LSD (D-lysergic acid diethylamide) is the most common hallucinogen, a group of drugs that alter awareness of perception, thoughts and feelings. It is one of the most powerful mood-changing chemicals. It is made from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains.
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Also known as acid, blotter, dots and tabs, among other slang terms, LSD is sold on the street in tablets, capsules and occasionally in liquid form. It is a clear or white odorless substance with a slightly bitter taste. LSD is often added to absorbent paper, such as “blotter” paper – paper that is divided into small decorated squares (or “tabs”), with each square representing one dose called a “hit.” The squares may be colored or have images printed on them. Liquid LSD is clear, and is usually sold in a small container, tube or flask. LSD can also be found in thin squares of gelatin.
Like other psychedelics, people use LSD to “expand their mind” or give them a carefree, euphoric feeling.
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The effects of LSD are unpredictable and occur based on factors such as on the amount taken, a person’s personality, mood, expectations and the surroundings in which the drug is used. The ability to make sound judgments and see common dangers is impaired, leading to a risk of injury.
In some people, LSD can cause flashbacks, recurrence of certain drug experiences even if the user doesn’t take the drug again. In some people, flashbacks can persist and affect daily functioning, a condition known as hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder (HPPD).
LSD does produce tolerance, so some people who take the drug repeatedly must take higher doses to achieve the same effect. This is an extremely dangerous practice, given the unpredictability of the drug. In addition, LSD produces tolerance to other hallucinogens, including psilocybin.