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Health Effects of LSD Use

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a hallucinogen that people may use to experience its psychedelic effects. LSD is commonly known as acid and, depending on the form of the drug, has historically been referred to by names such as microdot and windowpane. 2 street title LSD can distort a person’s perception, mood, and cognition, and can cause one to vividly experience colors and other visual stimuli.1

Side Effects & Health Risks of LSD

Though the potential for addiction is low with classic hallucinogens like LSD, its use may be associated with certain adverse effects.1

Some potential side effects and risks of LSD use include:1, 2

  • Headaches.
  • Anxiety and Fear.
  • Sleeplessness.
  • Dry Mouth.
  • Nausea.
  • Sweatiness.
  • Tremors.

The distorted perceptual experiences that people who misuse LSD have may also sometimes result in injuries. 1 This can be a safety issue, as people don’t often understand the full consequences of what they’re doing, which can be risky. 1

Effects of LSD on the Body

LSD use is associated with several physiological responses. In addition to the effects listed in the previous section, psychedelics like LSD can have effects on the body such as:3

  • Increased pupil size.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Increased body temperature.
  • Increased plasma cortisol, epinephrine, oxytocin, and prolactin.

Effects of LSD on the Brain

LSD and other psychedelic drugs affect your brain in different ways. Classic hallucinogens like LSD interact with the 5-HT2A receptors in your brain, which are important for neurochemical signaling involving the serotonin neurotransmitter. 1 The psychedelic effects of LSD and similar drugs are thought to result from altered brain activity in the prefrontal cortex—a brain region involved in sensory perception, mood, and cognition. 1

LSD use can result in temporary changes in mental state, including: 1

  • Intense emotions.
  • Debilitating fear or anxiety.
  • Confusion.
  • Intense happiness.
  • Feelings of connectedness.
  • Reliving vivid memories.
  • Seeing vibrant shapes or colors.

HHallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)

Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) is a condition that can occur after LSD use. 4 HPPD is a rare condition in which someone may experience the same perceptual distortions, flashbacks, or visual hallucinations when sober that they did while they were intoxicated. 4

People with this condition may experience disruptions in social and occupational areas of their lives. 4 Though HPPD has been described to arise in connection with the use of other types of hallucinogens, it is most frequently reported in association with LSD use. 4

Start Your Journey to Recovery

If you need help with quitting LSD or you believe you have a hallucinogen use disorder, there is help available. Your doctor can guide you through steps to take to obtain treatment. If you need help locating a treatment facility, this rehab directory can help.

The American Addiction Centers addiction helpline can help answer any questions you may have about the health effects of LSD and your treatment options. They can also help you verify your insurance benefits. Don’t wait; make the call today.

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