What does it look like?
LSD is usually sold as small squares of paper with pictures on them, known as tabs or blotters.
LSD can also be sold as a liquid or as tiny pellets, known as micro dots.
What does it taste/smell like?
Liquid LSD (often called liquid acid) has no taste at all. LSD tabs taste like the paper.
- By swallowing it if it’s a tab or a pellet (micro dot)
- By dropping it onto the tongue if it’s liquid
- By dropping it onto food or into a drink if it’s liquid
LSD stands for its chemical name, lysergic acid diethylamide, and is commonly called acid.
It's a powerful hallucinogenic drug, which means you’re likely to experience a distorted view of objects and reality if you take it. The experience of taking LSD is called tripping.
LSD trips can last several hours and can be very intense. Trips are often described as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on whether the experience was enjoyable or distressing.
When you take LSD, there’s no way of knowing how you might feel or what kind of trip you’re going to go on. And once you start tripping it’s difficult to control the effects.
LSD can also be taken in very small amounts, and this is sometimes called micro-dosing.
How does it make you feel?
For most people, the world appears distorted when they take LSD. Colours, sounds, objects and even time can all seem very strange and disturbing.
Taking LSD can make you feel:
- in awe of the people and things around you
It can also make you:
- see and hear things that aren’t there (hallucinate)
LSD feeds off your imagination so every person’s experience is unique.
How the trip goes will be affected by how much you take, your surroundings, who you’re with and how comfortable you are with them, as well as by your mood.
If you’re in a bad mood, feeling worried or depressed, the LSD might make those feelings worse.
How does it make people behave?
This depends on how much LSD the person has taken. If the person has taken a small dose of LSD you may not even notice they’re on it.
People on LSD might be quieter than usual as they’re so ‘in their heads’. Some people have trouble speaking when they’re on LSD.
People who take larger doses can act unpredictably. They can become fixated on certain things, emotional, paranoid or even aggressive.
How long the effects last and the drug stays in your system depends on how much you’ve taken, your size, whether you’ve eaten and what other drugs you may have also taken.
To kick in
Acid can take from 20 minutes to two hours to take effect, but it really depends on how much the user takes.
If you feel that you’re having, or are going to have, a bad trip, let your friends know and get their help. Go to a nice, quiet spot where you feel safe and can relax.
How long will it be detectable?
LSD will typically show up in a urine sample for 1 to 3 days.
How long a drug can be detected for depends on how much is taken and which testing kit is used. This is only a general guide.
Physical health risks
There’s no evidence to suggest that LSD does any long-term physical damage.
However, people have been known to harm themselves during a bad trip. So people in a bad mood, feeling depressed or worried should avoid taking the drug.
Mental health risks
If you have mental health problems, or a history of mental health problems in your family, taking LSD could make them worse.
If you panic on a trip it can be scary and confusing. A bad trip could be your worst nightmare come to life.
LSD could have serious, longer-term implications for somebody who has a history of mental health problems. It may also be responsible for setting off a mental health problem that had previously gone unnoticed.
Flashbacks, or ongoing visual distortions, can occasionally happen, often causing great distress. Sometimes these experiences are called Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), although very little is known about why some people are vulnerable or how to help them.
What is LSD cut with?
LSD is cheap to produce so it’s not usually cut with other drugs.
But you may hear people talk about pure LSD, good quality LSD and bad quality LSD. This is to do with how the drug is made and whether there were impurities as a result of the production process.
Can you get addicted?
There is no evidence to suggest that LSD is addictive, but you can become tolerant to its effects. This means you need to take more of it to get the same effect as before.
This is a Class A drug, which means it's illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
Possession can get you up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you life in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Like drink-driving, driving when high is dangerous and illegal. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you may receive a heavy fine, driving ban, or prison sentence.
If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a home, club, bar or hostel, they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any other person concerned in the management of the premises.