Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) creates some of the most vivid kaleidoscopic patterns and can make the user taste sound or hear colors. Hallucinations are expected and can last up to a full 12 hours, after which LSD has completely left the bloodstream. The user feels high as their perceptions are altered past what they ever thought their imagination could handle, until a bad trip starts. The bad trip is something that most LSD users want to avoid because the bad trip can produce some of the most disturbing imagery that the individual never thought was even possible. Trips can get so bad that the user will physically injure themselves to remove a bug from their eye or will believe that they are dying from a real heart attack.

Hallucinations feel real when the individual is in them, so when the brain decides to hallucinate a heart attack, all the tactile sensations make the individual genuinely believe that they are having a real heart attack. All of these effects are the illusions of simple brain processes that occur when LSD is ingested and absorbed in the body. LSD is an ergoline and interacts with proteins on the surface of serotonin receptor brain cells. Serotonin acts as a communicator between brain cells. All LSD does is bind the serotonin receptor in a way that creates more action through the Beta-arrestin pathway in the brain than the G-protein pathway, and vivid hallucinations occur.


The serotonin prevents the LSD molecule from leaving because serotonin closes a lid over LSD, which explains why LSD lasts 12 hours. While this is happening, the pre-frontal cortex of the brain is affected, which affects mood, cognition, and perception. All of these normal brain mechanisms are altered and warped by the effects of the LSD molecule. As a result, the user may experience:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Heightened body temperature
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sweating
  • Numbness and weakness
  • Mood swings and impulsivity

Besides all of these side effects, users take LSD for its perceptual effects like seeing things that are not there, intensified sensory experiences of sharper sound, brighter colors, and mixed senses like seeing sounds and hearing colors. Time is also affected, so one hour may feel like three hours. Users get lost in the world created by their mind and if not careful, may unknowingly stumble out of a three-story window.

LSD can lead to other negative effects like panic attacks and major depression. Some LSD users are unable to handle a bad trip and experience full psychosis, for which psychiatric treatment is needed. The big fear of LSD is losing control and unfortunately, the brain is very sensitive while on LSD, so even one negative thought or mood can lead directly to a bad trip. A false death, when the user hallucinates that they were killed, can also occur, which causes the individual to believe that they are actually dead. Some overcome hallucinations like this, while others retain some of the delusions experienced during their trip.

Consider seeking treatment if LSD has affected or impaired your life in a significant manner. Asana Recovery offers detox treatment and therapy for those affected by drug use. They also offer outpatient programs for individuals with busy schedules and in need of a one-time service. Call 949-438-4504 to learn more about their treatment services.