What is LSD?

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known colloquially as acid, is a psychedelic drug. Effects typically include intensified thoughts, emotions, and sensory perception. At sufficiently high dosages LSD manifests primarily visual, as well as auditory, hallucinations.

Effects of LSD

The technical term for getting high on acid (LSD) is LSD intoxication, but it is also known as an “acid trip” or “psychedelic experience.”

During LSD intoxication, users may experience visual and other sensory distortions, changes to their thought processes, and intense emotions such as euphoria. Some users report experiencing surprising or new insights while under the influence of LSD.

An acid trip can last from 8 to 12 hours.1 An effect of LSD is distortions in time perception, which can make the experience feel even longer. Some users say they feel as though the trip could last forever.

When the moods of the user and those around them are buoyant or contented, the LSD experience can be highly enjoyable. However, a trip can also be extremely unsettling if moods are low and thoughts take a somber, or even macabre, turn.

Health and Safety

The effects described above could be viewed as side effects of LSD intoxication if the intention of the person taking it was just a “party buzz.”

There are also other documented negative effects of acid use which are thought to be a result of the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.

Common Side Effects

  • Increased heart rate
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Excessive sweating
Serious Side Effects

  • Hyperthermia (dangerously high body temperature that can lead to muscle and kidney damage)
  • Dehydration
  • Risks to personal safety

There are several potential medical risks associated with LSD use.2 Over the last 50 years, there have been a few documented cases of two specific medical conditions associated with LSD use:

Hyperthermia—a dangerously high body temperature.

Rhabdomyolysis—a condition where muscle breaks down, which can lead to kidney damage.