LSD And It’s Potential Adverse Effects

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LSD And It’s Potential Adverse Effects

LSD, from a toxicology standpoint, is quite safe as no human deaths have been documented from an overdose, orally. [1] Additionally, there is no evidence that LSD can cause permanent physiological effects on the brain. [2] However, on LSD, one may be unable to make sound judgements about everyday situations such as crossing the street. The user is more susceptible to bodily harm because of this temporary confusion joined by memory impairment. A “bad trip” can occur when the user has a panic attack due to extreme anxiety, but once the trip is over, no conclusive negative effects have been proven to stay with the user. Although for people already with a mental disorder such as depression or schizophrenia, LSD can worsen the condition.

With that being said, some data was collected that suggested that healthy people had undergone an LSD induced psychosis. [5] In a paper by Cohen in 1960, data was analyzed from 44 therapists who had administered LSD and estimated that a single case out of 1,250 volunteers, where coincidentally, volunteers identical twin were schizophrenic. However, with psychiatric patients, just seven cases among 3850 patients were reported having an LSD induced psychosis. [6] Melleson reported that nine per 1,000 psychiatric patients reported signs of psychosis. [7] The patients who were treated with psychosis already had mental health issues, so it is not possible to verifiability conclude that the psychosis was in fact due to LSD administration. Cohen notes that without justification, LSD became the cause of mental illness such as migraines. [8] Cohen’s conclusions was that with proper precautions such as not administering dosages to the mentally unfit, LSD should be considered an overall safe drug. A recent survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, showed that out of over 130,000 respondents, 80% had not used LSD. There was no link between psychedelic drug use and mental health problems, but rather the opposite as the trend suggested that psychedelic users had a lower risk of mental health problems than the control group.[9]

Psychedelic Landscape' by Andrew Osta

Psychedelic Landscape’ by Andrew Osta

“Flashbacks” are typically short, and derive from negative and positive aspects of LSD trips and are mainly triggered by cannabis use and stress. In Blumenfields studies in 1971, 20% of people without known psychiatric disorders experienced flashbacks. [10] It must be noted that flashbacks are reported by a higher proportion in psychiatric patients. [11] It is worth noting that with Sidney Cohen’s experiments in 1960, not one flashback was reported. [12] Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) is a medically recognized syndrome, where visuals such as tracers are persistent. [11] It is rather difficult to gauge how common HPPD as many people are not willing to come forward to their physician and reveal their psychotropic use. However, many people within the psychedelic community have self diagnosed themselves with HPPD. The cause for why just some individuals experience this is still unknown. Inability to adjust ones own visual acuity to the change in the environment can lead to an abnormal amount of neurones firing in the brain and in a study where 44 HPPD subjects who had ingested LSD previously, irregularities in the brains spontaneous electrical activity were reported.


  1. Passie T, Halpern JH, Stichtenoth DO, Emrich HM, Hintzen A (November 11, 2008). “The Pharmacology of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: A Review”. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics 14 (4): 295–314.
  2. “The Pharmacology of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: A Review” (PDF). Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  3. LSD AND ORGANIC BRAIN IMPAIRMENT S Cohen, AE Edwards – Drug dependence, 1969
  4. Erowid LSD (Acid) Vaults: Health: Excerpt from Strassman’s Adverse Reactions to Psychedelic Drugs”. March 25, 1993.
  5. Strassman RJ (1984). “Adverse reactions to psychedelic drugs. A review of the literature”. J Nerv Ment Dis 172 (10): 577–95.
  6. Cohen S (January 1960). “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: Side Effects and Complications” (PDF). Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 130 (1): 30–40
  7. Malleson N (1971). “Acute Adverse Reactions to LSD in Clinical and Experimental Use in the United Kingdom” (PDF). Br J Psychiatry 118 (543): 229–30
  8. Krebs, Teri; Pal-Orjan Johansen (August 19, 2013). “Psychedelics and Mental Health: A Population Study”
  9. Blumenfield M (1971). “Flashback phenomena in basic trainees who enter the US Air Force”. Military Medicine 136 (1): 39–41. PMID 5005369.
  10. David Abrahart (1998). “A Critical Review of Theories and Research Concerning Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and Mental Health”. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  11. Edward, Brecher. “The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs (1971): Chapter 51”.
  12. Abraham HD, Duffy FH (1996). “Stable quantitative EEG difference in post-LSD visual disorder by split-half analysis: Evidence for disinhibition”. Psychiatry Research 67 (3): 173–187
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About The Author
Amir Pouya
I'm the Founder, Designer and Developer of I have a love and interest for the history and chemistry of visionary plants and their interaction with humankind. I believe these plants and their effects to not be Hallucinations, but another form of reality we are yet to fully understand. The reason for this website is to gather as much information as possible to eventually be able to put together some sort of explanation as to What these plants are, Why they exists and How they have these extraordinary effects on Human Consciousness.
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