What is Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)?
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a synthetic chemical substance which was originally found in a fungus that grows on the rye grain, called ergot. LSD is likely to be the most well known of the ‘classic’ psychedelic hallucinogens and is often labelled as one of the safer psychedelics for human consumption.
LSD is extremely powerful and only requires a tiny dose relative to most traditional psychedelics and other drugs. Doses are measured in the microgram (μg) range which can make it a very difficult and dangerous chemical to handle.
LSD is able to be absorbed through contact with the skin (transdermal) and there have been reports about people who have handled the pure chemical without the correct protection unemotionally ending up in a psychedelic trip.
The small dose range and difficulty handling the pure chemical gave way to alternative ways of storage and consumption. The most common form LSD will come is on blotting paper, also known as a tab. Blotting paper is a highly absorbent and is easily able to carry multiple doses of LSD in a single ¼-inch square piece. There are other forms of LSD available, either in pure crystal form (powerfully dangerous and not common), liquid form (often carrying many doses), blotter tabs, sugar cubes and microdots however the liquid LSD can easily be used to drop a standard dose onto just about anything that will absorb it.
Similar with other hallucinogens or psychedelics, the common effects that are associated with LSD include visual hallucinations, audible hallucinations and other sensory hallucinations (common known as tripping). LSD can have a range of effects on the thought patterns, emotions and general sense of self which can cause users to feel uncomfortable at times and potentially trigger a level of fear, anxiety and lead to a ‘bad trip’. The quality of the LSD experience depends largely on the dosage used, experience of the user, quality of the substance, mindset of the user prior to consumption and the setting in which the drug is being consumed.
LSD has a rather long duration compared to other classic psychedelics, with an average total experience time of 6-12 hours depending on dosage. Following consumption, the effects often take between 20-45 minutes to begin. A user may experience any combination of the following:
- Increased heart-rate
- Faster breathing
- Uncontrollable laughter
- Dilated pupils
- New perspectives
- Odd thought patterns
- Decreased inhibitions
- Increased creativity
The actual experience varies greatly between users and is considered to be very subjective.
How much LSD do people take?
According to Erowid.org, the oral dosage for LSD is as follows:
- Threshold: 10 – 20 micrograms
- Light: 20 – 75 micrograms
- Common: 50 – 150 micrograms
- Strong: 150 – 400 micrograms
- Heavy: 400+ micrograms
The actual dosage found in common forms of LSD varies and is almost impossible to know exactly how much you will be consuming. This is largely due to the fact that LSD is transferred between many people after manufacture before it ends up on a blotter being sold on the street.
How long does an LSD trip last?
Similar to Erowid.org, the duration of effects for LSD are as follows:
- Total Duration: 6 – 12 hours
- Onset: 20 – 60 minutes
- Come Up: 15 – 30 minutes
- Plateau: 3 – 6 hours
- Come Down: 3 – 5 hours
- After Effects: 2 – 5 hours
Many users report an ‘afterglow’ following a positive experience after taking LSD. There is also potential for a user experiencing a difficult trip to have difficulty integrating the experience and returning to their usual daily frame of mind in the couple of days following the trip.
What are the safety risks of LSD use?
LSD can produce extremely powerful effects and has the ability to alter perceptions of life on earth for the user. This can be a confronting experience for those that are not prepared or well-researched in this chemical. It is very important to ensure a substance as mind-blowing as LSD is used in a controlled environment that the user is most comfortable in.
While there are no immediate health risks associated with LSD in terms of toxicity or physical danger, there is still the potential for a person under the influence to fall victim to poor decision making and put themselves in danger without considering the potential for harm.
The most common potential for health risk is the risk to the mental health of the user. This is believed to only become an issue if there are already underlying issues with mental health, whether they are already known or not. For example, if a person is already suffering from panic attacks or any other form of anxiety, this may be amplified due to the feeling of losing control when on a hallucinogenic drug such as LSD.
Microdosing is the action of administering sub-perceptual doses of a substance which are not intended to produce noticeable effects to the user. A dose this low, although not capable of delivering standard psychotropic effects (dependent on the substance used), is still able to be used for the additional benefits associated with its use.
Microdosing LSD involves taking a dose considered to be a sub-threshold dose (often under 10μg). It is believed to provide nootropic effects that will benefit the user in their every day life without being committed to a full-blown psychedelic LSD trip for the usual length duration.
LSD microdosing is linked to increases in creativity, energy, appreciation for the simple things and a general feeling of euphoria felt throughout the day. There are many microdosing routines or recommended dosing protocols to maximise the experience, however each user is different an is encouraged to only follow something that feels right for them. It is important for the user to start small with a dose, and in an environment that is safe and suitable for testing out the correct dosing.
We have made a guide on Microdosing LSD, here.
Read through our other microdosing guides, here.
Feel through to read our articles about other substances, here.