Does LSD Cause Brain Damage?

Does LSD cause brain damage? Many people wonder if LSD can actually cause brain damage. Research shows that certain effects of doing LSD or other hallucinogens can inadvertently cause brain damage, the actual drug itself cannot cause brain damage. However, it can cause other problems like flash backs and blackouts.


While LSD is often reputed as being a "safe" drug, although still illegal, that is not really the case. Many people or drug users might wonder, does LSD cause brain damage? While the answer to this question is still somewhat inconclusive, there are some symptoms that can arise for some LSD users that might cause brain damage or damage to the brain, even if minor, later on in life. Because LSD works by causing alterations to the central nervous system, these effects can last for a long period of time even if the user is no longer doing the drug.

Does LSD Cause Brain Damage?

LSD works by altering the serotonin receptors in the brain, which alters how a person experiences their senses. This is often what puts an LSD user into a state of euphoria or an altered state of reality. It might alter their senses so they feel things differently, taste foods in a more heightened way and even experience touch with more intensity. Because an LSD user might use this drug to the point where they are becoming immune to the effects, they have to begin to use more of the drug in order to see the same effect. After a while, they may have permanently damaged the way their body feels and experiences their own senses. While this is not necessarily a form of brain damage, it is a way that the mind has been altered forever. 

The body may never taste foods or drinks the same way again. The body might also not smell or feel or experience in the same way at all, and not always in a good way. For some, they might find their sense of smell is gone completely. Others might find that certain foods are now ruined  to the taste. The LSD long-term effects are also really bad for some LSD users. The hallucinogen might cause some to black out while they are using the drug. This is an effect that can come back years later and happen while a person is driving or doing something important. If a person blacks out while driving or operating heavy machinery or watching children, they can end up in a very dangerous or even deadly situation. Some LSD users also experience seizures while under the influence of the drug. While the drug itself is not responsible for the brain damage, having a seizure can cause brain damage. 

Other Physiological Effects of LSD Use:

  • Increased blood pressure/heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Numbness
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness

Other effects might be a result of the hallucinogenic effect on the brain and body including hallucinations that can distort or create shapes and movements or altered colors. Some LSD users get so paranoid while doing the drug that they actually engage in really risky or dangerous behaviors like violence or even suicidal tendencies. Those who have "bad trips" might experience these terrifying thoughts or nightmares and anxiety. Those with prior mental issues or are even just in a bad mood prior to doing the drug might have issues with a bad trip when they try LSD. 

Other long-term effects of the drug can occur even when you are not longer a regular LSD user, or haven't done the drug in years. While these problems are not necessarily an effect of LSD and brain damage, there can still be problems with depression, dramatic mood swings, psychotic-like mental states, the inability to think rationally as well as trouble communicating with others. 

There are many problems that can occur long-term and because of the cause, there is really no known way to treat these issues. Some anti-depressants have been found to be effective in helping former users combat some of the symptoms of LSD use, but nothing permanent. Psychotherapy can also be used to help the user deal with the emotional turmoil they experience as a result of being off the drug. However, these are mostly life-long issues the former LSD user will have to deal with the rest of his or her life. 

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