LSD is a powerful synthetic psychedelic that has had a powerful influence on Western culture. Despite early studies showing that LSD had powerful healing potential, governments around the world declared LSD an illegal substance in the early 1970s. With the current rise in popularity of psychedelics, new research into LSD is reviving interest in its therapeutic properties.
The first question many people ask after deciding to take LSD is: Can you swallow an LSD blotter/tab? The answer is that you can swallow the blotter or tab, but allowing the LSD to absorb sublingually before swallowing it accelerates the onset of the experience as the LSD enters the bloodstream more rapidly.
Because of this, we recommend holding the LSD blotter/tab under your tongue for 15 minutes before swallowing it. Chewing the tab will also hasten the absorption of LSD further.
Either way, swallowing the tab will not harm you, as the LSD will still be absorbed through your stomach, and the piece of paper won’t do any damage.
Before taking LSD, it is critical to understand what can happen once the substance is ingested. Read on to find out different ways to safely take LSD and the interactions between the dose and the experience.
LSD can be taken in more than one way:
- LSD is most commonly manufactured as a liquid that is transferred and dried onto a large sheet of blotter paper. Pieces of blotter paper are then chewed or swallowed to ingest the LSD. These small pieces of blotter are known as “tabs.” Each tab will have a pre-measured amount of LSD on it, usually 100 micrograms (μg), but this can vary.
- Although now fairly obsolete, people can also take LSD in the form of “microdots” – tiny crystals of pure LSD in a small pill.
- LSD liquid can also be absorbed through the skin – as LSD inventor Albert Hofmann accidentally discovered when he spilled some in his lab. Liquid LSD is rare these days, but it is easy to take. A drop simply needs to be held in the mouth or swallowed. It used to be popular to add a drop of liquid LSD to a sugar cube.
These days, the most common way to take LSD is by swallowing or chewing tabs.
What Is LSD and What Does It Look Like?
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a classic psychedelic that comes from a chemical in a fungus that grows on rye bread and other grains. Albert Hofmann first synthesized the substance in Switzerland in 1938, and was unaware of its psychoactive properties until he accidentally came into physical contact with it while working at his laboratory several years later. On April 16th, 1943, Hofmann became aware that he had created a unique psychoactive molecule – but he could not anticipate the full impact it would go on to have on mainstream culture.
LSD crystals are white and rectangular, and the liquid is colorless and odorless. Usually, LSD liquid is added to blotter paper, which is an absorbent paper. The paper is divided into small squares, which are called tabs. Each square is usually one moderate dose, i.e. 100 micrograms. “Sheets” of blotter paper are often decorated with colorful patterns or designs.
The Effects of LSD
The impact LSD has on the mind and body varies from person to person. Many factors affect how someone responds to LSD, including:
- Prior experience with psychedelics
- Current mindset (intentions and mental health)
- Being in the presence, or absence of, an experienced sitter or facilitator
- Time of day
- Environment, location, safety and comfort
- Interactions with other substances
Even in ideal conditions, LSD can be unpredictable. There is no way of perfectly anticipating what the effects of LSD will be in a single session.
In general, LSD will induce an experience involving both visual, auditory, somatic and introspective elements, such as:
- Seeing colorful patterns or rhythmic “breathing” in surroundings or objects
- Becoming more sensitive to light and sound
- Feeling enhanced or altered auditory perception
- A “body high” that can feel like tingling, gentle warmth, or tension
- Profound shifts in the way you understand reality
- Deep introspections into your own personal life
These effects may not appear in every LSD experience, but are most commonly associated with different phases of the trip.
Phases of LSD
Despite differences between individual experiences, the phases of an LSD trip can often follow a predictable pattern. The phases include the following steps.
- There is a stage of mental preparation a tripper goes through before the experience. Often, trippers take this phase to get into a mindset that lends itself to an enjoyable experience later.
- Ingesting LSD is the next phase.
- The onset of LSD is when the substance begins to take effect. This could happen within the first half hour, but many participants report it sometimes takes up to two hours for onset. Because of differences in metabolic rate and differences in each batch of LSD, there is not a standard onset time.
- The next phase is the beginning of visual effects. These are often minor at first but can become more intense later.
