What is it?
LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide is a chemical made from a substance found in ergot, which is a fungus that infects rye grain (eeeeww right?).
LSD is usually identifiable as small tabs of paper, often with colourful cartoon designs on them, which have been blotted or soaked in the drug. It also comes in tablet, pill, sugar cube and liquid forms. LSD also goes by other names, such as acid, trips, tabs, microdots, dots, and Lucy.
LSD is most commonly swallowed or left to be absorbed under the tongue. It can also be sniffed, smoked or injected. With injecting, there is a risk of contracting blood-borne viruses, such as hepatitis B & C and HIV if needles are shared and the risk of infection at the injecting site.
What are the effects?
LSD is a psychedelic, which means that it has the ability to alter our perception and mood, and illicit strong hallucinations – basically it means we’re trippin! Taking too much of the drug can lead to experiencing far lengthier trips than we intended. The effects can be felt anywhere between 30-90 minutes after taking it, and can usually last around 8-12 hours.
- Euphoria and wellbeing
- Dilation of pupils
- Perceptual changes, such as visual and auditory hallucinations
- Confusion and disorientation
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Increased body temperature
- Breathing quickly
- Facial flushes, sweating and chills
Flashbacks. This is when we re-experience the effects of the drug, and they can occur days, months or even years later. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Think about where you might be when experiencing the flashback; are you in a meeting with your boss or driving a car? The experience can range from pleasant through to causing severe feelings of anxiety. They tend to be visual and only last for a minute or two.
It is very easy to have a ‘bad trip’ while on LSD, especially if we’re not in the right frame of mind. It’s best to take trips with friends that make us feel comfortable and in a space that it positive – think of it as a good vibes only party! On the flip side, a bad trip can cause us to experience unpleasant or intense hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, panic or fear.
The use of LSD is very rarely life-threatening. However, if we take a large amount of have a strong batch, then we are more likely to experience the negative effects. Knowing the signs of overdose helps keeps us and others safe, and when we might need to call an ambulance. Watch out for these symptoms and call 000 in an emergency:
Mixing with other drugs
The effects of mixing LSD with other drugs – including over-the-counter or prescribed medications can be unpredictable. LSD should not be taken by anyone on psychiatric medications as a relapse or worsening of the condition could happen.
While there are no highly dangerous interactions between LSD and other drugs, there are a range of unsafe interactions to be cautious of, and they can be found at TripSit.
The interactions between LSD and antiretroviral medications are not well known. There’s currently no evidence to suggest that LSD use directly reduces the efficacy of antiretroviral medications. If some new research comes to light, then we’ll update this section and let you know.
We did find research that suggests that due to the way that certain HIV medications are metabolised, LSD may become concentrated in the body, which basically means it amplifies the effects of LSD, including hallucinations, visual disturbances or flashbacks.
The interactions between LSD and PrEP and PEP are not well known. There’s currently no evidence to suggest that LSD use directly interacts with these medications or reduces their efficacy. We’ll keep looking and update you if any new research comes to light.
For more information about mixing LSD with HIV medications head to Liverpool HIV Drug Interactions Checker.
There’s currently no evidence to suggest that LSD use directly reduces the efficacy of HRT. We’ll keep looking and update this information if something new comes to light.
The interactions between LSD and HRT are not well known. Progesterone and Cyproterone Acetate can have sedative effects, so we may be particularly tired, fatigued or sleepy during or after taking LSD.