    • rapid mood changes
    • hallucinations
    • feelings of happiness
    • enhanced emotional empathy
    • impaired cognition
    • synesthesia, or a crossing of the senses
    • increased blood pressure
    • fast heart rate
    • mental health issues
    • loss of appetite
    • dry mouth
    • impaired depth and time perception

    Treatment For LSD Abuse

    There are lots of different options to choose from when looking to stop using LSD. The options range from going to your doctor and setting up a treatment plan to talking to a therapist to understand why you take the drug and what you can change in your behavior to help you stop.

    To find the treatment option that is best for you, please contact us today.

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

    Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Drug Fact Sheet: LSD
    National Center for Biotechnology Information - Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Hallucinogens Drug Facts
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Substance Use-LSD

    Medically Reviewed by
    Davis Sugar, M.D.
    on July 10, 2022
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