- Some people report feeling some anxiety during this come up phase, and a body high is also often observed at this point.
- The peak of the LSD experience is where the psychedelic effects reach their height. This is a time of strong emotions, and often the mental and introspective aspects of psychedelics have overtaken the visual and sensory effects at this point.
- During the so-called fractal phase, there is often an intense sense of harmony with the world, and patterns are noted.
- Following this, users may encounter a sense of spirituality and connection to the world. This is the phase where studies note the brain reacts as though in deep meditation, and the impact of this sense of spirituality has long-lasting positive outcomes for many people suffering from past traumas.
- As participants enter the comedown phase, cravings for food may begin, and participants sometimes report intense experiences with flavor. As the comedown phase continues, participants often also report feeling as if they are returning to their body, and starting to feel more grounded. It is often likened to returning home after a storm.
- In the end, participants are often left with a sense of happiness and connection to self and the world.
The LSD experience typically lasts between 6-12 hours, but the length of the experience can be highly variable.
LSD vs. LSD Analogs
LSD analogs are synthetic molecules that mimic the effects of the parent substance. LSD analogs are designed to have the same properties of LSD.
- 1-Propionyl-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, or 1P-LSD, is an analog that immediately metabolizes in the body as LSD. This makes it essentially identical to LSD, but it bypasses the law in some countries.
- Another analog is 6-allyl-6-nor-lysergic acid diethylamide, or AL-LAD. AL-LAD has a shorter life and has similar psychological effects as LSD, but is often described as being less likely to create anxiety in users.
Research found that participants described the experience with analogs to be like that of LSD, even though the strength was weaker.
Responsible Use of LSD
Users need to be responsible regarding the use of LSD. Although LSD is physiologically nontoxic and harmless in moderate doses, any mind-altering substance can significantly alter behavior and sometimes result in the participant becoming a danger to themselves or others.
Harm reduction is a key concept in psychedelic use. In the case of LSD, this means making sure you know your dose, taking a small dose if you are a beginner, ensuring you are taking a pure substance, and taking LSD in the presence of an experienced sober sitter or facilitator.
It’s also advisable to take LSD in comfortable, familiar surroundings, after taking significant time to prepare for the experience. Good planning will help ensure you will be safe and engaged throughout the process.
Identifying Unwanted Compounds in LSD
The most common adulterant with LSD is a class of compounds called NBOMes. These have a very bitter taste. Unlike LSD, NBOMes have some physical toxicity at moderate doses, and are more likely to produce negative experiences.
There is no measure for quality control of LSD, but users can check for purity themselves. Drug Policy Alliance, in its Drug Checking Fact Sheet, recommends two different types of tests:
- Reagent testing is liquid drops that are applied to a sample. The chemistry of the test creates a color change that helps discover substances in the sample. Ehrlich’s reagent is most commonly used to test LSD, and it can be bought online.
- Fentanyl testing includes strips to detect fentanyl or fentanyl analogs in substances. This is to help mitigate the rise in fentanyl-related deaths. Adulteration of LSD with fentanyl is very rare, but can be lethal.
You can also have your LSD tabs sent off to testing labs, which can provide you with total confidence that your substance has not been adulterated.
Dosing of LSD
Dosage awareness is an important part of reducing harm for trippers. LSD is measured in micrograms (μg). It is advised to stick with small doses at first, and avoid very high doses unless you are experienced; however, in reality doses can be variable, and sometimes even small doses can have powerful effects. The following chart serves as a guideline for decision making as it pertains to expectations for a dose.
|1-25μg||Low dose or microdose, likely to have barely perceptible or only slightly perceptible effects, including enhanced colors or improved mood.|
|25-75μg||Mild to moderate experience with noticeable changes in perception, a good starter dose.|
|75-150μg||Substantial or full experience with more potent effects. 100μg is usually the dose on a single tab.|
|150-300μg||Strong experience, with profound shifts in perception. .|
|300μg and above||Intense experience, almost guaranteed to provoke feelings of loss of self (ego loss) and profound, possibly uncomfortable, realizations. Use with caution.|
Whether or not you swallow your LSD blotter, the important thing is to do your research and know what you’re about to experience. Prepare yourself by making sure you know your substance, your dose, and your surroundings.