LSD, short for D-lysergic acid diethylamide, is a psychedelic drug. It is made from lysergic acid, which comes from the ergot fungus that grows on rye and other grains.
It is one of the most commonly used hallucinogens, and those who use it experience a serious disconnect from reality that can last around 12 hours, also known as a “trip.” They may experience: euphoria; hallucinations; an altered perception of time; space and speed; out-of-body experiences; and synesthesia, where they “see” music or “hear” colors.
LSD also has physical side effects, including:
- Dilated pupils
- Higher or lower body temperature
- Sweating or chills (“goose bumps”)
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
Some people have “bad trips” while on LSD, which can be terrifying for those experiencing them. Symptoms of a “bad trip” on LSD include:
- Rapid mood swings
- Fatal accidents
- Terror that he or she is disintegrating into nothing
LSD is known by many names, including acid, blotter acid, dots, mellow yellow and window pane. It comes in several forms, including pills, capsules and liquid. The liquid is placed on blotted paper and may have cartoon characters on it, earning LSD its other nicknames: Loony Toons.
How LSD Works
Scientists and researchers are still unsure of how the hallucinogenic drugs like LSD work on the brain.
When someone takes LSD, brain regions once segregated talk to one another. Other brain regions that typically form a network will separate while high, creating a strong sentiment of oneness with the world. This loss of personal identity is called “ego dissolution.”
During acid trips, the formerly separate brain networks governing vision, attention, movement and hearing will further intertwine, leading to what looks like a more cohesive brain. At the same time, the communication between other networks – the parahippocampus and the adjacent retrosplenial cortex – break down. The former brain region is responsible for contextual processing and associations, while the latter governs navigation, special mapping and episodic memory.
People who use LSD may have flashbacks or hallucinations long after they taken the drug, sometimes years later. LSD also has a similar structure in the brain that can cause psychosis. This chemical can get lodged into the spinal cord, which can lead to the hallucinogenic episodes long after a person takes the drug.
While LSD can cause some serious damage to the user, recovering from LSD use is, thankfully, very possible.