What is LSD?

LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide is a semi-synthetic compound made from ergot fungus. LSD is usually applied to a small stamp-like piece of paper, also known as a blotter or papertrip. Sometimes it is processed into small pills (microdots). LSD also occurs in liquid form. LSD is one of the most well-known psychedelics. The abbreviation comes from the German Lyserg Sauer Diethylamid.


If you take LSD you will trip. This means that your consciousness changes and that you will experience your environment differently. You start thinking in a different way and you might hallucinate, which makes your environment look different. Smells, sounds and touch are amplified and feel different. In general you can say that the effect of LSD is very similar to that of other psychedelics such as magic mushrooms and psychedelic cacti (mescaline). If you don’t like tripping, LSD isn’t for you!

The effect of a substance is determined by the properties of the substance itself, but also by the set and setting of the user. With psychedelics, your set and setting have a big impact on what your psychedelic experience will be like.

Positive effects (negative) Side effects


Strong sense of connectedness to others or your environment. You can connect more easily with others and notice less inhibitions than you might normally experience in social contact. For example, it may be easier to speak openly about the things that are bothering you.

Paranoia and delusions

Anxiety, paranoia and delusions (e.g. the idea that people are talking about you).

More intense music experiences

Music can be experienced louder or more intense. For example, it can feel as if you are completely ‘absorbed’ in the music or that you feel the low tones from the music go through your body more intensely.

Increase in blood pressure and heart rate

Due to increased cardiac stimulation, heart rate and blood pressure rise.

Laughing fits

Spontaneous and uncontrollable laughter, sometimes without anything humorous happening.

Dilated pupils

Due to an increased noradrenaline level in the body after taking certain drugs, the pupils become larger. The pupil size is influenced by many different processes. Increase in noradrenaline plays a role in some of those processes.

Altered sensory perception

How you perceive your environment changes, this can affect all of your senses. Sometimes, this could make it seem as if your surroundings differ from reality. More information about tripping and hallucinations can be found here.


An uneasy and tense feeling in the abdomen, which may cause discomfort. Nausea often precedes vomiting.

(Nederlands) Verandering in tijdsperceptie

The passage of time could feel altered during drug use. Some parts of the evening fly by, while some parts feel a lot slower. When you are feeling comfortable, it can be nice that the feeling does not seem to stop. But if you feel uncomfortable, this can be a bothersome experience. So this effect can work both ways.

Increased sweating

In response to the increased stimulation and changes in body temperature, the skin will start to secrete sweat to cool the body temperature back to normal levels.

Changes in thought patterns

You more quickly form logical and illogical associations, but your thoughts may also become more chaotic and confused. For the user, this could be either a positive or negative experience.

Changes in thought patterns

You more quickly form logical and illogical associations, but your thoughts may also become more chaotic and confused. For the user, this could be either a positive or negative experience.


In hallucinations you perceive things that are not there. It really is an observation that seems to be real. For example, you may hear sounds (auditory hallucinations) or see something or someone (visual hallucination). This is in contrast to a change in sensory perception where normal perception is distorted. Think of a person’s voice that sounds higher or lower or a face that seems to have a big nose.

Hallucinations can be both desirable effects (with psychedelics) and unwanted side effects (with high doses of MDMA, or with being awake for too long).


The feeling that someone is spinning, or that the world is spinning around someone. This impairs balance.

Feelings of interconnectedness

Under the influence of this subtance, you may feel a strong sense of connection with the world and people around you.

Dose and route of administration

Because LSD is a very strong drug, you only need very little for a trip. For many substances you measure doses in milligrams, but LSD is measured in micrograms. That’s 1000 times less!

Doses for swallowing
Light 15-60 mcg (microgram)
Medium 60 – 150 mcg
High 150+ mcg

For a normal to strong trip, 60-150 micrograms is sufficient. This is normally the amount that is on a paper trip. Higher doses are not for beginners and increase the risk of a difficult experience.

LSD is usually applied to a small stamp-like piece of paper, also known as a blotter or papertrip. Sometimes it is processed into small pills (microdots). LSD also occurs in liquid form. If the LSD has been dripped onto a papertrip, place it on or under your tongue to let the active substance be absorped through the oral mucosa. It is best to mix the liquid form with water and drink it or drop it on your hand and lick it up. It is also sometimes dropped on a sugar cube or paper and eaten. Do not drop it directly in your mouth, because if you accidentally squeeze harder than intended, you will suddenly have several drops instead of 1.

You can have LSD tested at the drug checking service. It sometimes happens that a papertrip or drops do not contain LSD but another substance. The drugs that are present instead of the LSD can be more dangerous. The test service can check whether what you have bought as LSD really is LSD.


