Can you die from taking acid?
Taking acid rarely causes death.
Most often, death can occur as the result of getting high on acid. In fact, suicide, accidents, and dangerous behavior have been linked directly to taking acid. More here on the dangers of LSD. We invite your questions about taking acid at the end.
What’s in acid?
Acid is the street name for LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) which comes as a liquid, in tablets or capsules, or on small sheets of paper. Acid doesn’t have any smell or color but has a slightly bitter taste and is used to induce hallucinations. LSD is classified Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use. Can you get addicted to acid? Possibly. But LSD addiction is rare.
How does LSD work?
LSD’s effects are unpredictable, and often its biggest effect is on the mind. Acid works by disrupting the interaction of nerve cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin controls behavioral, perceptual, and regulatory systems, including mood, hunger, body temperature, sexual behavior, muscle control, and sensory perception. Physiological effects include elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure and dilated pupils. Sensory effects include perceptual distortions that vary with dose, setting, and mood. Psychic effects include distortions of thought associated with time and space.
How long does acid stay in your body?
Acid – how long does it stay in your system? Effects last for about 12 hour after dosing, although LSD can be detected in urine 2-5 days after use.
The effects of taking acid
On some acid trips, time may appear to stand still, and forms and colors seem to change and take on new significance. Even if a person stops taking LSD, he or she can still have some of the mental effects for days, months, or even years. Weeks or even months after some hallucinogens have been taken, the user may experience flashbacks — fragmentary recurrences of certain aspects of the drug experience in the absence of actually taking the drug. The occurrence of a flashback is unpredictable, but is more likely to occur during times of stress and seems to occur more frequently in younger people. With time, these episodes diminish and become less intense.
Although LSD is not really associated with addiction, people who take the drug may be regular users of other psychoactive substances, or even have underlying mental health conditions that can be worsened or triggered by LDS use. So, if you feel that you have lost control over your drug use and drug seeking behavior, and want to get better…but you are worried about what happens when you finally seek help, you can learn more in this GUIDE on LSD addiction treatment programs and help.
You can get better!
Cases of fatal overdose on acid are possible, but rare. Emergency room and EMS data supports the claims that, while not often, deaths can occur when a person takes LSD. This is particularly true when it is mixed with alcohol. Cases of acid trips have been reported where overstimulation of the nervous system triggered heart attack, stroke or respiratory failure. Again, these cases are rare.
Other causes of death on acid
A number of deaths can be indirectly linked to ingestion of acid. The actual causes of death however are not always from the actual drug itself. Some people who take LSD die because their minds trick them into doing dangerous things. And LSD-related deaths generally occur due to suicide, accidents, and dangerous behavior. Also, there is the possibility that poisonous additives may have been mixed with the drug, amplifying its danger and unpredictability.
Questions about dying on acid
Many frightening stories have circulated throughout the drug community for years of people on LSD thinking they can fly and dying from falls, or believing they are invincible and inadvertently committed suicide. Unfortunately, many young people believe these to only be scare tactics by the very people who are trying to protect them. The question you may need to ask yourself, is it really worth the risk?
If you still have questions about taking acid, please leave them here. We will be happy to respond to legitimate concerns with a personal and prompt response.
Reference Sources: DEA Drug Fact Sheet: Hallucinogens
DEA Drug Fact Sheet: LSD
Girls Health [dot] Gov: Drug glossary
Photo credit: Sprengben [why not get a friend]