LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide): The Acid Trip Experience

LSD Drug Overview

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), LSD, commonly called acid, is the most potent mood and mind-altering drug. LSD users seek its hallucinogenic effects known as ‘trips’ or ‘acid trips,’ although its effects are unpredictable and highly dependent on the user and environment.

LSD has been a prevalent drug of abuse, leading the ‘psychedelic movement’ of the 1960s. Since then, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) have reported acid as a primary substance of abuse in every annual survey.

LSD is synthetically made in labs from lysergic acid, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains called Claviceps purpurea. Though there are several methods of producing LSD, they all require experience, knowledge, and a relatively long amount of time. Thus, most LSD found in the United States is made by a small network of chemists, but independent drug dealers around the country produce small amounts of the drug.

Known as acid, and called many other names, including:

  • Blotter
  • Blotter acid
  • Stamps
  • Sugar cubes
  • Blue heaven
  • Lucy or Lucy in the sky with diamonds
  • Yellow Sunshine
  • Windowpane
  • Trips
  • Tabs
  • Rainbows
  • Sunshine Tabs
  • Microdots

What Is LSD?

LSD stands for lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly referred to as acid, with the experience of the drug referred to as an acid trip. It is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that alters your awareness of the things and conditions around you, causing intense thoughts and feelings varying from euphoria or terror.


Acid is consumed orally, and users take ‘hits’ of LSD in liquid form, usually from LSD-soaked small square pieces of paper, called ‘blotters,’ ‘blotter acid,’ or ‘stamps’ or sugar cubes doused with the drug. LSD is also sometimes made into small, thin squares of gelatin known as ‘window panes’ or ‘gel tabs’ or produced in small tablets known as ‘microdots.’

blotter acid

LSD Effects

LSD experiments and clinical trials have proven that the drug interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain, mainly two regions, the cerebral cortex, involved with mood and perception, and the locus ceruleus, responsible for receiving sensory signals from the entire body.

Under the influence of LSD, commonly called ‘tripping on acid,’ people have profoundly distorted perceptions of reality with audio and visual hallucinations, seeing, hearing, and feeling things that don’t exist. The danger of acid use is the extreme unpredictability of the effects.

LSD Side Effects

LSD users could experience some adverse physical effects, including:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Numbness
  • Dry Mouth

Acid Trips

LSD’s effects are subjective; one person may feel positive effects of the drug with bright, colorful hallucinations, sights, and sensations with feelings of happiness and increased awareness, called a ‘good trip.’ In contrast, another person may experience the opposite, known as a ‘bad trip.’ A ‘bad acid trip’ is filled with feelings of despair, increasing anxiety and panic, fear, depression, and disappointment. A person on an ‘acid trip’ can experience both kinds of ‘trips’ during different times of use.

what is an acid trip

How Long Does an Acid Trip Last?

When taken orally, the effects of LSD typically begin with 30 to 90 minutes of consumption, but even small doses of LSD can produce effects that last up to 12 hours.

Long-Term Effects

Two long-term adverse effects of LSD use are persistent psychosis and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), commonly referred to as ‘flashbacks.’

Persistent Psychosis – is a series of mental issues that can manifest when ingesting large doses of LSD. Although people often talk about their ‘trips’ as life-changing experiences with intense mind expansion and departures from reality, they may have difficulty adjusting after the effects of the drug have worn off. The mental problems include:

  • Visual disturbances
  • Disoranized thinking
  • Paranoia
  • Mood changes

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) – is a condition in which people experience symptoms that first developed during their previous hallucinogenic experience, a possible complication of LSD intoxication. These recurrences of the drug’s effects, such as hallucinations or other disturbances, are called flashbacks and can occur randomly a couple of days or over a year after the drug use.

bad trip

Can You Overdose on Acid?

All hallucinogenic drugs produce terribly unpleasant symptoms at high doses, though the effects may not be necessarily life-threatening. However, hallucinogenic drug users take a severe risk of harm because of the drug’s intense impact on a person’s perception and mood.

For example, LSD users may do things they would not normally do, like jump out of a moving car or off a roof. An induvial may feel profound suicidal feelings or not understand the gravity of their actions. Additionally, like with all drugs, there is a risk of accidental poisoning from tainted substances or abusing several substances at once.

LSD Drug Abuse

LSD doesn’t typically form withdrawal symptoms or addiction, but a strong psychological dependence or need can develop. People search for experiencing that ‘good trip’ again. However, there are concerns with LSD use over mental health, including increasing antisocial behavior and creating fictitious memories or trusting wrong beliefs.

Acid has no medical benefits and is associated with several mental health conditions, and generally, people who use acid take various other illicit drugs.

Help is available. Treatment starts when you recognize there is a problem. At Northridge Addiction Treatment Center, we know LSD use can cause mental health problems, and medications may be necessary to help treat the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.

For this reason, our private facility located in Los Angeles, California, offers a dual diagnosis program to address all patient’s co-occurring mental health disorders and a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program.

At NATC, our expert team of doctors, nurses, and counselors are committed to healing every aspect of yourself to live a life you deserve, free from addiction.

Get in touch with a compassionate specialist who wants to help today.

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