What is LSD?

In Slovakia, LSD is an illegal drug that belongs to the group of drugs with hallucinogenic effects. It acts in the central nervous system (CNS) and binds mainly to serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline receptors in the brain, where it acts as an agonist (activates occupied receptors). LSD causes hallucinations through serotonergic (serotonin-related) agonism, changes in muscle movement through dopaminergic agonism, and through norepinephrine affects appetite, heart rate, and blood pressure. It is due to its action on several types of receptors that LSD has a wide range of effects. LSD does not cause physical or mental addiction, but it can cause the urge to use the drug repeatedly.

What are the effects of LSD?

LSD has a wide range of possible effects, so we divide them into categories. Before we deal with them, we need to realize how a drug-triggered “reality perception” works. There are claims that in a sober state we do not perceive the world as it really is, and we will see the truth only after the use of psychoactive substances. However, a lot of research suggests that objective reality is always beyond our perception, and we grasp it only on the basis of the sum of the physical and mental states in which we find ourselves. This means that whether or not we are under the effect of drugs, we always perceive reality subjectively. This remark is important because people often believe in LSD experiences due to increased forcefulness, which can lead to unwanted personal injury (for example, because of the belief that our body is not material and nothing will happen to us if we jump into the fire), or long-term beliefs persisting even after the effects of the drug have worn off, which can lead to the development of psychoses. On the other hand, LSD can help us overcome various forms of addiction, self-perception problems, or other negative beliefs, but this is proven in research where LSD is used during assisted psychotherapy and under the supervision of a specialist. So, it’s up to you what beliefs you replace with beliefs influenced by LSD, and what you don’t, because this mechanism is not bad or good at all costs.

Visual effects:

  • Transformations of objects (changing their shape or growth), sharpening vision, more vivid colors, creating textured surfaces and finding patterns, distorting objects (melting, breathing, hovering, haze), color changes, leaving marks, palinopsia (“after- image”), dividing the scenery into parts and shifting them. It is also common to observe colorful and moving geometric shapes that change.
  • At high doses, there are also internal (behind closed eyes) and external (around you) hallucinations similar to DMT: autonomous beings, immersion in “own reality”, revitalization of objects (doors open and close themselves, the sun passes over the sky and sets in seconds), out-of-the-body experience or various complex sceneries. It is also possible to see “mechanical scenaries”, which consist of moving changing machines and mechanisms, or even numbers.

Physical effects:

  • LSD usually has a mild arousal effect, but at higher doses the intensity of the effects is stronger and you may feel directly “nailed” to the place. Feelings of tickling, spontaneous sensations in various parts of the body, feelings of “breaking”, physical euphoria, pleasant touches on the body, feelings of lightness, improvement of tactile sensations, enlarged pupils, increased salivation are common.
  • Undesirable effects include impaired thermoregulation, nausea, appetite suppression, dehydration, difficulty urinating, increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased sweating, cramps, gnashing of teeth, constricted throat. Seizures are also a rare side effect, the chances of which increase with predispositions, dehydration, malnutrition, fever and fatigue.

Cognitive effects:

  • By binding to receptors in the brain, LSD affects blood supply to the brain, electrical activity, and temporarily alters existing patterns of communication channels – creating direct communication between areas in the brain that do not normally communicate with each other, and conversely, other common channels have limited communication.
  • These changes include frequent improvements in analytical skills (analysis in new ways), altered conceptual thinking, cognitive euphoria, enhanced introspection, suppression of personal bias in analysis, improved creativity, immersion in the moment, enhanced empathy, increased libido, enjoyment of music, laughter, suppression of memories (at higher doses also “ego death” – loss of the concept of self), connection and acceleration of thoughts.
  • As cognitive effects we can also consider transpersonal effects such as strong spiritual experiences, feelings of unity and connection with the living and the non-living, experiences of “eye opening” (sudden awareness of “answers” to various existential questions).
  • Unwanted effects include anxiety and paranoia (“bad trip” occurs when much of the trip is carried at the level of unwanted effects and it is not possible to get rid of them), delusions, uncontrollable streams of thoughts, looping in the thought, increased suggestibility (reduced suggestion) ability not to believe false things), loss of time, inability to sleep for more than 10 hours after use.

Hearing effects:

  • The most common effects are improvement of the perception of the things we hear, but not in a way that makes our hearing more accurate, but what we hear is more interesting or more beautiful. However, distortions of sound perceptions or sound hallucinations are also common.
  • Synesthesia is also a very rare effect, i.e. the ability to perceive a perception with other perception than usual (to feel the taste of sound, to see music, to hear a smell, etc.).

If you do not take LSD, you will avoid all risks.

How do I reduce the risks associated with use?

