LSD

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.


Effects

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

Entactogenic

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.

Nausea/vomiting

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

Changes in perception of time

The passage of time could feel altered during ketamine 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.

Hallucinations

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).

Dizziness


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.


Duration

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.


Risks

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

Experiencing a bad trip

You may be overwhelmed by the intensity of your ketamine experience. Such an experience can certainly be frightening for inexperienced users, and is called a ‘bad trip’. A bad trip, for example, manifests itself in confusion as a result of a dose that was too high. However, it can also arise because someone no longer has his/her thoughts under control.

In such a situation, it is important to put the person’s mind at ease. Explain to them that the situation they are in is a result of the drug and that things will be well again in a short time.

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

Read more.

Triggering a drug-induced psychosis

Frequent and high-dosage ketamine use can increase susceptibility to developing psychosis. During a psychosis, you may suffer from delusions, hallucinations, losing your grip on reality, and you could become very anxious. It becomes difficult to differentiate between reality and your thoughts. Your behaviour and thought patterns are often erratic and chaotic.

It is still unclear whether this can only be triggered in people who are already predisposed to psychosis, or whether regular drug use and an unhealthy lifestyle (e.g. little sleep) by itself can induce psychosis.

Using ketamine consecutively for days without sleeping, resting and eating exhausts your body, and therefore increases the risks of psychosis. Does someone in your environment react erratic and anxious? You can help that person by removing distractions (music, TV off for a while) and finding another environment where that person can get some rest. Speak calmly, be understanding and, if necessary, go outside together. Do not deny or confirm any delusions and if it does not get better, call a general practice centre. Medical staff are there to help you and can, if necessary, arrange a consult, write a prescription or provide care in another way.

Read more about psychosis in this article.

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.

FAQ

What about the law and LSD?

Since the 1960s, LSD has been on List I of the Opium Act (substances with an unacceptable risk to public health, according to the government). Producing, trading, importing, exporting and possessing LSD is punishable by law. The government is cracking down on the LSD trade. There are severe penalties for illegal sales.

Check law and regulations for more information about the law.

How did the use of LSD start?

LSD is made from the ergot fungus. This is an extremely poisonous fungus, which was used by midwives at the end of the Middle Ages to induce the birth of the child in pregnant women. When chemists started working with ergot in the 1930s and isolated various compounds from it, they discovered lysergic acid. This discovery allowed LSD to be made for the first time by chemist Albert Hofmann in 1938. The drug had no visible effect on animals, so his boss was not interested in it at first. In 1943 Hofmann looked at the material again. He accidentally ingested some of it and noticed the effects himself: “(…) At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxication, characterized by extreme stimulation of the fantasy. As if in a dream I saw with my eyes closed a steady stream of the most fantastic images passing by, extremely strange shapes, accompanied by a motley, kaleidoscopic mixture of colors (…).”

Hofmann couldn’t lose the feeling that he had made an important discovery and decided to experiment on himself. On April 19, 1943, now known as “bicycle day,” he discovered the mind-altering effect of LSD. He took a dose of 250 micrograms, not knowing how strong the effect would be. He shared his experience with colleagues. Sandoz, the company Hofmann worked for, sent it to psychiatrists and psychologists who experimented with it in their psychotherapy.

In the 1960s, LSD became the drug of the global hippie culture with the psychologist Timothy Leary as the prophet of the psychedelic revolution. Today LSD is no longer so mainstream, but it is still very popular with psychonauts and in certain scenes.

Check out a video from ATTN about the history of LSD!

Reading suggestioin: Brian Blomerth’s Bicycle day.

What should you do if you feel nauseous from LSD?

You may feel nauseous from psychedelics. So try not to eat 2 hours before. If you do get nauseous, drinking ginger tea could help. Furthermore, it is better to accept the nauseous feeling, and look for a little distraction every now and then. If you are nauseous, try not to move too vigorously. The feeling often goes away on its own.

I’m going to do LSD/psychedelics for the first time. What should I pay attention to?

Read carefully about all the effects, risks, dosages and tips & tricks!

Drug

The effects of psychedelics are different for everyone and can be more intense than you expect. Think about your dosage in advance, it’s better to dose on the low side the first time. You can always take more another time. Also have your drugs tested before taking it. Do not combine it with other drugs.

Set

Make sure you are feeling good. And make sure you have enough ready-made food for the whole day. This is useful when you get hungry or are low on energy. Make sure you don’t have to do anything on the day itself. And preferably also take the day off to let everything that you have experienced sink in.

