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What kind of drug is LSD (acid) ?

Updated on August 4, 2014

Quick introduction to LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) - "A" class semisynthetic psychedelic drug of the ergoline family, chemical formula C20H25N3O. It is odorless, colorless, and has a slightly bitter taste. LSD might come in these forms: small tablets (“microdots”), capsules, gelatin squares (“window panes”) or sometimes added to absorbent paper, which is then divided into small squares decorated with designs or cartoon characters. LSD physically is non-addictive, is not known to cause brain damage or any other long-term damage, and has extremely low toxicity relative to dose. Although it can create quite strong psychological dependence if used constantly. Human body generates tolerance to LSD very quickly, unlike to other drugs. LSD, if consumed, distorts your sight and other senses, disconnects its user from reality, wraps feeling of time and so on.

Where did LSD come from ?

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was first synthesized on November 16, 1938. It was discovered during a large research program searching for medically useful substances. All properties were revealed only five years later when Albert Hofmann himself accidentally ingested an unknown quantity of the chemical. He then experienced, as he told "best bicycle trip anyone has ever taken". After that Hofmann dedicated many years into the research of this exotic and unnatural substance.

Not long after the first trial, LSD was introduced as a psychiatric drug in 1947. Beginning in the 1950s the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began a research program on LSD. This new substance was tested on CIA employees, military personnel, doctors, other government agents, prostitutes, mentally ill patients, and members of the general public in order to study their reactions. Experiments were held both with and without the subject's knowledge. After many disappointing projects and researches on LSD, it was considered being useless in medicine and classified as class A drug. From then on LSD stayed in the underground/ hippie culture.

Chemistry in LSD

This substance, when in our body, activates a type of brain receptor that’s known as serotonin 2a receptor. These kinds of receptors are located on cells in frontal cortex. They are involved in the computations that help to visualize and interpret the reality around us.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for relaying signals between nerve and brain cells. Perception, emotion, appetite and sleep are all affected by its fluctuations. Amazingly, the chemical structure of LSD is similar to serotonin and fits like a key into the serotonin receptors stimulating their activity... subtly or profoundly...

LSD structure
LSD structure
Seratonin molecule
Seratonin molecule

Physical and sensory effects

Lysergic acid diethylamide usually causes only a little and very insignificant effects:

  • dilated pupils
  • appetite changes
  • jaw clenching
  • sleeplessness
  • numbness
  • nausea

Seldom LSD can provoke more dangerous symptoms:

  • heart rate increase
  • weak tremors
  • vomiting
  • coughing
  • mucus production

Nevertheless, LSD is a substance that mainly affects perception and mind. Sensory symptoms caused by it can sometimes be unexpectedly strong, sometimes annoying or even frightening. These are main sensory symptoms that occur during LSD "trip" (experiences during acid usage colloquially are called good/bad "trips"):

  • Visual effects: movement of static surfaces ("walls breathing"), trails of moving objects ("tracers"), an intensification of colors and brightness ("sparkling"), new textures on objects, blurred vision, and shape suggestibility.
  • Hearing: echo-like distortions of sounds, distortion of sounds
  • Taste: many people report strong metallic taste in their mouth that is exposed when eating/drinking.
  • Touch: distorted feeling of touching things, some skin area might be insensitive
  • Weakened smell.

Psychological effects of LSD

LSD is one of the most strongest and dangerous drugs in this planet - mainly because of its psychological effects. Although, it’s hard to describe them, even if you experienced them many times. LSD changes the way you think and understand your environment, people surrounding you, even yourself. Your head is suddenly full of thoughts which come and leave your head constantly for 4-8 hours. Sometimes you can't make simplest decisions, sometimes you feel lost in this new reality, sometimes you forget who you are (not literally). The best words to describe LSD's psychological effects would be:

  • Loss of a sense of identity or the ego ("ego death"),
  • Dissolution between themselves and the "outside world"
  • Delusional perception of the world around you

Basically, LSD experiences come in one of two forms. You can either experience good or bad "trip" if enough of this substance is consumed. There are many variables upon which the quality of the experience depends on, here are the basic ones:

  • Current emotional, psychological state
  • Environment
  • Tolerance built
  • Quantity consumed/ quality of the compound
  • Previous experiences

Good "trips" come along with some unique effect like: feeling indestructible, invincible, thinking that you can do everything right, that your life is perfect, that world is beautiful. But if something triggers your mind and your start experiencing a bad "trip", this is what is waiting for you: paranoia, fear, feeling that something is very wrong, but you can't tell what, absolutely lost link between you and reality, feeling a horrible need to do something or go somewhere but finding no mental/physical strength to do so and so on.

Have you ever tried LSD (acid) ?

See results

Friendly tips:

  1. Don't try LSD if you feel nervous or are afraid of its effects.
  2. Your first LSD "trip" should be at daytime.
  3. Don't try LSD with strangers or people you can't feel comfortable with.
  4. Never "trip" on LSD alone, unless you already tried it many times with someone.
  5. Never go to public on LSD.
  6. If you catch yourself panicking on LSD, remember: all the bad things you see/feel/think are only made in your head.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      uzsilenksi, narkomane

    • CidoCido profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Lithuania

      Good for you and thanks!

    • viktorija94 profile image


      4 years ago

      Oh, it's really useful hub, from now i'll know some new rules of LSD :D


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