04 September 2009

LSD basics

LSD is one of the most commonly used 'psychedelic' or 'hallucinogenic' substance. It comes in a variety of forms, but is virtually always taken orally.

Original article by

LSD is one of the most commonly used 'psychedelic' or 'hallucinogenic' substance. It comes in a variety of forms, but is virtually always taken orally. Today, LSD is most commonly found in the form of small squares of paper called blotter (full sheets of paper are decorated with artwork or designs, perforated, then soaked in liquid LSD solution and dried). Other forms include, pills, gelatin sheets or shapes (pyramids, cubes, etc), liquid, liquid sugar cubes, and powder. Blotter is most common because it is easily produced, easily concealable and the format allows for few adulterant chemicals.

A standard dose of LSD for the past 20 years has been between 50 - 150 ug (micrograms). A single hit of most blotter paper contains somewhere in this range, though this varies depending on the source and there is no way for the average user to determine the strength of a piece of blotter other than by word of mouth. In the 60's and 70's, when LSD came primarily in pill form, the average single dosage unit was somewhat higher than it is with today's blotter, more often in the 200-400 ug range. A drop of liquid can contain a huge amount of LSD but is generally made so that one drop is a single medium dose.

d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a synthetic chemical derived from ergot alkaloids which are produced by the ergot fungus which grows on rye.

LSD requires an experienced organic chemist to produce. All useful synthesis methods begin with Lysergic Acid which is schudule III. It is produced in crystal form, primarily by a small number of knowledgeable chemists in fully equipped laboratories.

LSD was first synthesised in 1938 and discovered to be psychoactive in 1943. It became popular in the '60's and has been available on the black market since then.

The Substance:LSD (Lyserg-Saeure-Diaethylamid in German); Acid; Cid; L; Blotter (on paper); Tabs (on paper); LAD; Doses; Trips; Microdots (small tablets).
The Experience:Tripping; Flying; Frying.

In the beginning stages of onset, LSD is likely to cause a sort of undefineably feeling similar to anticipation or anxiety. There is often a slight feeling of energy in the body, an extra twinkle to lights, or the feeling that things are somehow different than usual. As the effects become stronger, a wide variety of perceptual changes may occur; non-specific mental and physical stimulation, pupil dilation, closed and open eye patterning and visuals, changed thought patterns, feelings of insight, confusion, or paranoia, and quickly changing emotions (happiness, fear, gidiness, anxiety, anger, joy, irritation).

Depending on how much and how recently one has eaten, LSD generally takes 20 - 60 minutes (though sometimes as long as two hours) to take effect.

The primary effects of LSD last for six to eight hours. For many people there is an additional period of time (two to six hours) where it is difficult to go to sleep and there is definitely a noticeable difference from everyday reality, but which is not strong enough to be considered 'tripping'.

LSD can precipitate strong, temporary changes in an individual's experience of life and reality. Even in low doses, it is a powerful psychoactive that can be significantly affected by experiences, set and setting. Recent experiences, especially strong ones, can have a substantial effect on a trip. Physically or psychologically unsettling events in the days before an LSD trip can blossom into more serious distress and trauma while tripping.

It is important to be prepared for the possibility of encountering difficult or frightening mental states. There are many ways of minimizing possible dangers and trauma: by making sure to have others around for first time or high dose experiences, choosing carefully when and where to use a substance, taking a little time to prepare mentally for an experience with LSD by relaxing, having an intent for the experience, or by incorporating comforting and calming ritual into the preparation (clean the house, adjust the lighting, choose music that will go with the sort of experience you're looking for,etc) Using a 'sitter', a sober friend who's job it is to watch out for you while you're tripping can go a long way toward easing anxiety and ensuring that someone will be able to deal with any situation that might arise. It's amazing how confusing a ringing phone or a cop at the door can be if you're on LSD.


  • Do not operate heavy machinery. Do not drive.
  • Individuals currently in the midst of emotional or psychological upheaval in their everyday lives should be careful about choosing to use strong psychedelics such as LSD as they can trigger even more difficulty.
  • Individuals with a family history of schizophrenia or early onset mental illness should be extremely careful because LSD is known to trigger latent psychological and mental problems.
  • LSD can cause uterine contractions and is probably better avoided by women who are pregnant.

Addiction potential
LSD is not physically addicting, and is quite unlikely to lead to psychological addiction in most people. Withdrawal effects following discontinuation have not been reported. As with most substances, a few people have reported becoming mentally habituated to LSD. There is a short period of tolerance after use. Using LSD two days in a row is likely to lead to a diminished experience the second day, though spaced three or more days apart, this effect is nearly non-existent.

- Article used with the permission of Originally created 24 January 2000, last modified 26 January 2009.

Erowid caution and disclaimer

This Erowid article is a summary of data gathered from Erowid site visitors, government documents, books, websites, and other resources. As this field is complex and constantly changing, information should always be verified through additional sources.


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