LSD is a synthetic
psychedelic, derived from ergot fungus, and the most powerful
conscious-altering substance known to man.
Does of LSD are measured
in micrograms (ug) or millionths of a gram. One ounce of LSD contains
enough doses for 300,000 adults. Two suitcases of the stuff would
be enough to dose the entire population of the USA.
LSD is colourless,
tasteless and odourless and usually comes soaked into blotters
- squares or sheets of paper decorated with kooky designs (sunflowers,
strawberries, rockets etc).
Very rarely you may
find it as small pills (or 'microdots'), gelatine sheets, or as
liquid. Common during the 60s, these forms are super-rare now.
The Drug Enforcement
Administration reports that the strength of LSD samples obtained
currently from illicit sources ranges from 20 to 80 micrograms
of LSD per dose. This is considerably less than the levels reported
during the 1960s and early 1970s, when the dosage ranged from
100 to 200 micrograms, or higher, per unit.
A lot of mythology surrounds certain 'brands' of LSD. "Oh
Sunflowers and Rockets are really powerful" you may hear.
Dealers may claim their product is "200 micrograms".
In fact, since LSD
degrades rapidly on exposure to light, air, and heat and the amounts
involved are microscopic, you can never be sure how much LSD you
In the UK, LSD is class
A drug. In the US, it is categorised under Schedule 1 along with
magic mushrooms, cannabis, and heroin.
The LSD effect is described
as a 'trip' because it is a long (8-12 hours) and powerful experience
which takes you beyond normal perception and then back again.
Simply put, it profoundly
alters and expands consciousness by loosening or - at higher doses-
completely erasing the normal filters and screens between your
conscious mind and the outside world.
With these filters
down, more information rushes in. You sense more, think more,
feel more. You became aware of things normally filtered out out
by your mind, visual, auditory, sensory, emotional. The intricate
details on surfaces, the richness of sound, the brightness of
colours, and the complexity of your own mental processes.
At higher doses, the
rush of information becomes a flood and your sense actually begin
to merge and overlap (syntheasia) until you can see sounds or
This information has
been compiled from two sources: the decades of observation and
study by psychiatrists in a clinical setting before LSD and other
psychedelics were outlawed in the late 1960s; and books and anecdotal
trip reports written by users.
The most important
thing to realise is that no two trips are the same. The intensity
and effects of a drug like LSD vary dramatically from person to
person. If different people take the same amount in the same circumstances,
each will have a distinctly different experience. If the same
person takes LSD repeatedly, each experience is usually completely
different in its flavour and content.
The nature of the psychedelic
experience is strongly determined by set and setting. Set is your
mindset (how you're feeling, issues in your life, your psychological
makeup) when taking the drug; setting is where you are - that
includes who you're with and how relaxed you feel. Dosage and
previous experience with the drug also have a part of play.
Basically, if you take
LSD, you will experience some or none of the effects on the following
how you feel before taking a drug
Very mild effect. Relaxation. Giggling. Like being stoned but
with enhanced visual perception: colours may seem brighter, patterns
recognition enhanced, colours and details more eye-grabbing.
Physically, a feeling
of lightness and euphoria, and a slight tingling in the body.
Energy. A sense of urgency. Music sounds better.
Plus one (+1)
Stronger visual hallucinations. Radiant colours. Objects and surfaces
appear to ripple or breathe. Coloured patterns behind the eyes
are vivid, more active. Moments of reflection and distractive
thought patterns. Thoughts and thinking become enhanced. Creative
urges. Euphoria. Connection with others, empathy. Ability to talk
or interact with others however slightly impaired. Sense of time
distorted or lost. Sexual arousal. "Flight of ideas"
and "ambitious designs". You're tripping.
Plus two (+2)
Very obvious visual effects. Curved or warped patterns. Familiar
objects appear strange as surface details distract the eye. Imagination
and 'mind's eye' images vivid, three dimensional. Geometric patterns
behind closed eyes. Some confusion of the senses.
Distortion rather than
deterioration of mental processes. Some awareness of background
brain functioning: such as balance systems or auditory visual
perception. Deep store memory becomes accessible. Images or experiences
may rise to the fore. Music is powerful and can affect mood. Sense
of time lost. Occasional trance states. Paranoia and distortions
of body image possible.
Physical symtoms may
include: stiffness, cramp, and muscular tension. Nausea, fever,
feeling of illness.
Plus three (+3)
Lying down. Difficult to interact with other people and 'consensus
reality' in general. You should really be somewhere safe.
Very strong hallucinations
such as objects morphing into other objects. Tracers, lingering
after-images, and visual echoes.
Category enscramblement. The barriers between you and the universe
begin to break down. Connection with everything around you. Experiencing
contradictory feelings simultaneously. Some loss of reality. Time
meaningless. Senses blend into one. Sensations of being born.
Multiple splitting of the ego. Powerful awareness of mental processes
and senses. Lengthy trances often featuring highly symbolic, often
mythical visions when eyes are closed. Powerful, and sometimes
brutal psycho-physical reactions described by users as reliving
their own birth. Direct experience of froup or collective consciousness,
ancestral memories, recall of past-lives, and other mystical experiences.
