Lysergic Acid Diathylamide (LSD) is a psychoactive hallucinogenic drug. It comes in a variety of forms, but is most commonly sold in the form of blotter papers, which are small paper squares that have been dipped in LSD. The drug also can be found in several others forms–including a powder or crystal, liquid, gelatin squares, laced on a sugar cube and capsules, or as a small pill (not common). LSD can also be rubbed against the skin. LSD has been available legally until the early 1960s, when governments around the world made it illegal, sending its production and distribution underground.

LSD is sold under more than 80 street names, including “acid,” “blotter,” “cid,” “doses” and “trips,” as well as names that reflect the designs on sheets of blotter paper.

D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD’s chemical name) is the most potent hallucinogenic substance, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It became available on the streets in the 1960s, but was soon outlawed. With LSD tablets, it is difficult to tell how much LSD is actually in the blotter. Tabs are often dipped in another chemical agent in order to bind the LSD to the paper. The binding chemical agents can often cause side effects, such as grinding of the jaw and restlessness. Liquid acid is ingested per drop. It is generally much stronger (containing 200 to 400 mcg per drop). Many users prefer liquid acid to tabs because no chemical binding agents are needed, and therefore the “trip” seems smoother.

LSD has remained popular with high school and college students and other young adults. It is inexpensive and easy for teens and young adults to obtain, and it has recently made a bit of a comeback to the drug scene. Scientific research, too, is starting up again, as some governments have relaxed their attitudes toward the drug. There are currently several government-sponsored LSD studies on the way (though not in the United States).

What is “Tripping”?
LSD has gotten the reputation for being a mind-expanding drug. Many users claim that after using LSD, their life has changed. Users in the first hour of “tripping” feel a rush of energy, with all of the senses working on overload. After the first 3 hours, the peak begins. This is the most intense part of the trip, and can come on and off again throughout the duration of the trip, which can last up to 12 hours.

Users can have extreme visual hallucinations. Some report that everything seems like it is in motion, and colors are very vivid. Users sometimes see things that are not there. Mental changes are the most intense. Users often experience extreme mental stages, going from periods of giddiness, to extreme insight about their lives and world. Users often may have conversations that do not make a whole lot of sense to an outside observer. They also show extreme paranoia, especially when put in a situation with people who are not tripping or when law enforcement gets involved.

Once a user develops an idea during a trip, it is hard for them to let it go, particularly if it deals with fear or a problem the user has been agonizing over. The mind becomes extremely sensitive to its surroundings, and in extreme cases, any change or disruption can upset a user. When this happens, it is called a “bad trip.” Never leave someone alone who is having a “bad trip.” Stay with them, keep them calm, talk to them and make them feel safe.

What is a “Bad Trip”
The thoughts and fears of someone on a bad trip may make no sense to others, but make perfect sense to them. A bad trip can cause a user to react so violently that he hurts himself or other people. In extreme cases, people have been known to run away, jump out of windows and do other crazy things when they are having a bad trip. This is one of the main reasons why LSD is illegal. (Of course, politics play a huge role in deciding what is legal and what is not, it is not always due to a drug’s hazards). There is much debate from LSD users as to why it became illegal.

Do not expect to do anything other than just that when using it. A user will be surprised at how difficult and confusing using a phone or dealing with authority is. Do not drive or operate any sort of machinery. It is a good idea to have at least one sober “guide” or designated sober person there to take care of a user just in case. People with histories of psychoses such as schizophrenia in the family should avoid using LSD, as it can bring out latent tendencies towards schizophrenia. Continuous heavy use of LSD can trigger mental and social problems.