How Long Does LSD Last, And What Should You Expect During A Trip?
How long does LSD last? LSD is known to be a long-lasting psychedelic, but how long a trip lasts for you depends on various factors.
In this guide, we will describe the typical duration of the experience, the factors that may shorten or lengthen a trip, and the effects of LSD.
Peter van der Heyden, the co-founder and chief science officer at Psygen, worked with LSD in an underground lab for decades, and believes there is no such thing as a standard dose of acid.
“Unlike other substances, it has this range of dosage, going from mere micrograms up to what are potential heroic doses, well over a milligram,” he says in the book Psyched: Seven Cutting Edge Psychedelics Changing the World. Consider the different ways people refer to experiences associated with varying doses of acid: a microdose, a “museum” dose, and a macrodose all result in something different.
“When you start getting above 100 micrograms, it has yet a different effect. From there, as the dose increases, we see psychedelic effects involving ego loss, mystical-type experiences, and so on,” he says. “To have specific types of activities across the kind of dosage range, which is orders of magnitude from one dose to another, with measurable and distinct effects at each dosage? That’s astounding.”Peter van der Heyden
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How Long Does LSD Last?
Typically, an LSD trip will last for about 8-12 hours. But this needs some further explanation. A 12-hour LSD experience does not mean that you will be having full-blown psychedelic effects from the moment you ingest the drug and then for 12 hours.
As with other psychedelics, LSD has an onset, come up, peak, offset, and after effects. The after effects, however, are those remaining feelings that linger when the trip is over. We will not count those here as part of the duration of an LSD trip.
Let’s go through these different stages of the LSD trip, highlighting how long they last and what you can expect to experience during them.
This refers to the time it takes for the first effects of the drug to appear. For LSD, this is 15-30 minutes. After this amount of time, you might notice a change in your body, such as stimulation, some slight nausea, or a tingling sensation in some areas.
The come up is the stage between the onset and the peak. It is where the intensity of the experience will build. This stage lasts 45-90 minutes. During the come up, you will likely notice an increase in the intensity of physical, emotional, and perceptual effects.
It is common during the come up to experience an increased sense of humor and laughter. It is also normal to feel some anxiety during this stage.
This is the stage when you experience the greatest intensity of effects. This stage lasts 3-5 hours. The peak effects of the drug will vary according to many factors, so it is hard to say precisely what you will experience during this stage. However, with a typical dose of 100 micrograms (mcg), you can experience the following.
- Distortions in the outside world, such as objects morphing and “breathing”
- Enhancement of colors
- Fits of laughter
- An increased appreciation for music
- Positive emotions like joy, euphoria, awe, and gratitude
- Negative feelings like anxiety, fear, and confusion
- Stimulation, making you want to move around
- Insights and lessons
The offset can be thought of as the “coming down” stage. This is when the psychedelic effects diminish. This can last 3-5 hours. During the offset, you can expect the visual and auditory effects to be less intense. The decreasing stimulation may also make you want to relax a bit more.
Many people find that the offset — after the peak — can be highly introspective. At this point, you may find yourself “looking inwards”, thinking about topics, yourself, and your life from different angles. During this stage, you may also start to reflect on what you experienced during the peak.
As mentioned before, the after effects of LSD are not part of the trip, per se, since they don’t involve classic psychedelic effects like perceptual changes, intense emotions, drastic shifts in emotions, and deep introspection.
However, you may experience some fatigue and an “afterglow”, which is a lingering feeling of contentment and well-being. After effects can last 12-48 hours, although the afterglow can last much longer than this.
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The Length Of An LSD Trip Can Vary
While 12 hours is considered normal for the length of an LSD trip, the actual duration can vary, sometimes significantly. Let’s explore what factors can influence this.
The LSD dosage you take can play a big role in how long the experience lasts. If you take a low dose (such as 50mcg), then you may find that the subjective effects of the experience pass after eight hours. If taking a moderate dose of, say, 100mcg, then a 12-hour experience can be expected. When you ingest large doses of LSD, the experience can last longer than this.
