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What are the signs and symptoms of LSD use?

LSD (Lysergic acid Diethylamide) is an extremely potent psychedelic drug derived from ergot rye fungus, discovered by chemist Albert Hoffman. 

What is LSD?

LSD is a clear, odorless, colorless liquid, which is typically applied to perforated postage stamp size pieces of paper. The papers, referred to as blotters, or blotter paper, will typically have bright colored patterns, or cartoon characters printed on them. Each paper will be impregnated with a dose of LSD. 

How LSD is used?

The blotter paper will be place on the tongue to allow absorption of the drug. 

What are the effects of LSD on the user?

  • Widely dilated pupils
  • The individual may wave their hands in the air, watching a trailing effect from movement. They will mainly experience visual distortions and enhancements of objects in their field of view. Colors will be enhanced, and patterns on a wall or carpet will shift and shimmer.
  • Synthesia- cross sensory modality perception, or:
    • Seeing sound
    • Tasting colors
  • Time distortion
  • Altered sense of self
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Terror or panic reactions ( “a bad trip”)

How long LSD takes to work, and how long it lasts?

LSD is one of the most potent substances known. Micrograms will induce an effect. LSD is active at 50 mcg, and a moderate dose is 75-100 mcg. A microgram is one thousandth of a gram. To put this into perspective, a gram is about the weight of one paperclip. Cut the paperclip into one hundred pieces and you would have a milligram. Take one of those pieces, and cut it into a hundred pieces (not really possible with wire cutters). One of those pieces is a microgram, in other words a pinpoint. About 75 of those pin points would be an effective dose of LSD. LSD works within minutes, with peak effects at about one to four hours. 

Short-term and long-term risks of using LSD

There are many myths and misconceptions about LSD, which neither scientific research or anecdotal reports bear out. Some of the better known myths are: 

Myths about LSD: 

  1. You are legally insane in some states after seven doses of LSD
  2. LSD will make you psychotic
  3. LSD is addictive
  4. LSD will collect in your spine, and when you crack your spine you will have an LSD flashback. 

Facts about LSD: 

  1. LSD will not make you insane after multiple doses. There are no state criminal statutes identifying users of LSD as insane, nor is use of LSD grounds for civil adjudication as insane. Insanity is a medico-legal term referring to someone’s degree of criminal responsibility, based on their mental status during the commission of a crime. What actually happens to most people after multiple doses of LSD is nothing. For many users, LSD apparently does not produce any effect after about 15 to 25 consecutive doses. 
  2. LSD will induce a temporary psychotic state, which resolves when the drug wears off. Persons who are already genetically predisposed toward psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia may be pushed into a psychotic episode, or experience the premature onset of psychosis. 
  3. LSD does not significantly stimulate dopamine, a pleasure reward chemical in the brain, to produce a compulsion to re-use the drug. 
  4. No it won’t. That’s just ridiculous. 


The same precautions that apply to use of other psychedelic drugs apply here as well. LSD is non-addictive, and not compelling to re-use. Some people enjoy the effects and indulge in its use. While under the influence of a hallucinogen one will be disconnected from the environment, making it easier for an accidental injury to occur. Purchase, possession and sale of LSD are also a criminal offense throughout the United States.