How Long Does LSD Stay in Your System?

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What Is LSD?

LSD, short for Lysergic acid diethylamide, is a psychedelic drug known for its hallucinogenic effects. It’s derived from the ergot fungus, which grows on rye and other grains, and then synthesized in a lab.

Common names for LSD include:

  • Acid
  • Blotter
  • Dots
  • Tabs
  • Windowpane
  • Microdots
  • Lucy


LSD acts primarily on the serotonin receptors in the brain, particularly the 5-HT2A receptor. These receptors are involved in the regulation of a variety of brain functions, including mood, cognition, and perception.

The history of LSD dates back to 1938 when the drug was first synthesized in a lab by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman. For the first two decades, the drug was primarily used as a research chemical to replicate the symptoms of psychosis.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, various experiments were conducted into possible military applications of LSD. Entities like the CIA used the drug on thousands of unknowing participants to study its possible application for mind control.

Starting in the 1960s, LSD began being featured prominently in popular culture. Authors like Aldous Huxley and psychologist Timothy Leary touted the drug’s ability to expand consciousness and promote spiritual growth.

One of its nicknames, “Lucy,” was used prominently in the title of the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” a thinly veiled reference to the drug. Likewise, its influence could be seen in the psychedelic rock music of bands like The Doors, the Grateful Dead, Cream, and others.

Since the early 21st century, there has been a resurgence of interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of LSD and other psychedelics. Many researchers are excited about the potential benefits microdosing LSD can have for treating disorders such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety. However, more research is needed at this time.

What Are the Side Effects of LSD?

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that alters the user’s thoughts, perceptions, and feelings. The effects of the drug can be unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person, depending on factors like the dose, the person’s mood, and their environment when they take the drug.

While some users have reported positive experiences such as spiritual revelations and enhanced creativity, the drug can also cause several potential adverse effects. These may include:

Physical Effects:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Nausea


Psychological Effects:

  • Hallucinations, changes in perception of time and space
  • Altered thought processes
  • Feelings of euphoria, anxiety, or panic
  • Paranoia, fear, and distress
  • Impulsive behavior and poor decision-making
  • Psychosis in rare cases


One particularly dangerous potential effect of LSD use is a “bad trip,” during which the person experiences intense fear, anxiety, and disturbing hallucinations. These can be profoundly traumatic and may even result in self-harm or harm to others in severe cases.

It’s important to note that while the drug has been used in research and therapeutic settings, it’s currently classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, which means it’s illegal and considered to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. As with any drug, its use can have serious legal and health implications.

This is not an exhaustive list and the effects can vary greatly from person to person. Always consult with a healthcare provider for information about the risks associated with drug use.

Can You Overdose on Acid?

You can overdose on acid, but not in the same way as you can heroin, alcohol, or other drugs. In other words, an acid overdose won’t kill you. And unlike those substances, acid is not physically addictive. However, it can be psychologically addictive, and this can lead to a habit of continually using the drug despite negative consequences.

An individual who takes a large amount of LSD may experience intense hallucinations, paranoia, panic, psychosis, and confusion. This can lead to risky behaviors, including accidents or self-harm. In extreme cases, these intense trips can trigger long-term mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If someone takes LSD and begins to experience distressing symptoms, it’s important to get them immediate medical help. Medical professionals can provide supportive care, including managing anxiety and panic, and ensuring the individual’s safety until the drug’s effects wear off.

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How Long Does LSD Stay In Your System?

Detecting LSD in someone’s system via drug tests is possible after use. The effects of LSD can last anywhere from 9 to 12 hours, depending on how the drug is administered:

  • 100-250 mg oral dose — Effects will be felt within 30-45 minutes, peaking between one and two and a half hours after consumption. The total “trip” lasts between 9 and 12 hours.
  • 100-250 mg intramuscular injection —  Onset of LSD effects can be in as little as 15 minutes, peaking within the first hour of injection. Total trip may last between 9 to 10 hours.
  • 40-180 mg intravenous injection —  Effects are almost instantaneous. Peak LSD effects are within the first hour, with the entire experience lasting 9 to 10 hours.
  • 20-60 mg intraspinal dose —  Effects begin to be felt around the one-hour mark, peaking shortly thereafter. Total trip takes around 9 to 10 hours.

How long LSD remains detectable in your system depends on the method of test:

  • Blood test —  Six to twelve hours after use
  • Urine test —  Two to four days after use
  • Hair test —  Up to 90 days

It’s important to remember that these are general guidelines and can vary widely based on individual factors such as body mass, metabolic rate, overall health, frequency of use, and the specific dose taken.

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)

Some former users of LSD have reported feeling its effects weeks, months, or even years after their last use. These “acid flashbacks” are referred to in the medical literature as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, or HPPD for short.

HPPD is a rare condition characterized by a continual presence of sensory disturbances, most commonly visual phenomena, that are reminiscent of those generated by the use of hallucinogenic substances. Many users of LSD and other hallucinogens have reported “flashbacks,” or episodes in which the user experiences some effects of a previous trip. This phenomenon can happen days, weeks, or even months after the last drug use.

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Addiction Treatment at South Coast Behavioral Health

Substance abuse is a serious issue that can impact one’s physical health, mental well-being, relationships, and daily life activities. If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of addiction, South Coast Behavioral Health can help. If you’re wondering if the presence of LSD can be detected in your system after use, the answer is yes. The effects of acid can be devastating on someone’s life. Turn things around with help from an addiction treatment center. 

Before beginning treatment with us you’ll go through our comprehensive medical detox program here in Southern California. We offer gender-specific detoxes in Irvine and Huntington Beach for men and women, respectively.

Residential Treatment in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Huntington Beach

After successfully completing medical detox, you’ll transition to residential treatment, also known as inpatient treatment. Our Southern California residential treatment program offers highly structured environments and experts in treating LSD addiction.

There, you’ll receive medically-assisted treatment and dual diagnosis treatment to deal with any cravings or co-occurring mental health issues you may be battling. In addition to individual and group counseling, you’ll also have access to leisure activities and family support services.

Partial Hospitalization in Newport Beach

A step down from inpatient care but with more structure than conventional outpatient programs, a partial hospitalization program offers a good balance for those looking to ease back into normal life.

Clients undergoing Partial Hospitalization in Newport Beach can receive care five to seven days a week for a number of hours each day. When therapy sessions end, they can go back home in the evening.

This way, they can recover without putting their daily lives on hold, receiving intense therapeutic interventions like group and individual therapy, skill development, and medication management as necessary.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Newport Beach

Clients undergoing Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Newport Beach participate in intensive therapy sessions, meeting three to five days a week, with each session lasting three hours. This level of care is a step down from partial hospitalization, requiring less time commitment.

IOPs offer participants the ability to continue their employment or academic obligations, receiving support and therapy as needed as they prepare to reenter society.

We can also help with sober living and aftercare to help prevent relapse back into substance abuse. 

Get Started Today

If you or a loved one are thinking of seeking addiction treatment but have questions, call us at 866-881-1184. Through options like dual diagnosis treatment and other evidence-based therapies, we can help you get better. Our highly qualified staff will be happy to help give you an idea on what to expect from your addiction recovery timeline, help verify your insurance, and assist with any other questions you may have.

Pierce Willans
Kelly McIntyre
Medically Reviewed by Kelly McIntyre, MS, LMFT
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