For example, it is possible to experience psychedelic effects for up to 24 hours, if you take a high enough dose.
You should think about the relationship between dosage and duration before deciding on what dose of LSD to take. Are you prepared to have a 12+ hour LSD journey?
If you combine LSD with certain other drugs, it is possible to extend how long the psychedelic effects last. For instance, cannabis is known to interact synergistically with LSD. This means that it increases the intensity of LSD’s effects. This is something you should be aware of before trying this combination.
You should also keep in mind that on the tail-end of an LSD trip, you can effectively kickstart the trip back into action by consuming cannabis. This may result in the trip lasting longer than it otherwise would have.
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How To Consume LSD
When taking a blotter tab of LSD, it’s common practice to put the tab on or under your tongue and to leave it there during the onset, swallowing it after 30 minutes or so. This makes the compound enter your system quicker than if you swallowed the tab.
If you have a full stomach before swallowing it, this could further extend the time it takes for the trip to start. However, swallowing the tab rather than letting it sit on your tongue will just extend the onset and come up, and not by much.
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How Long Does LSD Last Compared To Other Psychedelics?
LSD lasts much longer than other psychedelics, but it is not the longest-lasting one (assuming we are comparing similar dosage levels). If the length of an LSD trip is off-putting to you and you would struggle to commit to it, there are, fortunately, psychedelics that involve a more manageable timeframe.
On the other hand, you might enjoy long psychedelic experiences and would like an even longer trip, in which case another long-lasting compound might appeal to you.
Shorter Lasting Psychedelics
- DMT: 5-30 minutes
- 5-MeO-DMT: 10-45 minutes
- Salvia: 10-30 minutes
- Ketamine: 30-60 minutes
- Ayahuasca: 4-6 hours
- Psilocybin Mushrooms: 4-6 hours
Longer Lasting Psychedelics
- Mescaline and Mescaline-Containing Cacti: 10-18 hours
- Ibogaine: 24-30 hours
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How To Prepare For An LSD Trip
LSD is known to be a long-lasting psychedelic. Even when the trip is over, there can still be lingering feelings of stimulation, which, depending on when you took it, may make it difficult to sleep. You need to be prepared for the duration of the LSD experience.
This might mean taking the following into account.
- If you want to ensure you can get a good night’s sleep when the trip is finished, make sure to take your dose early in the day. By doing so, you will give yourself time for any stimulation to wear off, allowing you to fall asleep naturally.
- If you can’t (or don’t want to) take LSD early in the day, you can take other steps to help you fall asleep when it gets to your normal bedtime. This might include meditating, having a hot bath or shower, or using sleeping aids.
- Make sure you have at least a full day to have the experience (ideally, you should have the day after free as well, giving you time for integration). Since LSD can last 12 hours or longer, you don’t want to have any obligations to attend to.
- If you are not in the mood for an experience that is longer than 12 hours, then don’t take a strong dose and don’t re-dose during the trip.
- If you prefer to have a shorter experience, take a low dose of LSD.
- As an LSD trip can last a long time, you want to ensure you have enough to keep you occupied during that time. Some activities that can enhance the quality of the experience are listening to and playing music, walking, drawing, journaling, and watching films.
One of the best ways to prepare for LSD is to accept and embrace how long the experience will last.
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If you take LSD without knowing how long it can last — or you don’t give its duration much thought — you may end up, several hours into the trip, thinking you’ve had enough. This may then turn into thoughts about wishing the experience would end, which is a recipe for a “bad trip“.
It’s not recommended to go into an LSD experience with a pre-existing worry about how long it’s going to last. That just isn’t conducive to a comfortable experience.
Instead, it’s better to recognize that an LSD trip will last a whole day and to only take the compound when you are mentally prepared for that.
When the trip is over, you should also be prepared to experience some possible physical and mental exhaustion. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Also, don’t stress yourself if you find it difficult to fall asleep. That’s normal, too.
After getting some rest, you may find yourself waking up feeling vitalized, happy, and peaceful. This afterglow is most apparent in the day(s) following the LSD trip, but it can sometimes persist, to some degree, for weeks.