Is LSD an addictive drug? It’s been used for many years recreationally, and has even played a role in therapeutic treatment, but is that use dangerous? In this blog, we’ll explore what you need to know about LSD and whether it has addictive potential.
LSD, also known by its street name, acid, is a hallucinogen that is most commonly sold as small squares of paper, but also as liquid or pellets. It’s tasteless and odorless. The abbreviation LSD comes from Lysergsaure-Diathylamid, the German version of its chemical name.
LSD was discovered by accident in the late 1930s by a man named Albert Hofmann.
Unlike other hallucinogens, such as psilocybin-bearing mushrooms, ayahuasca, and mescaline, LSD is not natural. It is manufactured in a laboratory. Thus, it is a synthetic pharmaceutical, rather than a natural substance. When it is produced, it is a clear crystal. However, to make it ingestible for people, it must be mixed with inactive ingredients or diluted with liquid. LSD has no odor or color, although it does have a slightly bitter flavor.
How and Why Do People Take LSD?
Like many hallucinogens, LSD is most commonly taken in a quiet and controlled environment. However, some people take LSD in place of more expensive party drugs, like ecstasy, at raves, festivals, concerts, and parties. They do this because the drug can alter the way they perceive the world and events around them.
When someone takes LSD, it distorts the world around them. Someone that has just taken LSD may be very in their head and act quieter than usual. Every person’s experience with LSD is unique, as the effects feed off the person’s imagination.
People take LSD in search of what’s called a “good trip”, or a positive experience. A good LSD trip can make a person feel in awe of everything around them, euphoric, and empathetic to other people. It can help people discover the deep interconnection of everything in the world, highlighting relationships that were not obvious before. However, it’s not all about recreational use. LSD is being explored for its use in therapy for the treatment of many health conditions, including:
- Treatment-resistant depression
Wondering if you can get addicted to acid? While the answer is not clear, understanding the many ways that people can take LSD is important. LSD can be taken via:
- Blotter paper (the most common form)
- Gelatin squares (called “window panes”)
- A liquid applied to sugar cubes
- Pure liquid (very potent)
Is LSD an Addictive Drug?
Simply put, there is no evidence that LSD or other hallucinogens are addictive. However, that does not mean that users can take these drugs with impunity. There is no way to tell how concentrated a “hit” of acid is (how concentrated the drug is in any given dose), which means that it is possible to take enough to cause unwanted side effects, including “bad trips”.
How Addictive Is Acid and What Are the Signs of Someone Taking LSD?
Like most other hallucinogens, acid is not considered particularly addictive. However, it is becoming more widely used today, and because it alters behavior and perceptions of the world, it’s important to know the signs that might indicate someone is under the influence of LSD or another similar hallucinogen. These can include the following:
- Hallucinations – the individual may react to things that are not there/that only they can see or hear
- Distortions – someone using LSD may report distortions of shape, color, or sound
- Increased heart rate
- Increased body temperature
- Elevated blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Extreme changes in mood
- Increased blood sugar
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dry mouth
- Panic when sensations “crossover” – it is possible to feel that you are seeing sounds and hearing colors
It’s important to note that while the answer to the question of “is acid addictive” is no, that does not mean that users cannot experience severe side effects. Large doses have been shown to lead to psychosis, and there is always the possibility of dying due to an injury sustained while under the influence of LSD.
What Are the Risks of Taking LSD?
LSD is often considered to be a “safe” drug as there is very little chance of overdosing on it and normal use doesn’t pose any long-term physical damage. That doesn’t mean it’s without risks. It is also not considered an addictive drug.
While most people take LSD hoping for a good trip, bad trips happen as well. A bad trip can bring about terrifying hallucinations, or make the person feel panicked, paranoid, or even aggressive. This can cause the person to act unpredictably and do things they wouldn’t consider doing otherwise, like drive high, start a fight, try to fly, or commit suicide.
Anyone with existing mental health issues is advised against taking LSD, as the drug may exacerbate these issues, both in the short and long term.
Apart from what it does to your mind and body, there are legal risks to taking LSD. It’s listed as an illegal Schedule I drug in the USA, defined as “a drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”.
Is LSD Addictive?
There has been no evidence to show that the drug itself is addictive. Just like any other drug, however, the body builds up a tolerance to it over time, and higher doses are required to achieve the same effect as before.
In fact, the human body often builds a tolerance to LSD faster than most other drugs. After just a few days of repeated use, a user will need a much higher dose to get the same high. However, there is no known “lethal” dose of LSD the way there is with opioids and other pharmaceuticals. With that being said, the risk of dangerous side effects, including psychosis, increase dramatically with larger doses.
Wrapping Up: How Addictive Is Acid?
LSD (acid) is not particularly addictive, at least not the way nicotine, heroin, and similar drugs can be. However, that does not mean that people cannot form habits around the use of this drug, particularly if it is used recreationally. While LSD is not considered addictive, there is always the risk of overuse and unwanted side effects.