LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) is a synthetic chemical, made from a substance found in ergot, which is a fungus that infects rye (grain)1.
LSD belongs to a group of drugs known as hallucinogens (also known as 'psychedelics'). When small doses are taken, it can produce mild changes in perception, mood and thought. When larger doses are taken, it may produce visual hallucinations and distortions of space and time2.
Sometimes, what is sold as LSD can actually be other chemicals such as NBOMe or the 2C family of drugs (part of the new psychoactive substances). These can be quite dangerous, as their quality is inconsistent, plus the potential to take too much of these other substances can be fatal and a number of deaths have been reported due to people taking them.3
What it looks like
In its pure state, LSD is a white odourless powder. However, it usually comes in squares of gelatine or blotting paper that have been dipped or soaked in LSD.2 LSD is also sometimes sold as a liquid, in a tablet or in capsules.
Acid, trips, tabs, microdots, dots, Lucy.
How is it used?
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It's important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
LSD can affect everyone differently, based on:
The effects of LSD usually begin in 30 – 45 minutes and can last for 4 to 12 hours.3 The following may be experienced during this time:
If a large amount is taken, the negative effects of LSD are more likely to happen. If any of the following effects are experienced an ambulance should be called straight away by dialling triple zero (000). Ambulance officers don't need to involve the police.
In the following days after using hallucinogens, the following may be experienced:
Long term effects
People who regularly use LSD may eventually experience flashbacks. Flashbacks are hallucinations that occur weeks, months or even years after the drug was last taken. This can be disturbing, especially when the hallucination is frightening.2
Flashbacks can be brought on by using other drugs, stress, tiredness or exercise and usually last for a minute or two.2
In addition to flashbacks, regular use of LSD may eventually cause:
Using LSD with other drugs
The effects of taking LSD with other drugs − including over-the-counter or prescribed medications − can be unpredictable and dangerous, and could cause:
Tolerance and dependence
Tolerance develops rapidly to the effects of LSD. After the third or fourth consecutive days of taking LSD, no amount of the drug can produce the desired effects. However, after a short period of abstinence (about 3-4 days) normal tolerance returns.2
Reducing the risks
1. Upfal, J. (2006). The Australian Drug Guide. (7th ed.). Black Inc: Collingwood.
2. Brands, B. Sproule, B. & Marshman, J. (Eds.). (1998). Drugs & drug abuse (3rd ed.). Ontario: Addiction Research Foundation.
3. Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. (2012). LSD / Acid.
4. Erowid. (2001). Ask Erowid.
5. Community Alcohol and Drug Services (CADS). (2008). Drugs, LSD (acid, trips, tabs, A).
6. University of California. (2013). Alcohol and LSD / Acid.
Last updated: 19 May 2016