In North America, more than 30 million people use psychedelics.
Psychedelic drugs change a user’s experience of the visual and auditory. They are said to be “trippy” due to an “altered state of consciousness”.
One of the most well known psychedelic drugs is LSD. Keep reading to take a look at the history of LSD including who uses it, why, and how.
You may also be wondering how this hallucinogenic affects the people who use it. Let’s get going so you can learn everything you need to know about LSD.
What Is LSD?
LSD is a potent mood-changing drug and is produced illegally in labs to create a crystal form, mainly in the United States.
LSD disrupts nerve cells and serotonin in the brain. As a result, most people will experience hallucinations and a complete distortion of reality.
LSD is a semi-synthetic psychedelic drug which is made from lysergic acid. This acid is found in ergot fungus which grows on grains such as rye.
It is a Class A drug and being in possession of the drug or supplying it to others can result in a prison sentence or a hefty fine.
How Is It Taken?
This drug is often sold on small pieces of paper. Buyers will receive a small square called a “tab” which will usually have an image on it.
But, it may also be sold as a pellet or liquid. It doesn’t take much of the drug to get a reaction, as the original discoverer, Albert Hofmann, himself learned.
People ingest the drug orally and it doesn’t have a taste. Rather, users will taste whatever it is sold as; for example, the paper or liquid.
Who Takes It?
The drug first became popular in the 60s due to a “counterculture” which had the aim of escaping societal problems. As a result, LSD was used widely in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the rest of Europe.
The drug was banned in 1967. In the 70s, 9.5 percent to 11.3 percent of students in the USA were using LSD. But, there was a resurgence of LSD use in the 90s according to a survey which found that “lifetime use” of LSD was 13.6 percent.
In the past few years, research in Europe has predicted around 4.2 percent of those people between the ages of 15 and 24 have taken the drug at least once.
But, Vice recently found young people are not “more into class A drugs” than we thought. Prevalence of use of LSD in the UK is higher than it’s been in 12 years.
LSD is predominantly taken by young people who want to increase their experience of nightclubs, parties, and music or art festivals.
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A Brief History of LSD
LSD was first synthesized in 1938 by a Swiss chemist working for a pharmaceutical company, working to find a blood stimulant. The chemist, Albert Hofmann, learned of the hallucinogenic effects of the drug after “accidentally” ingesting some in 1943.
Over the next three decades, the drug was experimented with due to how similar it was to a chemical in the brain.
But, no medical use for the drug was found. A recreational one was, though, and there was plenty to go around as Sandoz Pharmaceuticals had been providing free samples of it.
While there was a rise in popularity of the drug in the West, in 1951, the United States was also experimenting on how the drug could be used to control enemies. Finally, in 1967, it was banned completely.
Consequences of LSD Use
After taking LSD, users will begin “tripping”. Users will describe the experience as either a “good trip” or a “bad trip”.
A trip will last for a few hours and effects are extremely intense. As the drug feeds off a user’s imagination, you can’t know whether you’ll be living a euphoric experience or your personal living hell.
Effects on the Mind and Body
LSD can make you feel a huge range of emotions from euphoric and in awe of the world to frightened and extremely anxious.
If only a small dose has been taken, a user may appear to act normal and simply quieter than normal. This is because everything is going on inside their head.
However, if a user has taken a large dose, you may find they become aggressive or very emotional.
The drug affects the body as users may find it difficult to speak. LSD will show up in a user’s urine for up to three days after use.
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Short-Term Health Effects
As with all drugs, there are associated risks when using the drug. For LSD, short-term risks include:
- Self-harm; those feeling emotional or depressed should avoid this drug at all costs
- Worsening of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- Tolerance development leading to further or harder drug use and addiction
- High-blood pressure
- Fear and tremors
- Sweating and a dry mouth
Long-Term Health Effects
But, for LSD, it’s often said there are no long-term physical risks. However, it can cause long-term mental health issues. A few long-term risks include:
- Delusional or erratic behavior
- Preoccupation with sourcing the drug
- Extreme or worsening depression or anxiety
- Lack of motivation in everyday life
- Suicidal thoughts
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these short or long-term effects, there is help available for you. Our Addiction Treatment Services specialist will make sure you don’t face this challenge alone.
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Using LSD With Other Drugs
It is extremely dangerous to mix LSD with other drugs. Users will not know the “safe” levels of drugs to mix, which could result in an overdose.
Which Drugs Are Commonly Used With LSD?
Users often mix LSD with a range of drugs. One such example is amphetamines, such as ADHD medications. This is often known as “college-flipping” as a user will experience hallucinations while feeling stimulated.
Users will feel paranoid and anxious and can increase their heart rate, leading to a cardiac arrest in the worst cases.
People may also drink alcohol while taking the drug. However, this will usually dull the effects of LSD.
Treating LSD Addiction
Drugs and alcohol can cause anxiety, panic, and can cause people to distance themselves. No one should have to suffer alone.
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