Music extremely powerful,
perhaps overwhelming. Emotionally sensitivity increased (often
massively). Crying or laughing, or both simultaneously.
twisting movements, sweating, chills, hot flushes - all common.
You're out of it.
Plus four (+4)
A very rare experience. Total loss of visual connection with reality.
The senses cease to function in the normal way. Total loss of
self. Transcendental experiences of cosmic unity Merging with
space, other objects, or the universe. Out of body experience.
Ecstasy. "Entity contact". The loss of reality becomes
so severe that it defies explanation. Pure white light. Difficult
to put into words.
The effects begin to be felt between 20 minutes to two hours after
ingestion. The first signs are a sense of euphoria and expectation,
along with a tingling body feeling.
Once started, the effects
usually take between 30-45 minutes to reach their peak.
It is common to feel
some nausea during this stage. It can be reduced by having an
The peak effect lasts from two to five hours. A clear symptom
is rich visual hallucinations. Colours seem more vibrant. Surfaces
may ripple and shimmer. You may notice tiny details on objects.
Music sounds richer and louder.
At the same time, you
may feel blissful, have flashes of insight into yourself or the
world, experience severe time-distortion, or feel yourself dissolving
or see objects merging into one another.
The trip wears off gradually after 8 to 12 hours, although you
may continue to feel tender and altered until you get a full night's
Physically you will feel tired and drained of energy right into
the next day.
insights or feelings you had during your trip will stay with you.
A positive experience can give you a glow lasting hours, days,
or even weeks afterwards. A negative experience - or 'bad trip'
- can leave you traumatised for the same length of time. But it
LSD is remarkably non-toxic,
has no known adverse physical after-effects, other than fatigue
and a lingering sensation of mind-expansion.
However, LSD is a powerful
mental amplifier. If you are feeling depressed, anxious, sick
at the world, at the quality of modern television, at rampant
consumerism, at life in general, do not take LSD
LSD's effects and your
reaction to them are strongly determined by set and setting. Set
is your mindset when taking the drug; setting is where you are.
The LSD effect makes
you enormously sensitive to your environment. You should always
be in a safe, comfortable environment, preferably with a friend
you trust. The higher you fly, the safer must be the landing arrangements.
Many users recommend being outside, in a beautiful setting in
We cannot reinforce
this enough: this is not a drug to be taken arbitrarily.
The most notoriou s peril from taking LSD is the 'bad trip' when
the experience turns frightening and traumatic. You can find out
more about bad trips and how to avoid them on our page here.
Of all psychedelic
drugs, LSD probably has the highest potential for creating bad
trips, thanks to its sheer power and the impossibility of judging
the dose of street LSD. Also, LSD can bring buried and repressed
unconscious material into conscious awareness. This can be traumatic
and frightening if unexpected.
Most people who have
experienced a bad trip do not touch the drug again. Experienced
users and 'hard heads' accept that bad trips as part of the territory.
Street LSD varies massively in quality. Heat, air and light all
degrade LSD and there is no way of telling how much you're getting
on a single blotter.
On average, today's
tabs carry between 40 (low dose) and 150 micrograms of LSD (medium
IMPORTANT: Always wait
at least two hours before deciding the LSD is not working. The
come-up period can take this long. Do not take another tab. You
may well end up in a dimension not of your choosing.
don't do it alone
Tripping alone for the first time is not recommended. An experienced
and trusted friend should either be your tripping partner, or
should abstain and act as a sober sitter or guide to be around
and help you if you get into troubled waters.
Be in a nice
If you're going to trip, please do it in a pleasant and serene
environment. No phone calls. No visitors. Be near to nature or
surround yourself with attractive plants, pictures, fruit, and
other such décor. Have a selection of beautiful music within
reach to enhance the mood and help you relax.
If you are dosing with
friends, ensure you all take the same amount, at the same time,
in full view of everyone else. This will decrease any chance of
paranoia and ensure you are all on the same level.
Flashbacks or the random reliving of aspect of a psychedelic drug
experience are often cited as a common side-effect of hallucinogenic
drugs, especially LSD. Physicians now refer to this as a condition
known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). HPPD
only appears to manifest in a small percentage of (perhaps heavy)
The main symptoms are
persistent 'visuals': trails, geometric shapes, flashes in the
peripheral vision, after-images and halos around objects. It can
last for weeks even years after the drug.
LSD has zero physical
addiction potential. It is not physically addictive and it is
not a drug that you will want to immediately do again.
However, as with many
drugs, users can (and do) become psychologically dependent on
LSD. Its pyrotechnic effects and dazzling high can become a distraction,
perhaps even an escape from reality for some people. It can become
very hard to function in "consensus reality" if you
are taking LSD on a regular basis. That, by the way, is an understatement.
Builds up rapidly with LSD. The same amount the next day gives
a noticeably diminished effect. This wears off after three days
to a week. There is also some cross-tolerance with other drugs
of the same 'tryptamine' chemical family (magic mushrooms, DMT).