What is LSD? Complications + symptoms and side effects

LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that alters a person’s thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. It is commonly referred to as “acid” and is derived from ergot, a fungus that grows on grains. LSD is a Schedule I controlled substance in many countries, including the United States, meaning it is illegal to manufacture, possess, or distribute it.

Symptoms and Side Effects of LSD Use:

1. Hallucinations: LSD is known for inducing intense hallucinations, which can be both visual and auditory. Users may see vivid colors, patterns, or images that are not real. Auditory hallucinations can include hearing voices or sounds that are not present.

2. Altered Perception: LSD can distort a person’s sense of time, space, and self. Users may feel as though time is slowing down or speeding up, and they may experience a sense of detachment from their own body or reality.

3. Mood Changes: LSD can produce rapid and unpredictable shifts in mood. Users may experience euphoria, intense joy, or profound sadness and anxiety during a trip.

4. Sensory Distortions: LSD can enhance or distort sensory perceptions. This can lead to heightened sensitivity to touch, taste, and smell, as well as altered sensations of warmth or cold.

5. Nausea and Vomiting: Some users may experience nausea and vomiting, especially during the early stages of an LSD trip.

6. Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure: LSD can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which may be concerning for individuals with certain medical conditions.

7. Dilated Pupils: LSD often causes pupils to become dilated (enlarged), making it difficult for users to see clearly in bright light.

8. Synesthesia: Some users report experiencing synesthesia, where sensory experiences become crossed or mixed. For example, they may “see” music or “taste” colors.

9. Anxiety and Panic: High doses of LSD or a bad trip can lead to intense anxiety, paranoia, and panic attacks.

Complications and Risks of LSD Use:

1. Bad Trips: Not all LSD experiences are positive. Some users may have a “bad trip,” characterized by extreme anxiety, fear, and confusion. Bad trips can be psychologically distressing and may lead to long-lasting psychological effects.

2. Flashbacks: Some individuals may experience “flashbacks” or “hallucinogen persisting perception disorder” (HPPD) after using LSD. These are spontaneous recurrences of the drug’s effects, even when the drug is no longer in the system. Flashbacks can be distressing and interfere with daily life.

3. Risky Behavior: While under the influence of LSD, users may engage in risky or dangerous behaviors due to impaired judgment and perception.

4. Psychological Effects: LSD use can have long-term psychological effects, especially in individuals with a history of mental health issues. It can exacerbate or trigger conditions like anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia.

5. Legal Consequences: Possession and distribution of LSD are illegal in most countries, and getting caught with the drug can result in legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment.

6. Tolerance and Dependence: LSD does not typically lead to physical dependence, but some users may develop tolerance, meaning they need higher doses to achieve the desired effects. This can increase the risk of overdose and other adverse effects.

It’s important to note that while some individuals may have positive or even transformative experiences with LSD, the drug is not without risks, and its use should be approached with caution. Additionally, the effects of LSD can vary widely from person to person and can be influenced by factors such as dosage, set and setting (the user’s mindset and physical environment), and individual susceptibility to the drug’s effects. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or experiencing distressing effects from LSD use, it’s essential to seek help from a healthcare professional or substance abuse counselor.

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