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LSD, or ‘acid’, is a powerful hallucinogen. People take LSD and go on ‘trips’, where their experience of reality is distorted. There are short- and long-term effects of LSD.

This can help if:

  • you want to know more about LSD
  • you’re curious about what LSD does to you
  • you want to know why people take LSD.
LSD tab

What is LSD?

LSD is a chemical (lysergic acid diethylamide) that comes from a fungus. It's a white powder, but it’s often sold soaked into blotter paper or sugar cubes, or in little gelatin balls (microdots). LSD is a very powerful hallucinogen that changes your perception of reality. Other names for it are acid, tabs, cellophane or trips.

What does LSD do to you?

Drugs will always affect people differently, depending on things like their size, mood, and whether they take drugs regularly. LSD can make people experience sights, sounds and feelings that aren't real. Someone who's taken LSD might:

  • see colours or patterns, or hear sounds (hallucinations)
  • feel as though their senses are mixing together
  • feel good and relaxed
  • feel scared, anxious and paranoid
  • experience extreme mood swings.

Physically, they might:

  • have an increased heart rate and breathing rate, and higher blood pressure
  • get twitchy, feel numb or have seizures
  • feel ill and vomit.

There aren't many long-term effects of taking LSD (or other hallucinogens) that we know about. One danger is flashbacks, where the effect of the drug can come back months or even years later. Even though it only lasts a minute or two, a flashback can be pretty scary. It can be triggered by stress, other drug use, or exercise.

LSD can also trigger the onset of, or worsen, mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Other issues with LSD

  • ‘Bad trips’: Sometimes an LSD 'trip' can be overwhelmingly negative and frightening. People call this a ‘bad trip'. It will pass, but you need to make yourself calm and comfortable while it lasts. If a friend is going through a bad trip, stay with them, keep them quiet, and reassure them that everything will be okay.
  • Dosage: Only take a very small amount. LSD is very potent, and doesn't peak until a couple of hours after you take it. Higher doses will increase any negative effects.
  • Legal issues: LSD is illegal everywhere in Australia.

What can I do now?

  • Read about drug addiction.
  • Use ReachOut NextStep to find the help that’s right for you.
  • Talk to a doctor or a mental health professional about your drug use.