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How Long Does LSD Last?

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is an extremely powerful psychoactive drug synthesized from ergot, a fungus that commonly grows on rye and other grains. Its hallucinogenic properties are so powerful that people measure their dosage in micrograms. As little as 25ug to 75ug (microdosing LSD), which users describe as a “mild experience,” can cause visual hallucinations, while a 700-1000ug can induce a “full out-of-body-experience.” The US Drug Enforcement Agency classifies LSD as an illegal Schedule 1 controlled substance, which is very likely to be abused and doesn’t have any documented use in medical treatments.

LSD is usually sold in the form of small tablets, capsules, or liquids. A solution of liquid LSD is typically added to blotter paper and divided into decorated squares. LSD is almost always taken orally, but it may also be used via other routes, such as being dropped into the eye. Over the years, various street names have been used for the drug, including blotter acid, Dots, Mellow Yellow, Window Pane, and Yellow Sunshine.

How Long Does LSD Stay In Your System
How long does LSD stay in your system? There is still much to learn about LSD and its effects on the human brain. Most scientists believe that LSD binds with the brain’s serotonin receptors and activates them, interfering with the brain’s ability to control your perception of stimuli. 

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LSD Effects

LSD works by stimulating the serotonin (brain chemical) production in the cortex and deep structures of the brain, by activating serotonin receptors. These serotonin receptors help visualize and interpret the real world. The additional serotonin allows more stimuli to be processed than usual. 

The brain filters out irrelevant stimuli, but with LSD this is not the case. This overstimulation causes changes in perceptions, thought, attention, and emotions. These alterations appear as hallucinations. Sensations seem real, but they are hallucinations created by the mind.

The perceptions can involve one or more of the five senses. It can also cause blending of the senses, known as synesthesia. Some people report “hearing” colors and “seeing” sounds. Users of LSD talk about good or bad “trips,” or experiences.

LSD Effects on Perception

LSD can trigger a range of perceptual changes, often relating to emotions, vision, touch, and thinking.

Mood changes may lead to a sense of bliss, euphoria peacefulness, dreaminess, and heightened awareness, or anxiety, despair, and confusion. There may be rapid mood swings.

Visual effects include brightened, vivid colors, blurred vision, distorted shapes and colors of objects and faces, and halos of light.

Changes related to touch include shaking, pressure, and lightheadedness.

Impact on thinking can lead to a distorted perception of time, either slow or fast, accelerated thoughts, terrifying thoughts or unusual insight, and a sense of transcendence.

LSD is odorless and colorless. A very small amount, similar to two grains of salt, is enough to produce the drug’s effects. The onset of hallucinations occurs within 60 minutes, and it can last from 6 to 12 hours.

In addition to sensory and mood effects, LSD use may also result in:

  • Delusions
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Sleepiness
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Weakness

One long-term but the rare danger of LSD use is a condition called hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder (HPPD) in which flashbacks persist and produce impairment or distress for the user in social or occupational functioning. These symptoms include hallucinations and other visual distortions such as halos or trails on moving objects. 

Symptoms of HPPD can last from weeks to years before resolving on their own, and there is no widely recognized treatment. In some cases, HPPD is severe, long-lasting, and has a significant negative effect on other aspects of a user’s life.

How Long Do the Effects Last?

When using LSD, the effects usually last 6-12 hours, depending on how much was taken, how it was taken, and the person’s age, weight, tolerance, metabolism, and liver condition. However, residual effects, known as “afterglow” effects, can be experienced for another six hours after the trip is over. From the initial trip to the comedown, the system may not return to its normal state for up to 24 hours. Residual traces of this drug can be detected in urine for up to five days and in hair follicles for up to 90 days after ingestion.

The main reason for the long “trip” time is how the molecules bind to serotonin receptors. They create a more powerful bond than serotonin itself. An extracellular lid creates a cover for the binding pocket to keep LSD molecules trapped inside. Since the interaction of LSD with serotonin receptors is what produces an intense acid trip, the strong binding capacity of LSD leads to a long psychoactive and hallucinogenic experience.

