What LSD Does to Your Brain Chemistry

LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) is a hallucinogenic narcotic. Many times, this drug is referred to as acid. LSD became most popular in the 1960s and still is abused today. LSD is classified as a Schedule 1 substance because of its high potential for abuse. It has no approved medical purpose.

When an individual uses LSD, it is often referred to as tripping on acid. The reason for this is that LSD has mind-altering effects. Individuals who use LSD feel as if they have taken a trip to a whole new realm. This drug distorts one’s perception of reality. A user can taste, see, hear and smell things that are not real.

The delusions and hallucinations experienced under the influence of LSD can lead to an out-of-body experience.1

Some drug trips may seem exciting. Others may feel intellectually stimulating, and this is why people continually abuse the substance. Unfortunately, many LSD trips are negative. When this happens, individuals feel as if they have zero control over their minds or bodies. Their emotions may change at the drop of a hat. They may experience panic or life-threatening scenarios. While not real, these experiences seem very real at the time.

The Effects of LSD

The effects of LSD on the brain are complex and not fully understood. LSD is known to influence the diverse neurotransmitter systems in the body.2 This drug has been shown to bind to serotonin, adrenal and dopamine receptors. Serotonin helps regulates mood, appetite, muscle control, sleep, sensory perception and sexuality.

Scientists are not certain if the drug diminishes neurotransmission, increases it or if it does both. LSD also interferes with the retina’s ability to process information and to transmit information to the brain. In other words, this brain alters the way people perceive stimuli.3

How LSD Abuse Affects Your Health

The psychological effects of LSD can be terrifying, but this is only one area to consider. The physical effects of LSD can be serious. Users often experience an increase in body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. These effects can lead to life-threatening circumstances. Overdose, heart complications, coma and death are all possible. Other physical effects include tremors, sleep disturbances, sweating and loss of appetite.

The longer LSD abuse continues, the more serious the effects can be.

It is common to have flashbacks. This is where the user relives the drug trip. When this happens, the individual’s body functions may be impaired. LSD flashbacks can appear out-of-nowhere and may occur months after someone has used the drug. The hallucinations from a drug trip can trigger several mental health issues.

Some of these issues include depression, mania, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. LSD users often experience changes in their moods or emotional behavior. Chronic users often notice more persistent behavioral problems, violent behavior, anxiety, depression and a distorted perception of time.4

Help for LSD Abuse

If you or someone you love needs help for LSD abuse, call our toll-free, 24-hour helpline at 877-345-3299. Our admissions coordinators are caring and knowledgeable and ready to answer all of your questions. We want to help you recover from drug abuse. They understand the complex nature of drug abuse.

When you call, we will help find the treatment options that best fit your needs. At the Canyon, we have specialized programs that can be tailored to patients from all walks of life. Don’t wait. Move forward toward a life without drugs today.

Save on Pinterest
Share on Facebook
Tweet This
Share on LinkedIn


1 "Drugs of Abuse." US Drug Enforcement Administration. 2017.

2 "Hallucinogens - LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP." National Institute on Drug Abuse. December 2014.

3 Gasser, Peter, et. al, "Safety and Efficacy of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Assisted Psychotherapy for Anxiety Associated With Life-threatening Diseases." The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. June 30, 2014.

4 Davis, Kathleen, "LSD: Effects and hazards." Medical News Today. June 22, 2017.

Free Assessment / Confidential Call: 877-345-3299
Send us an Email