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Is LSD Addictive?

Last updated on August 16th, 2023

Research on LSD indicates that LSD is not considered to be addictive, nor to cause compulsive use.

What makes LSD so different from highly addictive drugs such as opioids or other stimulants like cocaine?

  1. The intensity of the trip: One reason for LSD to be considered difficult to become addicted to, is the intensity of its effect. The intense and long-lasting experience that comes with using LSD non-medically can be physically and mentally challenging, leading people to limit their frequency of use.
  2. Tolerance: LSD has a quick tolerance build-up, making it difficult to have any effect after more than four days of repeated usage. This is another great reason why it is not recommended to take LSD frequently. Additionally, due to the similar brain receptors involved in their effects, cross-tolerance occurs with psilocybin and LSD, so if someone takes psilocybin mushrooms one day, the effects of taking LSD the next day will be greatly diminished. This is an important point to consider when deciding whether or not to use LSD.

Can you become psychologically dependant on LSD?

While LSD is not considered to be physically addictive, it can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health and lead to the development of a psychological dependence.

Repeated use of LSD can result in the person becoming psychologically dependent on the drug and feeling that they need it in order to cope with the demands of daily life. This can lead to a pattern of continued use, despite negative consequences and a desire to quit.

Why is cocaine addictive and LSD is not?

Cocaine is considered to be addictive because it directly affects the brain’s reward system, increasing the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. This results in a powerful reinforcement of drug-seeking behaviour and a cycle of continued use, despite negative consequences.

In contrast, LSD does not have the same direct effect on the brain’s reward system, and although it can cause profound changes in thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, it is not considered to be physically addictive in the same way that cocaine and other drugs of abuse are.

How can we reduce the risks associated with using LSD?

  1. Dosage: Keep in mind that LSD is active at very low doses, as little as 20 micrograms (0.0000007 oz), and can have vastly different effects depending on the amount taken and the individual.
  2. Timing: It is also important to note that the effects of LSD may not be noticeable for up to an hour after ingestion, and can gradually increase in intensity over the first two hours. To ensure a pleasant experience, it is best to follow the “start low, go slow” method when using LSD.
  3. Setting: LSD has the potential to evoke conscious awareness of subconscious thoughts and feelings, such as repressed memories, feelings about life circumstances, fantasies, or deep fears. If you choose to use LSD, it is important to be in an environment where you feel safe and with people you trust.
  4. TEST YOUR DRUGS. It is thought that is not possible to fatally overdose with LSD. However, due to the lack of quality control regulations under prohibition, doses are often misrepresented and may contain other drugs (DOB, DOI, NBOMe) that do come with more physical risks, including the potential for fatal overdose.

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