LSD can be used in the form of liquid solutions, tablets, powder, gel, but the most common are papers on which LSD is dripped in the form of a liquid solution. We will only deal with “papers” that are placed under the tongue for 20 minutes. After this time, you can spit them out, because the drug has already been absorbed and you can only feel sick from the swallowed cellulose. However, we must warn you that what gets into your hands is often not LSD, but some derivative, such as the most commonly used 1P-LSD. Derivatives usually have a very similar effect and duration. Despite their availability, derivatives are less studied than LSD, but it is generally true that after metabolism, the bioavailability (unchanged substance content) of LSD is almost 100%, but the difference is that their effect is shorter. Qualitatively, the subjective effects of derivatives and LSD are very difficult to distinguish.

Typical dosage ranges from 25 micrograms (µg) to 300 µg. For the first time, do take more than 100 µg, because the experience of the drug is radically different from normal experience and cannot be controlled very well, so it is best to get acquainted with the drug gradually. Doses higher than 300 µg are also not recommended, as the desired effects will increase, but this gain will never match the power of potentially bad effects, which can be really scary and uncontrollable. The effects of LSD start after 15-90 minutes, and last 8-12 hours, but they can also last longer. The journeys usually last 12-48 hours.

With each new batch of papers, firstly use only one to test its strength and effects. Temporary tolerance builds up immediately after taking LSD, and your body does not know how to metabolize the substance, so LSD cannot work and therefore repeated use during one session is unnecessary. This tolerance decreases for 2 weeks. There are no recommendations for intervals between uses, but it is recommended to adhere to intervals of at least two months in order to avoid the creation of long-term tolerance.

During the influence of LSD, you have a very limited ability to make good judgments and to avoid dangers responsibly. You can also believe in various delusions that can endanger your health. You also risk a “bad trip”, an intense negative experience accompanied by paranoia and anxiety. You will reduce the risk of these unwanted effects if you have the right “set and setting”, i.e. mental state and environment. It is usually important not to experience a stressful, depressed or otherwise negative period, not to experience the fear of drug use, and to be in a place that is safe. A safe environment is ideally a familiar apartment or house where you will not be disturbed by strangers, you will have access to the toilet, food and water, and the ability to regulate the temperature. You will not be endangered by cars or the weather. It is important to prepare the environment in advance so that it does not contain dangerous objects – open fire, sharp objects, larger areas of water (swimming pool). You can turn off the gas, pull the stove out of the electricity, hide the knives in the locker, cover the pool and so on. We recommend avoiding the first use of LSD at festivals, clubs, in the city or in the woods, especially never alone! It is best to always have a “trip-sitter” with you, i.e. a sober person who ideally has experience with LSD, but most of all he/she is trusted to help you in a crisis situation and his/her behavior will not cause you unwanted mental states. It also doesn’t hurt if your trip-sitter knows the basics of first aid. Recommendations for trip-sitters will be addressed in another article. If you are experiencing a bad trip and moving to a quiet, safe and peaceful environment has not helped, you can use sedatives such as bromazepam (Lexaurin), which neutralize the effects of LSD. However, never take more than one tablet. Alprazolam (Xanax) does not have this effect and may make your trip worse. Always keep in mind that a bad trip is caused by a drug and therefore disappears when the drug gets out of the body, but that does not mean that you have to try to vomit the drug, because it will not help you. You just have to wait in a safe place with someone to take care of you. In the event of severe hallucinations and/or life-threatening situations call 112. Do not be afraid, drug use is not a criminal offense.

If you or someone in your family has schizophrenia, experience with psychotic episodes, or other mental illnesses, be sure to avoid using it, because using LSD can trigger e.g. latent psychosis (does not disappear after use), mania, or previously absent schizophrenia. LSD tends to cause “flashbacks”, i.e. short, weaker returns to the effects of LSD long after use, even months or years. Flashback is mostly accompanied by visual hallucinations and it is best not to panic during it, just to sit somewhere in a quiet place and wait until it disappears, which can be a pleasant but also an unpleasant experience.

Combination of LSD and other psychoactive substances – what to avoid?

Never use LSD with tricyclic antidepressants because their interaction increases the risk of bad trip and psychosis. Combination with lithium can cause psychosis and seizures. Avoid combinations with stimulants (2C-x, cocaine, caffeine, MXE, MDMA, PCP, NBOM), as they gently enhance the euphoric effects of LSD, but increase the risk of paranoia, cycle of thoughts, psychosis or mania. Sedatives (alcohol, GHB, ketamine) attenuate the effects of LSD and impair motor skills and judgment. Combination with other psychedelics (marijuana, mouthpieces) is not recommended, as their interaction with LSD causes anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks and unpleasant cycle of thoughts, they also prolong the duration of LSD (but you do not want a longer bad trip).

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We do not support the use of any drugs. The information on the article tries to minimize the risks associated with drug use. Taking any substance can lead to serious health and other problems. With the published information, we try to minimaze the negative effects of drug use on health and life. Avoid drug use if possible. This will prevent the problem and the risk of drug addiction. Visit the help section and seek professional help.

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