LSD is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that alters how the brain perceives reality. It’s also known as lysergic acid diethylamide, or acid, or simply LSD. Most people know it for its ability to produce hallucinations and visual distortions. But how long does LSD stay in your system? Does it show up on a drug test? And how can you tell if someone has used this drug? Read on to find out more about one of the the psychedelic drug.
LSD History – The Origin
LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide, is a potent hallucinogenic drug that alters how you think and feel. It was synthesized in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann while studying the medicinal uses of a fungus called ergot. He accidentally absorbed some through his skin and had what he described as an “unusual experience,” which inspired him to explore LSD’s potential further. In 1950, Hofmann purposely took 250 micrograms of LSD to test its effects on himself again. This time he experienced something so profound that it changed how we understand how the mind works forever: A true peak experience. What happened during this session? Well, if I told you here then it would defeat the purpose… But suffice it to say that this experience, coupled with how LSD had been reported to produce transcendental experiences by therapists and spiritual seekers alike, inspired Hofmann to share his discovery with the scientific community. In fact, it is now used as a potent treatment for alcoholism and studies are being done to test for treatment of depression, PTSD, and other mental health illnesses.
LSD History – Use and the Chemistry
LSD is a drug that people take to feel good. They do this by taking it into their mouth. It can also be put on things like food or cigarettes and smoked, but not many people do that because LSD is not very strong when you smoke it. This drug has two things in it: lysergic acid and lysergic acid amide.
LSD is made up of the chemicals called lysergic acid and lysergic acid amide. Lysergic acid comes from a fungus called ergot, which grows on rye plants. Lysergic acid amide does not come from an outside source; its how your body turns lysergic acid into LSD when you eat something that has LSD in it or take an injection of it. When lysergic acid is turned into LSD in your body, the chemical properties of it change. When lysergic acid turns into LSD, it becomes what scientists call a chiral molecule. Chiral molecules are made up of two different things that look the same but act differently when they get inside your body. Lysergic acid and LSD are both chiral molecules, which means that they act differently once inside your body. For example, lysergic acid is an acid with a sour taste, but LSD does not have an acid taste at all. Some of the effects of lysergide (the scientific name for lysergic acid) can also be caused by LSD.
How Long Does it Stay in Your System
LSD trips can last up to 12 hours. On average, these psychedelic trips and the common effects of LSD tend to run about 8-12 hours after ingested. But trip length (feeling the psychedelic effects) doesn’t equate to the same as how long does LSD stay in your system. So let’s dig in and how the body processes LSD and common stats regarding when LSD leaves your body and there can be no LSD detection.
LSD is excreted from the body very rapidly, with only about 1% being eliminated through excretion by the liver and kidney within 30 hours. The metabolic fate of LSD involves dephosphorylation as well as hydroxylation. The primary urinary metabolites of LSD are 4-hydroxy-3-hydroxymethyl lysergic acid diethylamide (HHMA), lysergic acid hydroxyethylamide (LAH) and “N”-desmethyl lysergic acid amide (NOLA).
LSD can be quantitated in urine, plasma or serum to determine a person’s intake and the degree to which it has been metabolized. Blood or plasma LSD concentrations are typically in the 10-100 µg/L range during the first few hours after use, but may reach 1-2 mg/L during the peak effects.
Statistics about LSD Leaving Your System
Factual sentences referenced across top LSD resources:
- Approximately 13% of the drug is eliminated as a metabolite 2-oxo-3-hydroxy-LSD (O-H-LSD). (verywellmind.com)
- In 24 hours, a person excretes only about 1% of LSD unchanged in the urine. (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Researchers estimated that 1.4 million people aged 12 years or older were currently using hallucinogens, including LSD, in the United States. (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Acid is quickly transformed into inactive compounds by your liver, leaving about 1% of unchanged LSD in your urine. (healthline.com)
- 50% of the drug will be expelled from the body within about five hours of last use. (drugrehab.com)
- That means that it only takes three to four hours for the body’s concentration of LSD to decrease by 50% (or one-half). (bedrockrecoverycenter.com)
- Furthermore, 100% of the LSD ingested can take anywhere from 15.13 to 28.05 hours to completely leave the body. (bedrockrecoverycenter.com)
- This means that over the course of 24 hours, about 99% of the LSD in urine is in the form of these metabolites. (bedrockrecoverycenter.com)
LSD Drug Tests
The most common form of LSD analysis involves a urine test by immunoassay or chromatography. Less sophisticated analyses, which are often reported in the tabloid media following LSD arrests, involve color tests and reagent tests in which detectives add certain chemicals to urine samples.
A more reliable method for detecting LSD usage is gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, which can distinguish between LSD and other closely related drugs such as psilocybin and bufotenin.
Does LSD Show up on a Drug Test?
As mentioned above, drug tests for LSD is challenge because 1) the drug does not stay in body fluids very long 2) LSD specific drug tests aren’t in your traditional drug blood panel test or urine test. Bottom line, drug testing for LSD use is difficult and challenging.
Blood tests can detect LSD 1-2 days after ingestion, but the blood sample must take place within 6 hours of ingestion to be able to detect the presence of LSD. Hair follicle tests are rare for LSD, but hair tests have shown positive results for up to 90 days in a hair sample after initial use. The urine drug test is a common type of screening test for individuals who need to be tested for drug use. For the most part, the common urine test will not by itself be able to test for LSD use. This is what makes drug screening difficult for testing for LSD.
This data is given in reference to how long it can be detected through non-invasive means. If someone suspects there may be an LSD drug rehabilitation issue, then more invasive methods may be utilized.
A standard 5-panel drug test screens for both prescription and illicit drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, PCP and opiates. LSD does not fall within this category so is not tested for in the standard panel.
Key facts regarding testing:
LSD generally leaves the blood after approximately 24 hours.
Current tests are not able to detect LSD or its byproducts in urine samples after 72 hours.
In addition, with any of these tests, a lot is also dependent on a few different factors regarding the individual.
Factor 1: LSD dose ingested
Factor 2: Age of the individual
Factor 3: General health and metabolism of the individual
Let’s not forget, LSD is a potent, powerful drug that can have adverse effects on the brain and body. A bad trip is possible. It’s important to be aware and to know the factors about how long LSD can stay in your system to avoid situations where someone might try and take advantage of this knowledge by using drugs with you even though they know how long they will stay in your system. As always, if you are going to use any psychedelic drugs, please do so with the utmost care, safety, knowledge, and proper use as possible. The more you know, the better. If you believe you are using too much and have know developed a bad drug habit or drug abuse, please talk with licensed medical professionals or seek professional medical advice.
References and Sources:
Fact Checked and Editorial Process
The Magical Mushroom is devoted to producing expert and accurate articles and information for our readers by tapping into psychedelic users, experts, journalists, and growing community. We encourage you to read more about our content, editing, and fact checking methods here. This was fact checked by Corey Riley.