People have referred to it as “acid, " and talk of “tripping out" while taking it. It was a major influence on culture and popular music in the sixties and seventies. Though its usage is not as prevalent now as other controlled substances, LSD remains a potent drug, as well as a risk to physical and mental health.
Like other drugs that are abused for recreational purposes, LSD (or lysergic acid diethylamide) was synthesized originally for medical use. Chemist Albert Hofmann designed the drug with the intent to create an aid for psychiatric practices. The “psychdelic" properties attributed to LSD were discovered by Hofmann himself when a tiny amount of the drug was introduced into his system through skin absorption. LSD remained a legal substance in the United State until the late 1960s, when recreational use became too great. Despite the ban, LSD remained a popular vice among the vocal, Western hippie movements.
People who have experimented with LSD know it does not take much of the drug to experience the effects on the mind. The tiniest drop of acid on a postage stamp or in a sugar cube - popular methods of ingestion - can cause a person to endure the effects for several hours. People who take LSD may encounter various visual and extra-sensory effects, as the drug is known to heighten perception to a point that people might see color patterns or “trails" as they move. An accompanied sense of euphoria may also be felt among users.
Unfortunately, “dropping acid" is not without risk - use of LSD may also cause increases in blood sugar and heart rate, and severe behavioral changes. While it has been argued that use of acid is not as habit-forming as cocaine and methamphetamine, people who drop acid pose the threat of doing bodily harm to themselves and others. An altered sense of perception might cause a user to have an accident, for example, if driving. Mixed with other drugs, LSD may also contribute to long-term effects like “flashbacks" that cause mental health problems.
Anyone who suspects a loved one of using LSD for recreational purposes is recommended to consult a physician with regards to the consequences of taking the drug, before any irreversible damage is done.
Stephanie Loebs is the executive director of Williamsburg Place, one of the top drug rehab clinics in the nation. Williamsburg Place aids those who suffer from drug and/or alcohol addiction, and specializes in caring for health care professionals. For over twenty years Williamsburg Place and its joint rehabilitation center, the William J. Farley Center, have helped thousands of people from all walks of life take back their lives and overcome substance abuse.