Setting

It is certainly wise to have a sober person with you to guide you (a tripsitter), preferably someone who has experience with psychedelics. Take it in an environment that feels relaxed with people you feel comfortable with.

Read more about tripping at home, drug, set & setting and drug testing.

Chocolate increases the trip, is that right?

That’s right! Dark chocolate can enhance a trip. However, a bar of dark chocolate is no guarantee for a harder trip. To have a real effect, you have to eat large amounts of cocoa. That is extremely bitter and not tasty and it can also make you nauseous!

Is it true that LSD stays in your spinal cord?

No, that is incorrect! There are people who think that LSD stays in your spinal cord or fat.

If you have taken a drug, your liver breaks down the drug and it is mainly excreted through the urine. The drug doesn’t stay in your spinal cord or fat. The only exception to this is cannabis. That also goes out of your body, but stays in your body a bit longer than most other drugs. This is because cannabis is very fat soluble.

What to do if someone has a bad trip?

Always make sure that you are and remain safe yourself. If you are in danger, you cannot help the person in need.
Find a quiet place with the one who is having a hard time. Don’t try to deny that he/she is having a bad trip. Try to reassure him/her: he/she has taken drugs and the effects and thus the bad trip always wear off. Ask the person about what they are experiencing and try to talk the trip on a positive side without downplaying it. For example, by giving a positive meaning to the things he/she sees. Try to do things that make him/her feel comfortable, such as moving or singing. See if it makes sense to talk about pleasant things. Distraction can also help, for example by drawing. Let your voice sound calm and reassuring.
Make sure that the user does not end up in dangerous situations such as traffic. Call emergency services if it becomes unsafe for the user or his environment or if the bad trip is too intense to solve it yourself.

Is a benzodiazepine the solution for a bad trip?

The short answer is no.

Find a quiet place for the one who is having a difficult experience. Talk to them about what’s going on. Don’t try to deny that he/she is having a bad trip. You can look for a different environment. If you are outside, it can be nice to go inside. Or vice versa. Try to do things that make them feel comfortable, such as exercise or play a game. Try to reassure him/her: a bad trip will always pass. When someone has calmed down, the experience can eventually become positive again.
It is ALWAYS preferable to try this first. A benzo is therefore not ‘the’ solution for a bad trip but can be a last resort, when someone remains in his negative “loop” despite everything. Judging the right time to give the benzo can be very difficult for other trippers as well as for the trip sitter. In addition, benzos in combination with other sedatives such as GHB and alcohol can be dangerous. Therefore, it is preferable to leave this decision to professional emergency services and call professionals in when the person with the bad trip can no longer be calmed or is a danger to themselves or others. Always trip with a tripsitter who can make these kinds of decisions sober.

What if I have medical complaints after the use of partydrugs?

Some complaints after using drugs can last longer, A medical explanation or even treatment may then be necessary. The Brijder has set up a national consultancy for party drugs related medical complaints. If you have medical complaints after the use of party drugs, you can call the consultancy: 088 – 358 29 40. This service is only available in the Netherlands.

 

I am planning to combine LSD with other drugs. What are the consequences?

Combining different drugs can be risky and unpredictable. If you combine, you are more likely to have problems with your health. Here we describe the effects and risks of a number of combinations that are common or that are very risky. Check combining drugs for more information.

LSD and MDMA (XTC)

Users sometimes combine LSD with ecstasy (candy flipping). Since LSD and ecstasy are both mind-altering drugs, they can reinforce each other. The effects of this combination can be unpredictable. No research has been done on combined use with LSD. If you choose to combine these drugs, take less of both than what you would take if you’d take only one substance.
If you take MDMA first and LSD later or if you take MDMA and LSD at the same time, keep in mind that the MDMA has already worn off before the LSD has worn off. The end of the experience can then be difficult. Some people feel a little down when the MDMA wears off. If you’re still tripping, that can be difficult.

LSD and cannabis

Some people like to smoke weed during or at the end of their trip. Keep in mind that it is difficult to predict how cannabis will affect the trip. It can be relaxed, but it can also turn a good trip into a difficult experience. Before you start smoking weed, think about whether it is necessary and what benefit you think you will gain from it.

How long is LSD detectable in your body?

How long a drug is detectable in your blood or urine depends on a number of factors. For example, how often and how much you use and your personal metabolism (the speed at which a substance is broken down by mostly your liver). Drugs are longer detectable in your urine than in your blood. LSD is detectable in the urine up to 48 hours after ingestion. In general, LSD is not tested for in a urine test.


Read more

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