LSD (acid)

Acid was popular during the 60s, probably before your parents were even born and long before you were even a thought in the universe. But it’s still being used today because of the epic high that it provides. That’s pretty iconic if you ask us. So, we wanted to know what the secrets, and potential pitfalls, are to such a long career. Without further adieu, here’s the tea on acid.

A young, red headed woman is sitting at a desktop. She is researching acid (LSD). This is a wide-angle image.

What is LSD?  

LSD is a strong hallucinogenic chemical that comes in a colourless and odourless liquid. This liquid (acid drug) is usually dripped and dried onto blotter papers and sold as LSD ‘acid tabs’. Sometimes it’s even dripped onto food like sugar cubes and swallowed. In case you were wondering, ‘What does LSD stand for?” It’s short for lysergic acid diethylamide (try saying that five times fast).

How to take acid

One common question is ‘How to take LSD’ 

Well, people usually take LSD in ‘tab’ form a.k.a LSD tabs – small squares of paper that have been soaked in LSD that are placed under the tongue. Some people even drop it onto sugar cubes and then eat them. It can also be made into squares of jelly, known as ‘window panes’. Whatever way you take it, you’re gonna have a pretty interesting (although probably not memorable) night. 

Positive LSD effects  

When the trip goes good, here’s what happens:

  • Everything you see changes – colours shift and morph into one another, objects leave trails as they pass, and patterns are everywhere.
  •  You feel happier and more relaxed.
  • Lots of people hallucinate, or ‘trip’ i.e. see and hear things that aren’t there. This can actually be pretty fun. 
  • Your appreciation of music goes through the roof. Suddenly The Birdie Song is, like, so profound and beautiful…
  • All your sensations are heightened and feel extra special, whether it’s a cool breeze on your skin, or the touch of your hand on your arm.
  • Some people say that they have massive spiritual experiences and therapy-like reflections on their lives.

Negative LSD effects 

Acid drug effects can vary depending on the user, but here are some negative effects that might be coming your way: 

  • It can cause a gut-wrenchingly horrible trip. Since acid is a hallucinogen, it can make you feel scared and confused. You may even have terrifying hallucinations you can’t control – some people felt like they were dying over and over, others believed they were drowned in a bath full of spiders.
  • Once you’re tripping, there’s no going back. You have to ride out a bad trip, which usually takes about 8 to 12 hours.
  • It’s easy to accidentally hurt yourself. Some people get the urge to take a casual stroll along a motorway, others may think their head is full of bees and want to bash it against a wall.
  • LSD is like a psychic, picking up on any underlying mood or emotion you have going on. If you’re going through a tough time mental-health wise, it’ll amplify this.
  • It can make your body temperature soar, turning you into a hot and sweaty mess.
  • Some people who take LSD suffer from ‘flashbacks’ for days, weeks, months and even years afterwards a.k.a persisting perception disorder

How long does LSD last? 

Let’s start with the obvious ‘How long does lsd take to kick in?’ It usually takes between 30 to 90 minutes to start feeling the effects of LSD. Basically, just don’t go guzzling more acid tabs after 5 minutes, be patient and wait a while for the trip to kick in. 

Now onto the inevitable ‘How long does an acid trip last?’ LSD trips can last between 6 and 12 hours. Keep in mind, it takes some people another 2 to 6 hours to ‘feel normal again’ and be able to sleep. Might wanna keep the day after free, that’s all we’re saying. If you’re curious about comedowns, read our article here.

Is LSD dangerous? 

It depends on what you mean by dangerous. But whatever your definition, you definitely need a sober friend to look after you. Just in case you’re hallucinating and attempt to climb out a third-storey window (it genuinely happens). That said, if you can stay safe, there’s no evidence that LSD causes any long term effects or damage.

HUGE disclaimer: This does NOT apply to people with a family history of mental health issues. If you have a history, particularly any history of schizophrenia, psychosis or depression, don’t touch acid with a ten-foot pole… covered in nails… attached to another pole. It can trigger psychotic episodes and make your mental health condition way, way worse.

LSD can also be dangerous for people with addiction, to find out more click here

Can you take LSD on antidepressants? 

No, it’s really, really risky. If you take lithium or tricyclic antidepressants, the combination with LSD can cause seizures. Combining acid with other antidepressants can also hugely increase the effects of the trip, and not in a good way. You may even be unable to communicate, or get dangerously violent.

To find out more about mixing drugs, click here. 

Harm reduction for taking acid tabs 

  • If it’s your first time, take a very small dose as you won’t know how it will affect you. Learn what your tolerance is over time.
  • Always get a sober friend that you trust to stay with you throughout the trip, just in case something goes wrong. If you want to be prepared for being that sober friend, click here
  • LSD sponges off your underlying mood, so only take it if you’re in a good place mentally. Being in environments where you feel safe and relaxed will increase the odds of having a good trip.
  • If you do have a bad trip, get your friend to take you somewhere quiet and safe to ride it out.

What happens if I get caught with LSD? 

We can’t lie, it’s not looking good. It’s a Class A drug, so the maximum sentence is seven years for possession and/or a fine, and a life sentence and/or an unlimited fine for supplying. For more information about what to do if you’re caught with drugs, see our article here.

Next Steps

  • FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice on all things drugs-related. Call now on 0300 123 6600
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.


drugs a-z

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 06-Sep-2021