LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the most commonly used hallucinogens in Australia. It usually comes in the form of liquid, tablets or capsules, squares of gelatine or blotting paper.
What are other types of hallucinogens?
Other hallucinogens include:
- PCP (angel dust).
- High doses of ecstasy (MDMA).
- Magic mushrooms (or ‘golden top’ mushrooms) are commonly found in Australia and have the active ingredient psilocybin. People can mistake poisonous mushrooms for those containing psilocybin. Certain kinds of poisonous mushrooms can cause death or permanent liver damage within hours of ingestion.
- Datura (the belladonna plant) and fly agaric
- Cannabis (marijuana).
What happens after using LSD?
- Pupils increase in size, heart rate speeds up, blood pressure increases, feelings of nausea, reduced hunger, chills, flushing, shaking, abnormal rapid breathing, stomach aches, and poor co-ordination.
- Changes to vision, hearing and other senses such as brighter colours, sharper sounds, colours are heard or sounds seen, time passes slowly, the space around the user seems to change, he or she may feel as though they are floating or sinking
- Strange thoughts, confusion, acute panic (a ‘bad trip’)
- Sense of relaxation and wellbeing.
What is a ‘bad trip’?
The effects of hallucinogens vary greatly from person to person and each time they are used. Effects may be unpleasant – a person may experience ‘bad trips’, such as feeling like spiders crawling on the skin, feeling as if he or she is losing control and ‘going crazy’; and strong feelings of anxiety or fear. Panic can lead to risky behaviour, such as running across a busy street. When a ‘bad trip’ occurs, the person having the bad trip needs to be gently talked to and told that they will be OK until the immediate effects have passed. This can take many hours. Usually the negative feelings go away when the drug wears off, however, there have been reports of unpleasant effects lasting for several days after taking the drug. Occasionally, these effects can last weeks or months.
What happens if you mix LSD with other drugs?
LSD can be dangerous when combined with drugs like
alcohol or amphetamines (‘speed’). This is because the effects of both drugs are often altered in unpredictable ways. Despite this, some users take benzodiazepines or cannabis to help them ‘come down’ after using LSD.
What are the long-term effects of using LSD?
You can have flashbacks: days, weeks or even years after using the drug, some people re-experience the effects. Flashbacks can be sparked off by the use of other drugs, and by stress, from being tired, or physical exercise. They usually last for a minute or two. There is some evidence that heavy use of LSD can impair a user’s memory and concentration. Using LSD may increase the risk of certain people developing severe mental disturbances.