Contrary to popular belief, a “trip” can be stopped early. Some people experiencing “bad trips” take antipsychotic medication, antidepressants such as benzodiazepines such as diazepam and lorazepam, or trazodone. These are referred to as “trip killers” because they’re able to significantly reduce or even stop the effects of psychoactive drugs such as DMT, psilocybin, and LSD.

How Long Does LSD Stay In Your System
How long does LSD stay in your system? LSD does produce tolerance quickly, resulting in some users ingesting higher doses to have the same hallucinogenic effects. This is a highly risky practice because of the drug’s unpredictability. 

How Long Does it Take for LSD to Kick In?

How long it takes to start feeling the effects of LSD can vary for a number of reasons, such as age, weight, and tolerance. However, according to studies, the most common factors include the amount taken and the way in which LSD is ingested.

Here are some examples:

  • 100-250 micrograms via oral ingestion – When taken orally, 100-250 micrograms of LSD or “acid” can begin being felt within 30 minutes. The peak effects begin being felt in one to two hours.
  • 100-250 micrograms via intramuscular injection – While most people ingest LSD orally on paper tabs when injected into the muscle, the effects begin being felt more quickly in only 15 minutes. The peak effects occur within one hour.
  • 40-180 micrograms via intravenous injection – Taking LSD intravenously is less common, and the effects are felt almost instantly. Similar to intramuscular injection, the peak effects begin being felt in about one hour.

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How Long Does LSD Stay in Your System?

The half-life of LSD is around 5.1 hours. The effects can last up to 12 hours. Research has found that peak levels following a single dose occur at a median of 1.5 hours after administration.

After peaking, drug levels decline and reach half of the peak levels at approximately 3.6 hours after administration but the effects of the drug can last for up to 12 hours.

Once orally ingested, LSD is rapidly absorbed through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and mucous membranes. The substance reaches the organs and bloodstream quickly, about 10 to 15 minutes after being taken. LSD is normally processed by the liver, where it is metabolized into a number of other inactive metabolites.

Within 24 hours, almost all the substance has been metabolized and removed. Approximately 13% of LSD is excreted as a metabolite 2-oxo-3-hydroxy-LSD (O-H-LSD). Research suggests that this byproduct is found in urine samples at concentration levels 16 to 43 times higher than LSD.

Researchers have tried to develop different ways for detecting LSD, but the fact that the drug is broken down so quickly, unstable, and usually taken in relatively small amounts presents challenges.

How Long Does LSD Stay in Urine?

Because of its short half-life, LSD can be detected in the urine for up to eight hours. This detection window is shorter than that of many other drugs. For instance, marijuana can be detected in the urine of heavy cannabis users for up to two months after last use.

Upon consumption, LSD breaks down into 2-oxo-3-hydroxy-LSD, a major metabolite of the drug that can be found in urine. Studies have shown that 2-oxo-3-hydroxy-LSD metabolites remain present in urine at concentrations 16 to 43 times greater than LSD. On average, 2-oxo-3-hydroxy-LSD has a half-life of 12 hours and can be detected in the body for up to five days.

How Long Does LSD Stay in Your Blood?

In one study, researchers found that LSD was detectable in blood samples taken 16 hours after participants had been given 200 micrograms of LSD. For those given a smaller dose of 100 micrograms, researchers were able to detect the substance in blood tests eight hours after ingestion. Because levels decline steadily over time, the ability to detect the LSD dropped considerably after the 16-hour mark.

How Long Does LSD Stay in Your Saliva?

Saliva lab tests are also known as swab tests and are usually administered for more common drugs. Remember that LSD detection requires more specialized techniques, meaning that saliva drug screens are almost never used. However, if the saliva sample is specially tested, then the detection time would be similar to blood: approximately 8 to 16 hours. Using this method to test for LSD is still notoriously unreliable, even more so than hair testing.

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How Long Does LSD Stay in Your Hair?

This particular lab test is unique in that it can detect drugs that were consumed a long time ago, usually within the past 90 days. Furthermore, by analyzing the growth rate and the position of the drug traces within the hair shaft, it’s possible to estimate when the drug was used.

