Acid Trip: It generally refers to the recreational use of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, commonly referred to as LSD. Use of LSD took off in the counterculture era of the 1960s.
The drug produces an intense, psychedelic “high” that alters the normal senses of sight, sound, taste and touch.
The effects of LSD are known to sometimes result in a profound psychological, almost spiritual experience, though the drug is notorious for going in the opposite direction, causing a frightening or depressing experience.
The length of a “high” can last from four to 12 hours. It is one of the primary reasons taking LSD is referred to as “tripping”.
Acid is generally taken orally, either swallowed in pill form or held under the tongue on a piece of blotter paper known as a tab. It can also be injected intravenously.
- The raw form of LSD is a white or clear, odorless, crystalline powder and even small amounts – 20 to 30 micrograms – can elicit a powerful response.
There’s evidence that people with existing mental disorders, such as schizophrenia are more prone to experience the negative aspects of “tripping”.
The sensory effects of an acid trip are significant. They generally kick in 30 to 90 minutes after ingestion, with peak intensity hitting around the three to four hour mark depending on dosage and tolerance.
Some of the sensory effects can include:
- Radiant colors, objects and surfaces that appear to “breathe,” pulse or ripple
- An altered sense of time that seems to stop, stretch or accelerate
- Visual “tracers” can seem to follow objects as they move
- Hallucinations and illusions are also common
- Echo-like distortions in sound and/or the feeling of connecting to music on cellular level
LSD is, perhaps, most famous for it’s psychological effects, which can either be pleasurable or result in a bad trip. Experts still don’t understand why some are good and others are bad and it’s impossible to predict which way an experience will go, even for regular users. What’s known is that acid can result in a deep cognitive shift while on the drug.
- When it is good, users feel a happy disconnect from reality, a sensation that they’re floating, have decreased inhibitions and feel as if they understand the world in a deeper, more spiritual way.
- A bad one causes panic, anxiety, paranoia, depression and, in some cases, suicidal thoughts.
There is a number of common side effects users experience, though they vary depending on a person’s physiological response. These can include:
- Wakefulness and pupil dilation
- Nausea, lack of appetite and a metallic taste in the mouth
- Sweaty, tingly or numbness on the skin
- Tremors or weakness in the muscles
- Dry mouth and jaw clenching
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
There is, however, a growing field of psychiatric study that examines LSD as means of treating some mental illness, including depression.
Newsweek reported on a study in Spain that found listening to music might actually reorganize and synchronize neural networks in the brain. Scientists say that more extensive research is needed, though in the U.S. this is unlikely due to the LSD’s classification as drug with no medicinal value and a high likelihood for abuse.
It was first developed in the late ’30’s in Switzerland from the ergot fungus. In the ’50’s, both the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. Army experimented on U.S. Soldiers with LSD to see whether or not the drug could be weaponized as a “psychochemical incapacitant”. Ultimately, these projects were abandoned.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) latest statistics, less than 10 percent of adults aged 18 to 25 admit to using LSD at once in their lifetime and just over 10 percent in ages 26 and older. Acid is listed by the Drug Enforcement (DEA) as Schedule I narcotic, despite the fact LSD isn’t considered physically addictive.