LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a hallucinogen similar to drugs like psilocybin, mescaline, and PCP. LSD use produces very vivid visual hallucinations, alterations of mood, and may produce a sense of wellbeing or euphoria. In some users, it may also produce anxiety and hopelessness. Hallucinogens are a diverse group of drugs that alter a person’s awareness of their surroundings as well as their own thoughts and feelings.
How Does It Affect Your System?
Research suggests that classic hallucinogens work at least partially by temporarily disrupting communication between brain chemical systems throughout the brain and spinal cord. They are commonly split into two categories: classic hallucinogens (such as LSD) and dissociative drugs (such as PCP). Both types of hallucinogens can cause hallucinations, or sensations and images that seem real though they are not. Additionally, dissociative drugs can cause users to feel out of control or disconnected from their body and environment.
What Are The Symptoms & Risk
Some hallucinogens interfere with the action of the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates:
intestinal muscle control
Dissociative hallucinogenic drugs interfere with the action of the brain chemical glutamate, which regulates:
responses to the environment
learning and memory
Classic hallucinogens can cause users to see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist. The effects generally begin within 20 to 90 minutes and can last as long as 12 hours in some cases (LSD) or as short as 15 minutes in others (synthetic DMT). Hallucinogen users refer to the experiences brought on by these drugs as “trips.” If the experience is unpleasant, users sometimes call it a “bad trip.” Along with hallucinations, other short-term general effects include:
increased heart rate
intensified feelings and sensory experiences (such as seeing brighter colors)
changes in sense of time (for example, the feeling that time is passing by slowly)
increased blood pressure, breathing rate, or body temperature
loss of appetite
feelings of relaxation
paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
psychosis—disordered thinking detached from reality
Persistent Psychosis—a series of continuing mental problems, including:
Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)—recurrences of certain drug experiences, such as hallucinations or other visual disturbances. These flashbacks often happen without warning and may occur within a few days or more than a year after drug use. These symptoms are sometimes mistaken for other disorders, such as stroke or a brain tumor.
Both conditions are seen more often in people who have a history of mental illness, but they can happen to anyone, even after using hallucinogens one time.
Detoxing Symptoms (Withdrawl)
People who use LSD regularly may develop tolerance; however, there are no recorded cases of LSD withdrawal. There are few, if any, recorded instances of individuals exhibiting behaviors consistent with addiction to drugs like alcohol and cocaine. Some people who use LSD for longer periods of time may experience symptoms of malaise or dissociation upon discontinuation, but there is no withdrawal profile for this drug that is recognized.