Effects of Acid Use

Learn more about the short-term and long-term effects of acid use. Even though LSD isn't considered an addictive drug, even a one-time use of acid can have long-lasting affects on the user. Read more to learn about the mental effects of LSD drug abuse.


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), around 200,000 people try LSD for the first time each year. Because of its potent effects, however, regular LSD drug abuse is not very common. Most LSD drug use is done for experimentation, and is not something that is done on a regular basis. However, LSD is such a powerful hallucinogen that effects of acid use can manifest themselves even years later.

Short term effects of acid use

There are quite a few short term effects of LSD drug abuse. First of all, the effects of acid use are extremely unpredictable. How someone reacts to LSD depends on a number of factors, including the dose taken, the person’s expectations, the mood a person is already in, the environment in which the LSD is used and the personality of the user. The effects of acid use are influenced by the users psychological and emotional state as well as by the drug itself.

The physical effects of LSD can include an increase in body temperature, dry mouth, loss of appetite, increase in hear rate, higher blood pressure, dilated pupils, sleeplessness, tremors and sweating. These physical effects, however, may not be as readily apparent as the emotional, perceptual and psychological effects of acid use.

One of the effects of LSD is that it can actually allow a user to feel more than one emotion at the same time. Even if two (or more) emotions are not felt simultaneously, LSD can promote rapid mood swings, allowing emotional changes to take place at a very fast pace. Larger doses of LSD produce visual and audio hallucinations. Delusions can also be produced by LSD drug use. Perceptions change and bleed into one another. In some cases, NIDA reports, drug users may say that they are “hearing colors” and “seeing sounds.” This is known a crossover, and can be very disorienting for those using acid.

Another thing to watch for is erratic behavior. LSD drug abuse can result in strange behavior that the user may not have control over. This can result in doing things, without realizing the danger, that could cause harm to oneself or even to others.

Other short term effects of acid abuse include a different sense of time, a change in self perception, panic (due to delusions and perceptual crossover), rambling speech and disorientation and confusion about where one is. The short term effects of an LSD “trip” can last anywhere from two to twelve hours.

Long term effects of LSD drug abuse

For the most part, LSD drug abuse results in one main long term effect: flashbacks. Acid flashbacks are when a user actually relives some of the experiences that he or she had while using the LSD. A flashback can occur days, weeks, months and even years after LSD drug abuse stops. And even only experimentation can result in acid flashbacks. These flashbacks come on suddenly, and usually have no warning. If the “trip” was bad, it is possible that an LSD flashback can bring that unpleasant aspect to the surface again. However, the pleasant parts of the LSD “acid trip” can also be experienced in a flashback.

One of the problems with LSD flashbacks is that more disturbing experiences can cause paranoia and depression in a former user. Sometimes the flashbacks can be intrusive, and cause mental and emotional problems. This can lead to depression and even suicide attempts. It is important to realize that with LSD, the long term effect of acid flashbacks can affect other areas of one’s life.

Tolerance and addiction

Interestingly enough, LSD is not considered an addictive drug. Despite its potent effects on the mind, LSD is not a drug that induces cravings. Unlike heroin, alcohol, cocaine and other drugs, the body is unlikely to develop a dependency on LSD. Therefore, the physical effects when one quits taking LSD, even if one has been a regular user, are rather small. Indeed, for the most part, the only effects of acid use that have had to be treated are those associated with the psychological impact of acid flashbacks.

The body, though it does not develop an addiction to LSD, can develop a tolerance. Most people who begin to use LSD regularly, beyond experimentation, find that they need larger doses to get the same effect. This is because the body eventually gets used to the effects the acid has. The longer and more often LSD is abused, the higher the dosage required to have the same intensity.

It is important to remember that the effects of LSD are potent and unpredictable. Someone under the influence of LSD may not realize what he or she is doing, and could endanger him or herself and/or others.

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