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Acid Trip: How Long Does It Last, and What Does It Feel Like?

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT

What is Acid?

Acid is a common name for lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), a hallucinogenic substance that affects a person’s mental state for a given period. And the phrase “acid trip” is often used to describe what a person experiences when under the influence of acid. LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that belongs to the hallucinogen class of drugs known as psychedelics. It is derived from a fungus called ergot, which grows on certain grains and has been synthesized for medicinal and recreational use. Most individuals may feel disconnected from their surroundings when under the influence of acid. They may hear sounds and sensations that were not there. The user has no control over how long the effects of this drug last; they might last up to 12 hours.

Embarking on a journey into the world of psychedelics often begins with the enigmatic allure of LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide. Like a key to a doorway of perception, LSD has captivated minds, unlocking realms of consciousness and colors unseen. In this exploration, we peel back the layers of the psychedelic tapestry to reveal the profound effects and intricate dance of the mind induced by LSD.

As we step into the kaleidoscopic landscape of LSD experiences, be prepared to delve into the depths of altered perception, unravel the mysteries of consciousness, and grasp the transformative power that lies within a single blotter of this potent substance. The effects of LSD are not merely visual; they are a symphony of sensations, emotions, and thoughts that intertwine to create a truly extraordinary and, at times, ineffable journey.

Join us as we navigate the realms where reality meets the surreal, where perceptions are reshaped, and where the mind unfurls its wings in the embrace of LSD-induced consciousness. Whether you are a seasoned psychonaut or a curious soul contemplating this uncharted territory, this exploration promises to illuminate the complexities and wonders of the LSD experience. Fasten your seatbelts; the journey into the extraordinary effects of LSD is about to unfold.

Street Names

“LSD,” or lysergic acid diethylamide, is a hallucinogenic drug known by various street names. It’s important to note that the use of street names can vary regionally, and new names may emerge over time. Here are some street names associated with LSD:

  1. Acid: The most common and straightforward street name for LSD.

  2. Lucy: A short form derived from “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” a song by The Beatles that is often associated with the drug.

  3. Tabs: Referring to the small, often square-shaped pieces of blotter paper on which LSD is commonly distributed.

  4. Doses: Another term used to describe individual units or doses of LSD, typically on blotter paper.

  5. Hits: Similar to “doses,” referring to individual doses of LSD.

  6. Blotter: A term referencing the paper, often decorated with colorful designs, that LSD is commonly distributed on.

  7. Trips: Referring to the hallucinogenic experiences or “trips” induced by LSD.

  8. Dots: A term sometimes used to describe small amounts of LSD, often on blotter paper.

  9. Microdots: Referring to small tablets or pellets that may contain LSD.

  10. Windowpane: A term for LSD that comes in a clear, gelatin-like form.

Types of Acid

LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is a hallucinogenic drug that primarily affects the serotonin receptors in the brain. While the chemical structure of LSD remains the same, it may be synthesized and sold in different forms. The main types or forms of LSD include:

  1. Blotter Paper: This is the most common form of LSD. The drug is often applied to absorbent paper, which is then divided into small, individual squares called “tabs,” “hits,” or “dots.” Users typically place the blotter paper on their tongues for absorption.

  2. Liquid LSD: LSD can also be dissolved in liquid form. This may involve dropping the liquid directly onto the tongue or adding it to another substance, such as a sugar cube, before consumption.

  3. Gel Tabs or Windowpane: In some cases, LSD is distributed in the form of gel tabs or as a clear, gelatin-like substance known as “windowpane.” These forms may provide an alternative to traditional blotter paper.

  4. Microdots: Microdots are small tablets or pellets that contain LSD. They are less common than blotter paper but still represent a form of the drug.

  5. Capsules: Rarely, LSD may be found in capsule form. The drug is enclosed in a gelatin or other type of capsule for ingestion.

It’s important to note that the potency and effects of LSD are not inherently influenced by its physical form but rather by the dosage.

Legal Status

The legal status of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) varies around the world. In many countries, LSD is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, which means it is considered to have a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Schedule I substances are typically subject to the strictest regulations and penalties.

