Acid Trips: What To Expect

December 27, 2022

Nue Life

Nue Life

Are you curious about psychedelic drugs? Specifically, are you curious about how an acid (LSD) trip would feel? LSD has been around for quite some time, but is this psychedelic drug safe, and what does it actually do?

Read on to learn everything you should know about acid and what to expect from a trip.

What Is Acid (LSD)?

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is among the most common hallucinogenic drugs, alongside psilocybin mushrooms and MDMA. LSD, also known as acid, can cause a person to have wildly vivid hallucinations that alter their perception of reality.

There is no scent or color to this drug, and it can come in many different forms, including on a thin square of gelatin, a tablet, a clear liquid, tiny pellets, or on blotter paper.

While most forms of LSD are taken by mouth, some forms, like liquid and gelatin, are often taken through the eyes. The effects can last around twelve hours, depending on how much the user has ingested.

What Is the History of LSD?

LSD has gone through quite a rise and fall over the years. It all began when one chemist accidentally discovered LSD — the world quickly became fascinated with its effects for medicinal use. LSD quickly became a well-known drug that would change the next decade in ways that were not previously imaginable.

The drug eventually became categorized as a Schedule I drug in the US, making it illegal to use, but that hasn’t stopped its use or medicinal research altogether.

In fact, psychedelics may be the future for treating various mental illnesses.

When Was LSD Invented?

LSD was created by chemist Albert Hofmann in the late 1930s after he spent years attempting to stabilize the quickly decomposing molecule lysergic acid. It was not until 1943 that he discovered LSD’s mind-altering effects. From there, Hofmann’s curiosity took off, and he began intentionally ingesting it to further understand its effects.

Knowing it was a bad idea to ingest lab tests this early in the process, Hofmann did it anyways, sparking an extraordinary surge in the medical community. Chemists and psychologists in the medical community quickly became fascinated with the idea that this psychomimetic drug could be the key to understanding various mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

What’s the Research on LSD?

In the mid-1950s, research progressed, and chemists began discovering that LSD did way more to the brain than mimic psychosis; it was around this time that the term psychedelic became the accepted definition for this type of drug.

While psychedelic studies persisted, by the 1960s, people began to catch on and misuse LSD. This drug abuse ultimately led to the ban on psychedelics.

The ban on LSD in most countries eventually led to a halt in the research of LSD for medicinal use. However, in recent years psychedelic research has picked back up.

What Are the Physical Effects of LSD?

LSD has various physical effects that often vary from person to person. These effects include dilated pupils, changes in appetite, increased body temperature, sleeplessness, dry mouth, dizziness, increased blood pressure, and increased heart rate.

While most people are aware of the psychological effects before taking LSD, they are often not aware of these physical effects. It’s important to understand them so that you can prepare yourself and ensure that you are in the best physical environment to endure these effects if you are planning on using them.

Dilated Pupils

Dilated pupils happen when your pupils become larger than normal. This can happen for many reasons, including the use of LSD.

But what effect does this truly have on you?

Your pupils grow or shrink in size with the amount of light they are being exposed to. This reaction protects your eyes and allows you to see better in darker and brighter situations. By causing your pupils to dilate, LSD directly impairs the ability of your eyes to react to bright light, ultimately causing it to take longer for your eyes to adjust.

Changes in Appetite

Users of LSD may experience a loss in appetite for several potential reasons. First, the experience of being on a trip is intense. So, whether you are enjoying your experience or experiencing unwanted psychological effects, you may be so caught up in the experience that you forget to eat.

Second, the physical effects are often intense. A rise in heart rate and blood pressure or consistent dizziness often deter people from eating.

The effects of LSD last a very long time, so continued use of LSD while not eating during each trip can lead to serious health risks and physical depletion.

Will LSD Keep You Awake?

The short answer to this question is, yes, it will.

While under the effects of this psychedelic drug, you will often experience increased energy. This can be brought on by the rise in heart rate or the psychedelic experience itself. LSD leads the user down a path of strange perception where it becomes possible to hear colors and see sounds. This type of sensory input often inhibits people from falling asleep.

Of course, after the experience has ended, you may be subject to fatigue and exhaustion, which could lead to sleep. However, depending on when you took the drug, your sleep schedule may be off-balance for several days.  


Taking acid has been known to cause the user’s internal body temperature to rise significantly, leading to a rise in blood pressure and perspiration. It is not uncommon to finish a psychedelic experience and realize that you have sweated almost entirely through your shirt, especially if it was an unpleasant trip.

For those wanting to take LSD, it’s better to be in a safe environment with a cool temperature alongside a sober friend. This way, you can maximize comfort and minimize the possibility of having a physically intense trip.

What Are the Psychological Effects of Acid?

