LSD is one of the the classic hallucinogens along with psilocybin mushrooms. It’s not an exaggeration to say that LSD changes your brain chemistry long after you’ve taken it. The long term effects of LSD can be unpredictable, and there are no medical treatments for these long term side effects. This article will discuss what every user needs to know about the long term effects of taking LSD so they can make informed decisions about their future health. But first, let’s learn more about the drug itself.
What is LSD?
LSD is a potent, hallucinogenic, psychedelic drug derived from the fungus ergot. It was discovered by accident by Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist, who tried the drug on himself first. Today, LSD is known by many names, the most common being acid, blotter, window panes, and microdots among many other slang terms. When you take a normal dose of acid, the short-term effects it has on your brain are called tripping. There are good trips and bad trips, and they both often involve both visual and auditory hallucinations and a distorted sense of time. For this reason, LSD has been taken as a recreational drug and for religious purposes for decades.
Although the causes of the effects of LSD are unknown, it is known that the drug binds to serotonin and dopamine receptors. In the 1950s, several psychiatrists were experimenting with a new drug called lysergic acid diethylamide or “LSD” for short. The scientists administering this hallucinogenic drug claimed that it could be used to treat mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and depression. Although some people claimed that LSD was helpful, many long-term effects of LSD were unknown, including permanent long-term side effects.
What are the immediate effects of taking LSD?
Auditory and visual hallucinations are usually the desired goal when taking LSD, but there are more effects on your body than just those two. When taking a normal dose, it usually takes approximately 20 minutes to an hour to feel the drug’s effects on your body and can last for over 12 hours depending on the dose. Some of the common side effects that are positive besides hallucinations you can experience are:
- empathy for others
- lessening of anxiety
- oneness with nature and the universe
- ego death or ego loss, meaning the loss of your sense of self
- warped sense of time
Separately or together these effects can engender the feeling of having mystical experiences with yourself and others. There are also some physical effects that take hold when you use LSD. These include but are not limited to:
- body temperature rising
- increased blood pressure
- jaw clenching
- dilated pupils
- loss of appetite
- staying awake for a long period of time
- elevated heart rate
- dry mouth
There are a few other physical effects but these are some of the most common and all of these are not necessarily negative or positive.
You can experience a bad trip too where taking LSD becomes a very negative experience and you may experience some health risks. Examples of adverse effects of a bad acid trip include:
- increased paranoia
- increased anxiety
- fear of death
- irrational fears
- suicide ideation
- drug-induced psychosis
Please note that all of these effects normally go away on their own and nothing should be done in most circumstances. This also highlights the importance of noting your mood and setting before taking this drug. Your comfort level with the people around you and your setting are very important factors to producing a positive experience on your trip. If you are not in the right mood or in uncomfortable circumstances it is suggested that you try LSD another time.
It is important that if any of these are severe that you should stop taking the drug and have a trusted individual talk you through it by relaxing and calming down. If the severe symptoms are psychosis or suicide ideation, please seek medical attention from your healthcare provider immediately.
What are the long term effects of LSD?
We all know that long-term drug use can have long-lasting effects on our brain, but what are the long-term effects of LSD? LSD has been shown to cause permanent cognitive impairment in some people. Even more alarming is that it does not take much for someone to experience these long-term side effects.
One long-term effect of taking LSD is hallucinogenic episodes or trips where the user has auditory and visual hallucinations. Although these are only temporary while on the drug, this can cause long-term long-lasting effects on the brain.
This long-term side effect of taking LSD also includes flashbacks, also called hallucinogen persisting perception disorder or HPPD, which are similar to hallucinations or trips, but not as intense or long in duration. These episodes are usually not too intense and the most common effects are:
- visual snow, where patients see white, black, grey, or transparent dots in their field of vision
- palinopsia, or when something stays in your vision after being removed
There have been reported cases where a person has permanent long-term side effects from using LSD, even when they have no more of the drug in their system. This long-term effect can cause impaired brain function, permanent changes to a person’s thought process, and severe mental illness like psychosis.
No overdose has ever been reported for LSD, even though patients who took very high amounts have been studied. Injury or death on LSD result from impairment and not overdosing on the actual drug. There also is no physical withdrawal symptoms with this drug but there may be psychological addiction. Your body will never have a physical response to wanting the drug, but you may feel the need to take it to try to recapture certain feelings or in certain situations. Due to no physical addiction, most people if they use it too frequently just stop taking the drug.
On the positive side, many people experience an afterglow effect when taking acid. This simply means that after their trip the positive mindset and outlook on the world may persist for days or weeks at a time.
What should I do if I have long-term side effects from LSD?
There are a number of different things you can do should you experience long-term effects from LSD. These include:
- stop taking the drug until the effects pass, if ever
- talking to a therapist about your need or want to take LSD
- talk to your healthcare provider about your conditions and how long they persist
- if you experience psychological issues because of LSD such as depression or schizophrenia, please treat these issues
There are not enough studies to determine the extent of long-term damage and whether it can be reversed. With future studies, it is hoped that many of the psychological issues experienced by psychedelic drugs can also be treated by using them in the appropriate amounts prescribed by your doctor.
LSD is a popular psychedelic drug that is used for both recreational and religious purposes. The drug can cause both visual and auditory hallucinations and feelings of euphoria and oneness with yourself and the world. Some negative effects include anxiety, paranoia, and panic, although these conditions usually resolve themselves. Even with just one use, there are sometimes long-lasting effects like flashbacks. If you are having long-term side effects from LSD use, please talk to your doctor. Nothing has been proven to cure these long-term side effects, but they usually go away over time. If you are experiencing psychological effects because of drug use, please see a licensed professional right away.
References, Research, and Sources:
- Home – ClinicalTrials.gov
- Psychological, Physiological, Endocrine, and Pharmacokinetic Effects of LSD in a Controlled Study – Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov
- How Do Hallucinogens (LSD, Psilocybin, Peyote, DMT, and Ayahuasca) Affect the Brain and Body? | National Institute on Drug Abuse
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 Chris Riley.
Owner, entrepreneur, enthusiast of natural medicine