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What is LSD?

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Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) is a hallucinogenic or psychedelic drug.

It is usually found absorbed into tiny pieces of paper called “blotter,” but is sometimes found as a pure liquid or absorbed into a sugar cube. It is almost always swallowed.

What are the effects of LSD?

The LSD experience is usually described as a “trip” because it is like a journey to another place. This experience may be broken up into four ‘phases’:

  • The Onset – Approximately 30 minutes after ingestion, colors appear sharper, moving objects leave “trails” behind them, and flat surfaces may appear to “breathe.”
  • The Plateau – Over the second hour, the effects become more intense. Imaginary visions can appear from nowhere–from shapes in smoke, to lines on the palms of the hand.
  • The Peak – Time is slowed almost to a standstill. Users may feel like they are in a different world, or a movie. For some this is profound and mystical, but it can be very frightening for others.
  • The Comedown – 5 or 6 hours after taking the drug the sensations begin to subside. After 8 hours, the trip is usually over, although residual effects may last until after sleep.

What if somebody is having a bad trip?

  • Take the person to quiet surroundings where they feel comfortable.
  • Find a friend who can reassure them.
  • Stress to them that their panic is caused by the drug, and will wear off in a few hours, if not sooner.
  • If they become uncontrollable or hysterical and you cannot calm them down, you may want to call your local poison control center. They can provide you with “triage” information to help you decide whether the person needs to be hospitalized.

What are some precautions when using LSD?

  • LSD can trigger underlying mental problems and produce delusions, paranoia and schizophrenia-like symptoms.
  • It can also produce extreme anxiety states or panic attacks, not only while under the influence of the drug, but for some time after (flashbacks).
  • In rare instances, LSD has caused a long-lasting perceptual disorder known as Post Hallucinogenic Perceptual Disorder (HPPD).
  • LSD can impair judgement. Users should not drive or operate machinery while under the influence of LSD.

LSD is illegal and possession can result in long prison terms. Supplying LSD to someone else (whether or not money was exchanged) carries even longer sentences.

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