Acid has a very intense psychological effect on its users. Each trip comes with unpredictability and vivid hallucinations or visual distortions that can alter a person’s perception and mood.

Depending on how much you take, your mood, and the external environment in which you take it in, acid can cause you to see, feel, and hear things that aren’t actually there. On top of this, you may lose your sense of time and space, experience a rise in the sensitivity of your senses, or experience uncontrollable emotions.

The main aspects of an LSD experience that people are most curious about are the hallucinations during a trip, the length of a trip, how bad a trip can get, and if it’s possible to make sure you have a good trip.

Tripping on Acid and Hallucinating

One of the main purposes for the use of LSD is the distorted reality and change in perception it provides. Many people experience the quintessential kaleidoscope-like effect of moving shapes, colors, and geometric patterns.

Others experience a change in the perception of their surroundings, including seeing enlarged objects, hearing colors, and seeing sounds. These hallucinations, however they manifest themselves, are referred to as trips.

How Long Do Acid Trips Last?

The length of an acid trip depends greatly on your physical attributes and how much you take. Things like age, weight, height, and dose of LSD are major factors in how your body responds to the drug.

On average, you can expect to start experiencing these effects between 20 and 90 minutes after ingestion. Most people experience roughly a 12-hour trip, but trips can be as short as six hours or as long as 15 hours. Once you come out of your trip, you will be in what is known as the afterglow.

During this time, you may still be experiencing slight effects of the drug. This can last for up to 12 hours as well. In many cases, it takes an entire 24-hour period for the effects of acid to completely wear off.

What Is a Bad Trip?

While an acid trip can be profound and come with exciting images and experiences, it can also be a terrible experience. This is known as a bad trip.

Depending on your mood, emotional state, and physical environment, an LSD trip could be good or bad. If you are upset, in an emotionally rough state, under the influence of alcohol, or in a physically stimulating environment, this can be a recipe for a bad trip.

Bad trips are completely subjective and will look different for every person, but here is a list of various experiences that can occur during a bad trip:

  • The feeling of paranoia
  • Feeling as though time is no longer moving forward
  • Uncontrollable emotions and mood
  • Fear
  • A negative interpretation of hallucinations
  • A negative and severe interpretation of your surroundings  

The user can’t stop a bad trip. It will only begin to go away as the effects of the drug wear off. However, having a sober friend there to help you may alleviate some of the symptoms and cause the trip to become better.

Can You Avoid Bad Trips on LSD?

LSD is a very unpredictable drug that can cause good or bad trips no matter where you are, how you are feeling, or who you are with. If you want to take LSD and are afraid of having a bad trip, there are various precautions you should take, and even then, you may still have a bad trip.

No strategy will completely eliminate the possibility of having a bad trip. Ultimately the only way of doing that is by not taking LSD and exploring other options.

Ketamine Experiences vs. Acid Trips: What’s the Difference?

With the rise in research on psychedelics and the treatment of mental illness, ketamine, which was originally FDA-approved as an anesthetic, has surfaced as a very promising option for those with treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and even other illnesses like addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Using high doses, the effects of ketamine trips can be very similar to those of acid trips. A trip can bring realistic hallucinations and perceptions that are anywhere from highly enjoyable to one of the scariest experiences of your lifetime. This is why large doses taken without medical supervision are not recommended.

For mental health purposes, ketamine has proven to be much more useful for treating depression, anxiety, and PTSD than LSD. Not to mention it avoids many of the side effects that typically come with antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Some treatment centers offer ketamine in the form of a simple oral pill that you can take in the comfort of your own home with virtual supervision. This helps ensure you have the best experience possible during your ketamine session.

Is Ketamine Safer Than LSD?

Ketamine does come with many of the same physical side effects as LSD. However, it has proven much safer when used in a clinical setting. While LSD has yet to be accepted and used in the medical community, ketamine is available for those eligible for treatment.

The Bottom Line

Acid trips can either be an eye-opening experience that alters your perception and creates a new perspective, or an intense experience full of fear and frightening hallucinations. Whether they are good or bad, the hallucinations and other effects are largely uncontrollable and unpredictable. It depends on you, your mental state, and your external environment.  

While many people use LSD, it is not accepted for clinical use. Ketamine, on the other hand, has made groundbreaking strides in the medical community for the treatment of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.

Treatment at Nue Life

Nue Life believes in holistic treatment, which means that what happens before and after your ketamine experience is equally as important as the experience itself. We want to ensure you have meaningful takeaways from your experiences and help you establish positive new neural pathways.

That’s why we provide one-on-one health coaching and integration group sessions with each of our programs. We’re here to help map out the mind and body connections in your brain and help you discover the insights that lead to true healing.


LSD | Michigan Medicine

The Rise and Fall of LSD | Los Angeles Review of Books

Ketamine for major depression: New tool, new questions | Harvard Health

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