Here are some key points regarding the legal status of LSD:

  1. United States: LSD is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Its possession, manufacture, distribution, and use are illegal.

  2. United Kingdom: LSD is classified as a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Possession, production, and distribution are illegal and can result in severe legal penalties.

  3. Canada: LSD is listed as a Schedule III controlled substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Possession, production, and distribution are illegal.

  4. Australia: LSD is classified as a Schedule 9 substance, making it illegal to possess, produce, or distribute. Different states may have variations in penalties.

  5. European Union: LSD is listed as a controlled substance in most European countries. The specific legal status may vary between countries, but it is generally illegal.

It’s crucial to be aware of and comply with the laws regarding controlled substances in your jurisdiction. The illegal possession, distribution, or use of LSD can result in criminal charges, including fines and imprisonment.

What is an Acid Trip?

An acid trip refers to the psychedelic experience induced by the consumption of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), a potent hallucinogenic drug. LSD is known for its ability to profoundly alter perception, mood, and cognitive function. The term “acid trip” is colloquial and is used to describe the unique and often intense effects of an LSD experience. Here are some key aspects of an acid trip:

  1. Onset and Duration: The effects of LSD typically begin within 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion, and the peak experience usually occurs within 2 to 4 hours. The total duration of an acid trip can last 6 to 12 hours or longer, depending on factors such as dosage and individual sensitivity.

  2. Altered Perception: LSD profoundly alters sensory perception, leading to vivid and distorted visual, auditory, and tactile experiences. Colors may appear more vibrant, patterns may warp, and sounds may be more pronounced or distorted.

  3. Intense Emotions: Users often report heightened emotional experiences, ranging from euphoria and intense joy to anxiety and paranoia. Emotional responses can be unpredictable and vary widely among individuals.

  4. Time Distortion: The perception of time can become distorted, with minutes feeling like hours or, conversely, hours passing quickly. This can contribute to a sense of timelessness during the trip.

  5. Hallucinations: LSD can induce hallucinations, which are sensory experiences that are not based on external stimuli. Visual hallucinations, such as seeing geometric patterns or imaginary landscapes, are common.

  6. Ego Dissolution: Some users may experience a phenomenon known as ego dissolution, where the boundaries between the self and the external world become blurred. This can lead to a sense of interconnectedness and unity with the universe.

  7. Profound Insights: Users may report gaining new perspectives or insights into their thoughts, emotions, and the nature of existence. These insights can be profound and philosophical.

  8. Variable Experiences: The effects of an acid trip can vary widely from person to person and even from one trip to another. Factors such as dosage, individual mindset, and the environment play significant roles in shaping the experience.

It’s important to note that while some individuals may have positive and transformative experiences on LSD, others may encounter challenging or distressing situations, commonly referred to as a “bad trip.” LSD use carries inherent risks, and individuals should approach it with caution and in environments where they feel safe and supported.

The Onset

The onset of the effects of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) can vary from person to person and is influenced by factors such as the individual’s metabolism, the form of LSD consumed, and whether the stomach is empty or full. Generally, the effects of LSD begin to be felt within 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingestion, with the average onset occurring around 60 minutes. Here is a general timeline:

  1. Initial Effects (30 minutes to 1 hour): Some individuals may start to feel subtle changes in mood, perception, and sensory experiences within the first 30 minutes to an hour after taking LSD.

  2. Onset and Buildup (1 to 2 hours): The effects of LSD typically intensify during the first two hours after ingestion. Users may begin to experience altered perception, enhanced colors, changes in thought patterns, and a sense of euphoria. This period is often referred to as the “come-up.”

  3. Peak (2 to 4 hours): The peak of the LSD experience usually occurs around 2 to 4 hours after ingestion. This is when users are likely to experience the most intense hallucinogenic effects, such as vivid visual distortions, altered time perception, and a heightened sense of awareness.

  4. Plateau (4 to 6 hours): After reaching the peak, the effects generally plateau and remain relatively stable for a few hours. Users may continue to experience altered perception, introspective thoughts, and a sense of interconnectedness.