However, LSD is especially challenging to detect in hair due to its extremely low concentrations. Remember, doses of LSD are measured in micrograms instead of milligrams, meaning that the range of active doses is hundreds of times smaller than other drugs. As a result, this is not a common lab test for LSD and it’s not always entirely clear how long the LSD will be detected in the hair.

Furthermore, specialized tests are necessary to perform the analysis, although they are not really accurate. For example, a peer-reviewed paper indicated that these hair tests were able to detect LSD only 2 out of 17 times. This means that they were only accurate about 12% of the time. Furthermore, using pubic hair to detect LSD was even less reliable due to constant contamination by urine.

LSD Risks

Using LSD carries some health risks and side effects. By interfering with normal serotonin signaling, LSD produces the following negative side effects:

  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tremors

n addition to presenting physical risks, LSD has powerful effects on users’ mental states and can produce traumatic emotional reactions in some people, also called a “bad trip”. Symptoms of a bad trip can feel overwhelming to the user and may include the following:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Rapidly changing emotions
  • Feeling of detachment from one’s own mind and body
  • Losing a grip on reality
  • Fear of dying
  • Aggressive or violent behaviors
  • Suicidal thoughts

Taking LSD in a larger dose than expected or in an uncontrolled setting increases the risk of having a bad trip. LSD users with a family or personal history of psychosis or other severe mental disorders are also thought to be at greater risk of having a bad trip or developing other psychological problems. Abusers of LSD having a bad trip can behave in unpredictable ways that present a danger to themselves and others.

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LSD Drug Test

Will LSD Show Up On a Drug Test? Technically, yes — if you’re given a blood or saliva test within 24 hours of using acid or 36 hours for a urine test — it’s possible to test positive on a drug test.  However, in practice, LSD will reach undetectable levels within the first 24 hours. Additionally, it’s exceedingly rare for drug tests to include reagents that test for LSD in the first place. Only specific LSD drug tests (usually saliva swabs) or more advanced professional testing will be able to detect LSD in the first place. Traces of LSD can be present in hair samples for one to three months, but these types of drug tests are uncommon. 

Is LSD Addictive?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) [3] explains that LSD is not addictive because it does not cause uncontrollable urges to repeatedly use the drug. LSD use over time, however, does cause tolerance in regular users. These users must increase their dose of LSD in order to recreate the same level of high that they previously experienced. Due to the unpredictability of the symptoms and side effects caused by LSD use, this is an unsafe habit.

LSD use does not result in physical dependence and therefore physical withdrawal symptoms do not occur. Though psychological dependence is possible, frequent users do not experience cravings to use the drug. NIDA explains that inpatient and behavioral treatment options can be helpful for individuals who have developed persistent patterns of problematic drug use, which may include LSD. Particularly for individuals struggling with alcohol or other drugs in addition to LSD, participation in a treatment program can be very beneficial.

Taking any illicit substance like LSD is dangerous even in a small amount. Given the illegality of LSD and other Hallucinogens, there is a high possibility for drug dealers to lace them with other illicit drugs like Fentanyl, Ketamine, or Meth. These contaminants are not only highly addictive but may cause a lethal overdose.

How long does LSD stay in your system? ” are questions that many misusers of the drug may have. If you want to feel happier, boost your dopamine levels, and increase your creativity, taking LSD is not the answer. Many natural, drug-free ways like eating the right diet, exercise, and mindfulness meditation can help you without exposing yourself to addiction risks. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, contact We Level Up NJ today to discuss treatment options.

How Long Does LSD Stay In Your System
How long does LSD stay in your system? LSD usage severely impairs the brain’s inhibitory centers. The reduced ability to recognize danger and consequences can result in life-threatening behavior. 

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Sources:

[1] [3] NIDA – https://archives.drugabuse.gov/publications/nida-community-drug-alert-bulletin-club-drugs/lysergic-acid-diethylamide-lsd

[2] NIDA – https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens