How long does LSD stay in your system?

LSD effects usually last for 12 hours. But LSD can stay in your system for up to 5 days after use. More on the bioavailability, half life and detection window of LSD here.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D.

Article Overview: LSD is a powerful hallucinogen, it’s effects usually last for 12 hours. But LSD can stay in your system for up to 5 days after use. Although it is not physically addictive, LSD use can lead to repeated dosing and psychotic effects. More on what happens in the body when you take LSD, the bioavailability, half life and detection window of LSD here below.

What is LSD used for?

People take LSD as a hallucinogen and for its ability to alter human perception and mood. LSD is taken mainly orally, although the potency of liquid LSD in dropper bottles may vary because the liquid is water based. LSD can be also inhaled, injected, and applied to the skin.

Peak levels and half life of LSD

LSD has a plasma half-life of 2.5-4 hours. The onset of LSD effects is rapid following intravenous administration (10 minutes) and slower when taken orally (20-30 minutes). LSD effects usually peak at 2-4 hours and gradually diminishing over 6-8 hours. Residual effects may last longer but usually resolve within 12 hours of dosing.

LSD drug testing

In order to test positive for most types of drugs, at least two criteria must be met:

1. The sample must be positive by the screening test above a set cutoff level
2. The sample must be positive by a confirmation test above a set cutoff level

However, recreational drugs like LSD that have no approved medical use are not tested within therapeutic ranges. Therefore, cutoff concentrations for LSD drug tests are set low: micro detection limits and/or concentrations that are likely to be reached 24 hours after use of a typical dose of the drug (0.5-55 ng/mL).  How long does LSD stay in the body? LSD can be detected in urine within 2-5 days of use.

LSD and addiction

Addiction is a state of physical dependence marked by increased tolerance to a drug combined with physiological withdrawal symptoms when the drug is reduced or withheld from the system.

Addiction and dependence on LSD are possible, although rare. Firstly, tolerance to LSD develops rapidly, but also dissipates rapidly. Tolerance to the behavioral effects of LSD develops rapidly after 3-4 consecutive daily doses. And then sensitivity returns to baseline after 3 to 4 days of abstinence.

Secondly, use of LSD DOES NOT cause patterns of repetitive use over prolonged periods. In fact, the most common psychedelic-use pattern is the occasional trip, separated by intervals of weeks or months. So, although long term dependence on LSD can cause psychological and social damage, incidences of physical dependence are rare.

Still, some users may require medical help to stay off of LSD or other psychoactive drug use. You can learn more about LSD Addiction Treatment programs and help options if you or a loved one are in need of professional medical assistance.

Problems with LSD?

Do you have a problem with LSD that you’d like to share? Maybe a question that you want to answer? Please leave your LSD questions below. We respect all legitimate queries and will respond personally and promptly to your comments, concern or feedback.

Reference sources: Drug Courts Research Series Drug Testing in a Drug Court Environment
National Higway Traffic and Safety Administration Drug and Human Performance Fact Sheets on Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
Unfavourable Reactions to LSD: A Review and Analysis of the Available Case Reports
Guidelines for research on drugged driving
Comparison of EMIT II, CEDIA, and DPC RIA assays for the detection of lysergic acid diethylamide in forensic urine samples
PubChem Lysergic Acid Diethylamide – Compound Summary
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D. is a general surgeon practicing women's focused medici...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.

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