  5. Tapering Off (6 to 12 hours or more): The effects of LSD gradually taper off over the next several hours, and users may start to return to baseline consciousness. The overall duration of an LSD trip can last 6 to 12 hours or longer, depending on the individual and the dosage.

It’s important to note that individual responses to LSD can vary, and the experience can be influenced by factors such as the user’s mental state, environment, and the presence of any pre-existing mental health conditions.

What Does an Acid Trip Feel Like?

The symptoms of an acid trip might begin anywhere between 20 and 90 minutes after intake. The trip may take 10 to 12 hours, but the length of the medication’s effect is determined by various variables, including the dosage, the patient, and the medicine’s quality. Acid’s effects vary widely from person to person and even within the same individual. As a result, there is no generally true way to express the sensations one has during an acid trip. However, several investigations have demonstrated that an acid trip may result in any of the following:

Visual Distortions

Some individuals claim to be able to see colors far more vividly than others. Dazzling halo effects or patterns that revolve around them may attract their attention. Massive things can seem much smaller than they are, and vice versa. Even inanimate things might seem to move at times.

Hallucinations

During an acid trip, a person’s senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, or scent may lead them astray and cause them to perceive something that isn’t there. It might be difficult to distinguish between hallucinations and reality at times. These hallucinations might generate relaxing, comfortable sensations but also induce negative feelings.

Mood Swings

A person may feel an intense connection to and affection for other people or things. Conversely, they may become fearful, paranoid, or angry at others. These feelings may shift rapidly, causing intense mood swings.

Physical Changes

During the acid trip, people may have an increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and profuse sweating. There is also often a total absence of hunger for the duration of the trip.

The Comedown

The comedown is the period following the wearing off of the initial high. Coming down from an acid trip may have various severe emotional consequences. The individual may likely desire to find another way to recreate their exhilaration and pleasure while high. This may encourage some individuals to seek short-term gratification via gambling, retail therapy, or dining out.

A person experiencing a comedown should attempt to relax and sip caffeine-free drinks. Dehydration may occur due to increased sweat and body warmth caused by an acid trip. As a result, rehydrating after an acid trip is critical.

The Afterglow

Some individuals experience an “afterglow” effect long after the comedown has started. The lack of hallucinations or mood swings does not rule out the possibility of experiencing more enjoyment than is customary for the person.

It’s conceivable that your good mood may endure for many weeks. This has encouraged research on the effectiveness of psychedelics such as LSD as depression therapies. While some individuals may have a positive aftereffect after a good trip, this is not guaranteed for everyone.

First Trip

When people use acid for the first time, they may be oblivious to what to anticipate. Some people may be scared or apprehensive about this, while others may be excited. A user’s innermost feelings are likely to influence their acid trip. Some persons with anxiety or stress difficulties may discover that being on an acid trip worsens their symptoms. Those who can balance excitement and relaxation while on a trip are more likely to enjoy themselves. But it’s hard to predict how things will turn out before they happen.

A Bad Trip

Contrary to a good trip, a bad trip describes when someone consumes acid and has a horrible experience. They may have hallucinations, which heighten their anxiety, panic, suicidal thoughts, or fear of death. A bad trip may cause a person’s vision of the world to become warped, resulting in paranoia and, in extreme cases, violent outbursts.

Those who have seen or experienced the impacts of mental diseases such as schizophrenia or psychosis in their family or themselves should avoid using acid. A bad trip with long-term unpleasant consequences, such as flashbacks, may be more prevalent in those with certain genetic predispositions.

Some trips might start as good trips but quickly devolve into bad ones. That’s why bringing along a reliable friend who won’t ditch you halfway through your acid trip is a good idea.

Risks and Side Effects of Acid Trip

The use of acid may result in arrest, prosecution, and the development of a criminal record since it is a controlled substance. Furthermore, since it is unlawful, the government has no control over its security or strength. It may be hard to determine a person’s dosage with exact confidence.

The user may be unaware that the acid contains additional medications such as opioids or hallucinogens and potentially dangerous impurities. Depending on the strength of the medicine, the patient may get a higher or lower dose than intended.