You can start to feel the first effects 20 minutes to an hour after taking it, sometimes it can take a little longer. The intensity of the trip increases during the first two hours. The peak phase lasts about three to six hours. In this phase, the psychedelic effects are strongest. After that you get a kind of ‘coming down’ phase of three to five hours.

The entire LSD trip takes six to twelve hours. This depends on the dose, if you take more you will trip longer.
There is little point in taking LSD two days in a row, as your body immediately develops a tolerance to LSD. The tolerance is largely gone after three or four days. In addition to tolerance, it is also important to process the entire experience before starting a trip again. Most users therefore wait several months before planning their next trip.


The physical risks of LSD are negligible as far as we know. There is no scientific evidence that LSD causes brain damage or memory problems. Furthermore, LSD does not damage the chromosomes, as previously claimed. It also doesn’t stay in your spinal cord.

Short term

Bad trip

It can happen that you become overwhelmed by the intensity of the experience. Such an experience can be frightening, especially for inexperienced users, and is called a ‘bad trip’. A bad trip can manifest, for example, in confusion due to a too high dosage, but can also occur because someone loses control of their thoughts.

In these situaions, it’s important to reassure the person and make them feel at ease. Make it clear that the situation they find themselves in is a result of the drug’s effects and that it will get better shortly.

Give the person as much rest as possible, preferably in a familiar environment. Accepting the situation is often the first step someone needs to take to ride out the trip in calmer waters. Using psychedelics when you’re not feeling entirely well or when you’re in an unfamiliar or busy environment increases the chance of unpleasant experiences during the trip and is therefore not recommended.

(Nederlands) Triggeren (drugs-) psychose

Sorry, this entry is only available in Dutch.

Long term

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)

HPPD is a condition in which a person has flashbacks to previously experienced hallucinations or distortions from a psychedelic trip. Read more about visual snow, HPPD, depersonalization and derealization.

Due to its strong effects, the chance of mental addiction is very small and most use it once in their life or only once a year. Physical dependence on LSD does not occur, the body quickly becomes accustomed to LSD and immediately builds up tolerance. Soon there will be no more psychedelic effects at all and then you have to wait at least three to four days for a new trip.

Unity tips

All psychedelics are risky because of the chance of a bad trip and of intensifying psychological problems. If you do want to use it, you can limit the risks by:

Unity tips for using psychedelics

  • When taking a psychedelic for the first time, try to have your experience in nature or at home
  • Do you want to trip at a party or festival? Adjust your dose to be smaller than what you are used to.
  • Prevent nausea by eating something easily digestible at least 2 hours before taking your drugs
  • Make sure to always have a sober person (a trip sitter) around when tripping.
  • Pay close attention to the effects you experience: if you feel that they are too strong or unpleasant, ingesting vitamin C, dextrose or sweet drinks may help to alleviate this.
  • Do not fight any unpleasant feelings during the trip, but let yourself float on the flow of the trip
  • Do not combine psychedelics with other drugs (including alcohol) and medications. Cannabis in particular can greatly intensify and prolong the effect of psychedelics.
  • Make sure you are free from responsibilities the day after using, take some time to process the experience
  • Do not use psychedelics if you suffer from epilepsy or have a cardiovascular disease.

Unity tips for using drugs

  • When using a drug for the first time, take only a small dose to see how your body reacts to the substance
  • Only use drugs when you are feeling well
  • Use drugs recreationally, not to combat psychological issues like fatigue
  • Avoid using drugs if you have (had) psychological afflictions or if you have a family history of psychological diseases (such as depression) in your family
  • Test your drugs before use at a drugs-testing service
  • Make sure to prepare a good set and setting for drug use
  • Only use drugs sparingly. Keep track of your use over time.
  • Decide in advance how much you are planning to use over the evening, and stick to that. 
  • Do not combine drugs with other substances or medicines
  • Do not participate in traffic after drug use
  • Prevent infectious diseases; Use your own snorter/sniffer and do not share paraphernalia with others
  • After insufflating, rinse your nose well with lukewarm saline water (for example, by using a nasal spray or nasal douche)
  • Are you, or one of your friends not feeling well? Keep an eye out for one another, take care of each other and visit the first aid (if one is available)
  • Call 112 in a life-threatening situation
  • Eat healthy before and after drug use. In particular, foods with lots of antioxidants and vitamins (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, raisins, oranges, kiwi, broccoli). This is perhaps the most important tip! It can be difficult to eat during and after drug use, but make sure to try to eat something anyway. Eating well is a great way to reduce the hangover! If you can’t hold in solid foods, try juices, breakfast drinks, and smoothies.


Read more

Check ATTN‘s video about the history of LSD in the US: