What is LSD?
August 22, 2017
What is LSD?
LSD stands for its chemical name, lysergic acid diethylamide, and is commonly called ‘acid’. It’s a powerful hallucinogenic drug – this means that users are likely to experience a distorted view of objects and reality, including seeing and sometimes hearing things that aren’t there (these are hallucinations). The experience of taking LSD is known as a ‘trip’. Trips can be good or bad, but until you take it you don’t know how it will affect you – and once it’s started you can’t stop it.
Here are some of the main effects and risks of taking LSD:
- Time and movement can appear to speed up and slow down. Colour, sound and objects can get distorted and you can experience double vision.
- These distortions of your senses can be quite unpredictable, sometimes pleasant, but sometimes very frightening (these are called ‘bad trips’).
What does acid look like?
LSD was invented by Albert Hoffman and there is a story that he discovered the hallucinogenic effects by accident, when he spilled some liquid LSD on himself.
As a street drug, LSD is usually sold as tiny squares of paper with pictures on them. These are most commonly called “tabs” or “blotters”. But it can also be found as a liquid or as tiny pellets.
Prices can vary from region to region, but on average LSD costs £1 – £5 a tab.
Tabs (or pellets) are swallowed. Drops of liquid acid are sometimes dripped onto food, like a sugar cube, and then eaten. Acid can take from 20 minutes to up to two hours to take effect – so some people think it hasn’t worked, take more and then find it’s too much to handle.
Until you take a tab of acid you can’t tell how strong it is or how it’s going to affect you. How the trip goes can be affected by who you are, how you’re feeling and how comfortable you are with the people you’re with.
What does acid do to you?
A good trip can make users feel relaxed and happy, with pleasant hallucinations. A bad trip can make you feel agitated and confused, with unpleasant and scary hallucinations. How the trip goes can be affected by your surroundings, who you’re with and how comfortable you are with them, and by your mood. If you don’t feel safe or comfortable, you’re more likely to have a bad trip.
It can also have other effects:
- A trip can appear to involve a speeding up and slowing down of time and movements, while colour, sound and objects can get distorted. Users experience hallucinations (seeing and/or hearing things that aren’t there).
- LSD can also make you feel tired, anxious, panicky and depressed.
- LSD can cause unpleasant, frightening or scary hallucinations and distortions of your senses – and these effects can be quite unpredictable.
- Trips can feed off your imagination and may heighten a mood you’re already in. So if you’re in a bad mood, feeling worried or depressed, LSD may just make these feelings worse.
What are the risks?
Taking LSD does involve risks, here’s what it could do to you:
- If you panic or don’t feel safe and comfortable with the people you’re with and where you’re taking LSD, the trip can be confusing and sometimes very scary. Good trips can be pleasant and amusing, but bad trips can be terrifying.
- Flashbacks sometimes happen. This is when part of the ‘trip’ is re-lived after the original experience. Flashbacks usually occur within weeks of taking LSD, but can be experienced months or occasionally even years later.
- People have been known to harm themselves during a bad trip. So people in a bad mood, feeling depressed or worried should avoid taking acid.
- LSD could have serious, longer-term implications for somebody who has a history of mental health problems. It may also be responsible for setting off a mental health problem that had previously gone unnoticed.
- There’s no evidence to suggest LSD does any long-term damage to the body or directly causes long-term psychological damage.
- If you feel that you’re having – or are going to have – a bad trip, let your friends know and get their help. Go to a nice quiet spot where you feel safe and can relax.
LSD and the law
- LSD is a Class A drug, so it’s illegal to have, give away or sell.
- Possession is illegal and can get you up to seven years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
- Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
What if you’re caught?
If the Police catch you with LSD, they’ll always take some action. This could include a formal caution, arrest and prosecution. A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.
Did you know?
- Like drinking and driving, driving when high is illegal – and you can still be unfit to drive the day after using LSD. You can get a heavy fine, be disqualified from driving or even go to prison.
- Allowing other people to supply drugs in your house or any other premises is illegal. If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a club they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any person concerned in the management of the premises.
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