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LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is the most widely used hallucinogenic drug. Hallucinogenic drugs cause a person to see vivid images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but are not. LSD is also called acid, blotter, or dots. It is odorless and colorless and has a slightly bitter taste. It can be obtained as a colored tablet, clear liquid, or thin square of gelatin (window panes) or on blotter paper. Most often, LSD is licked off blotter paper or taken by mouth. But the gelatin and liquid forms can be put in the eyes.
The effects of LSD are unpredictable and depend on the amount taken; the person's personality, mood, and expectation; and the situation in which the drug is used. Effects are usually felt within 30 to 40 minutes after taking the drug. The LSD experience is often called a "trip" and can last up to 12 hours.
A "bad trip" may contain terrifying thoughts, feelings, and fears. Also, LSD can cause flashbacks, in which the person suddenly relives certain aspects of the experience without having taken the drug. Flashbacks may occur a few days or more than a year after use of LSD.
Serious psychiatric conditions can develop after even one use of LSD. The cause of these effects is not known. The effects include:
LSD is not considered an addicting drug. But it does require increasingly higher amounts to obtain the same effect (tolerance).
LSD is typically out of a person's system within 24 hours, and standard drug screens (toxicology tests) are not able to detect it. But special laboratory tests can be used to detect LSD in the blood.
It is difficult to detect LSD use. Things that point to LSD use may include:
Primary Medical Reviewer Patrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Michael F. Bierer, MD - Internal Medicine
Current as ofOctober 9, 2017
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