LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a synthetic chemical, made from a substance found in ergot, which is a fungus that infects rye (grain).
LSD belongs to a group of drugs known as psychedelics. When small doses are taken, it can produce mild changes in perception, mood and thought. Larger doses may produce visual hallucinations and distortions of space and time.
Sometimes, what is sold as LSD can actually be other chemicals such as NBOMe or the 2C family of drugs (part of the new psychoactive substances). These can be quite dangerous, as their quality is inconsistent. Taking too much of these other substances can be fatal with a number of deaths having been reported.
What it looks like
In its pure state, LSD is a white odourless crystalline substance. However, LSD is so potent that an effective dose of the pure drug is so small, it’s virtually invisible. As a result, it’s usually diluted with other materials.
The most common form is drops of LSD solution dried onto gelatin sheets, pieces of blotting paper or sugar cubes, which release the drug when swallowed. It is also sometimes sold as a liquid, in a tablet or in capsules.
Effects of LSD
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
LSD can affect everyone differently, based on:
size, weight and health
whether the person is used to taking it
whether other drugs are taken around the same time
the amount taken
the strength of the drug (varies from batch to batch).
The effects of LSD usually begin in approximately 30 minutes and will last around 8-12 hours. The following may be experienced:
euphoria and wellbeing
dilation of pupils
perceptual changes, such as visual and auditory hallucinations.
confusion and trouble concentrating
fast or irregular heart beat
increased body temperature
If someone takes a large amount, the negative effects of LSD are more likely. Call an ambulance straight away by dialling triple zero (000) if you or someone else has any of these symptoms (ambulance officers don’t need to involve the police):
increased risk taking
Sometimes a person can experience a ‘bad trip’, involving a disturbing hallucination. This can lead to panic and risky behaviour, like running across a road or attempting self-harm.