What is LSD (acid)?

Aka lysergic acid diethylamide, acid, tabs, trips, microdots
Written by
shutterstock_34433518

Remember: All drugs, including the misuse of prescribed medication, can pose serious health risks, up to and including possible death.


LSD (Lysergic acid disthylamide) is a hallucinogenic drug which is commonly called acid. It normally comes on tiny squares of paper called tabs with pictures on them. It can also come in a liquid form or as tiny pellets. The high you get from taking LDS is know as a “trip”. Trips can be good or bad experiences but you won’t know what affect the drug will have on you until you have taken it. Once a trip has started you can’t stop it. 

The effects of LSD are felt about half an hour after taking the drug, and peak after 2-6 hours, fading after 12 hours depending upon the amount taken.

What happens when you take LSD?

  • The effects of LSD vary depending on user, drug and environment. 
  • It can be a positive or negative experience depending on the strength of the acid, your mood, your surroundings and who you’re with. 
  • You can feel, see or hear things that don’t exist or enter into mental and spiritual journeys or “trips”
  • Colours, objects and sounds can be intensified and seem unreal
  • You can also feel that time and movement slow down or speed up

The dangers of taking LSD

  • Once the “trip” has started, it is not possible to stop it or control it
  • If the person who takes the drug is anxious, nervous, depressed or has a history of mental problems they can experience an unpleasant reaction
  • They may feel dizzy and disorientated
  • Prolonged mental ill health may be triggered off by an LSD trip
  • A bad trip can make users feel very threatened and shaken for a long time afterwards
  • Psychological dependence can develop and tolerance increases with repeated use
  • After taking acid, some people have flashbacks, where they feel the effects of acid briefly weeks or months afterwards. 

Good trips are also not without risk, with people being injured because of their delusions (fixed false beliefs which usually cannot be changed by persuasion or argument) about being able to fly or walk on water. Fatal accidents and suicides have been caused by LSD.

LSD and mental health issues

If you suffer from mental health problems and take LSD you are more likely to have a bad trip. The long-term effects of LSD include paranoia, phobia and ideation (thinking about suicide). LSD can also trigger underlying mental health problems that you may not have know about. 

If you have taken LSD and are feeling anxious or depressed remember that these are side effects which should pass in time. Talk to someone if you are feeling anxious or depressed, if you do not feel that you can be honest to friends or family members about taking drugs remember that there are other supports out there that can help. 

LSD and the law 

Under Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Act it is an offence to supply, possess or produce these drugs. For more information on drugs and the law in Ireland click here.

First-aid response and LSD

If you experience someone having a bad trip on LSD are things which you can do to help.

  • Don’t panic
  • Remove user to a quiet non-stimulating environment
  • Reassure them everything is going to be alright
  • Encourage them to breathe slowly and deeply to prevent hyperventilation
  • Remove to hospital if worried or unsure
  • Give full explanation to hospital staff of what they have taken

Support services

  • Drugs.ie: Online information and support for drug and alcohol use. Includes a national directory of drug and alcohol services
  • HSE Drugs, Alcohol, HIV and Sexual Health Helpline: Freephone 1800 459 459.
  • The Club Drug Clinic offers advice, support and detoxification for GHB (Liquid Ecstasy, G) and other chemsex and club drugs is an integrated person centred specialist addiction service: Tel 016488600
  • Rialto Community Drug Team
Related articles
Skip to content