When under the influence of acid, it is normal for people to shut out the world around them. They might have a drastically warped vision of the world and endanger themselves or others. For example, a person may not see that they are about to cross a busy street or are precariously leaning out of a second-story window.

Even though tolerance to acid may develop, the chemical itself is not physiologically addictive. And with tolerance, the more a person uses, the fewer effects they feel. So, to get the same “high,” a higher dose of the medication may be necessary, which might be harmful.

Also,  hallucinogen usage has been linked to a state known as hallucinogen-induced persistent psychosis (HPPD). After using acid, HPPD may cause visual flashbacks, the impression of moving objects, and “halos” of light, all illusions created by the human eye when none exist.

Side Effects

The use of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) can lead to a range of effects, both desirable and undesirable. While some individuals may have positive and transformative experiences, others may encounter challenging or distressing situations. It’s important to note that individual responses can vary widely, and the effects of LSD depend on factors such as dosage, individual sensitivity, mental state, and the environment. Here are some common side effects and experiences associated with LSD use:

  1. Visual Distortions: LSD is known for inducing vivid visual distortions, including enhanced colors, patterns, and geometric shapes. Objects may appear to breathe, warp, or morph.

  2. Altered Perception of Time: Users often report a distorted sense of time, with minutes feeling like hours or hours passing quickly.

  3. Euphoria and Intense Emotions: LSD can induce a sense of euphoria and heightened emotional experiences. Users may feel intense joy, love, or wonder.

  4. Enhanced Creativity: Some individuals report increased creativity and a heightened appreciation for art, music, and the surrounding environment.

  5. Introspective Thoughts: LSD may lead to deep introspection and profound thoughts about oneself, life, and existence.

  6. Ego Dissolution: In some cases, users may experience a loss of the sense of self, known as ego dissolution. This can lead to a feeling of interconnectedness with the universe.

  7. Anxiety or Paranoia: On the flip side, LSD can also induce anxiety, paranoia, or feelings of unease. This is more likely to occur in high-stress environments or during what is commonly referred to as a “bad trip.”

  8. Hallucinations: Visual and auditory hallucinations are common, ranging from seeing patterns and colors to hearing sounds that are not present.

  9. Physical Effects: LSD can cause physical sensations such as increased heart rate, dilated pupils, changes in body temperature, and muscle tension.

  10. Difficulty Concentrating: Users may find it challenging to concentrate or focus on tasks during the peak of the experience.

  11. Sleep Disturbances: LSD can interfere with normal sleep patterns, leading to difficulty sleeping during and after the trip.

It’s crucial to emphasize that LSD use carries inherent risks, and its effects can be unpredictable. In some cases, individuals may experience persistent psychological effects known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).

Is Acid Addictive?

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is not considered physically addictive in the same way that substances like opioids or nicotine are. Users do not typically develop a physical dependence on LSD, and there is no evidence to suggest that regular use leads to cravings or withdrawal symptoms.

However, it’s important to note that LSD can be psychologically habit-forming for some individuals. This means that while users may not experience physical withdrawal symptoms, they might develop a psychological dependence on the drug. Factors contributing to psychological dependence can include:

  1. Escapism: Some individuals may use LSD as a means of escaping from reality or coping with stressors, leading to a pattern of repeated use.

  2. Desire for Altered States: The desire to experience the unique and altered states of consciousness induced by LSD might lead some individuals to use the substance more frequently than initially intended.

  3. Recreational Use: For those who use LSD recreationally, the enjoyment of the psychedelic experience could contribute to repeated use.

It’s important to approach LSD use with caution, as it can have unpredictable effects and poses certain risks.

The Way Forward

While a bad trip may be devastating, a good trip can offer you immeasurable joy. However, there is no way of knowing if someone who has already used acid will have a good or bad experience the next time they try it.

Acid does not pose the same risks to the body as other opioids. On the other hand, people who are more prone to mental illness may discover that trip negatively impacts their mental health. If you are struggling to quit acid use, it is best to seek professional help.

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