What is LSD?
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), first synthesized in 1938, is an extremely potent hallucinogen. It is synthetically made from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It is so potent its doses tend to be in the microgram range. It’s effects, often called a “trip” can be stimulating, pleasurable, and mind-altering or it can lead to n unpleasant, sometimes terrifying experience called a “bad trip.”
LSD is produced in crystalline form and then mixed with other inactive ingredients, or diluted as a liquid for production in ingestible forms. It is odorless, colorless and has a slightly bitter taste.
LSD is usually found on the streets in various forms, for example:
- blotter paper (LSD soaked onto sheets of absorbent paper with colorful designs; cut into small, individual dosage units) – the most common form.
- thin squares of gelatin (commonly referred to as window panes)
- tablet form (usually small tablets known as Microdots) or capsules
- liquid on sugar cubes
- pure liquid form (may be extremely potent)
Effects of LSD Use
LSD is a mind-altering drug. It is thought LSD causes it’s characteristic hallucinogenic effects via interaction with the serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps control your behavior and mood, governs your senses, and moderates you thoughts.
The physical effects of LSD are unpredictable from person-to-person, and no one knows if they will have a good or bad “trip.” Usually, the first effects of the drug when taken by mouth are felt 30 to 45 minutes after taking it, peak at 2 to 4 hours, and may last 12 hours or longer. Use by the intravenous (IV) route will produce a much quicker action, usually within 10 minutes. Effects include:
- distorted visual perception of shapes, colors
- altered sounds
- anxiety and depression
- flashbacks (a return of the “trip” experience) days or months later
- rapid heart rate, increased body temperature and high blood pressure
- dilated pupils
Treatment for LSD Use
Once a decision is made to obtain treatment, there are several steps to take.
- Speak to a healthcare provider to help direct you to reliable sources of help and monitor your progress.
- Talk therapy (behavioral counseling) and/or group counseling may be an option to help you understand your behaviors and why you continue to use LSD.
- Keep your appointments and follow your providers treatment plan.
- Consider including trusted family or friends in your treatment plan.
- Take care of yourself: exercise, eat healthfully, and control your stress level. Surround yourself with supportive people.
- Added medical therapy may be needed to treat symptoms due to drug use, such as anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia.
- Work to find new hobbies and interests that will take your mind off of LSD. Consider a volunteer opportunity.
- Each day make an effort to stay away from people who abuse drugs, even if they are former friends.