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LSD Overdose – What are the Symptoms? Is it Lethal?

LSD Overdose signs

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In most cases, LSD overdose happen when people take too much of it. Once ingested, the body rapidly absorbs it into the bloodstream. Then, the blood flow will help it reach the brain. It is available in the form of oral pills, capsules and occasionally liquids.
LSD (D-lysergic acid diethylamide acid) is a powerful hallucinogen. It means it can result in hallucinations after user takes it. Furthermore, the chemical may have effects long after the initial “trip”. Users call them “flashbacks”. In fact, these things can occur for months or years after the hallucinogen use.

Presently, it has no known medical use. Notably, overdoses can be attributed to recreational use. Because it is inexpensive, drug abusers are more likely to overdose on it. Unfortunately, Both intentional and accidental overdosing are possible. Non-medical or recreational use of LSD is considered an abuse. Purchasing, selling or possessing can be legally prosecuted.

Synonyms: dots or microdot, windowpane, and Yellow Sunshine

Table of Contents

Symptoms of LSD Overdose

Once user takes it, it starts to show the effects within an hour. The symptoms reach their peak after about 2-4 hours. Then, it may last for up to 12 hours after that.
The early signs may include:

  • Extremely enlarged pupils
  • High blood pressure
  • Racing pulse
  • Excessive shakiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal sweating
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Tingling sensation
  • Wakefulness

A set of potentially dangerous symptoms may occur. These include:

  • Too fast or too slow heartbeat
  • Very high body temperature (hyperthermia)
  • Convulsions
  • Coma (very rare)
  • Extreme restlessness
  • No breathing
  • Bleeding problems

Indeed, the symptoms may become more severe when one uses LSD with other drugs or alcohol.

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LSD Overdose Effects Body and Brain

Dangers of LSD OverdoseLSD is structurally similar to one of many potent chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters). Scientists call it serotonin. Being that, LSD disrupts the normal function of the serotonin system in the brain. As a result, it leads to altered thinking, perception, mood and emotion. That being the case, this is where users get the hallucinations.
Similarly, it also affects the areas of the brain that release Norepinephrine. This is another active neurotransmitter. It has a central role in regulating blood pressure, breathing, heart functions and body secretions like sweating.

Therefore, LSD overdose symptoms can range anywhere from fear and euphoria to loss of breathing ability. Consequently, users may pass out from the lack of oxygen to their brain.

LSD Overdose Amount

The strength of samples obtained from illicit sources ranges from 20-80 mcg of LSD per dose which can be easily bought on the streets. This is according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Normally, most abusers get the high they want with a dose of 50-200 mcg.
Understandably, one dose of LSD is enough to produce the symptoms on the body and the mind.

  • Low cost: A single dose to get high can cost as low as $2.
  • Potent mind-altering effects: It is effective even at very low doses.
  • Attractive packaging: Most LSD products in the market are packaged in attractive containers. They are small stamps featuring cartoon characters.
  • So-called brain booster: In addition to getting high, some college students also use it to enhance their memory. However, there is no evidence that it can improve the memory.

At any rate, Americans seem to have some sort of fetish for LSD. In 2010, 6.4% of young Americans aged 18-25 years had used it at some time in their life. This is according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

LSD overdose death

Oddly enough, there has been no reports of case of death due to LSD overdose. Scientists estimate that a lethal dose is 14,000mcg. Understandably, massive doses should be taken to overdose. Reports also indicate attempts of suicide by ingestion. However, they did not result in death, just hospital visits.

Emergency LSD Overdose Treatment

Presently, there is no known antidote to LSD.

However, there are treatments that will address the various overdose symptoms. Fortunately, an immediate treatment produces successful results in almost every case of overdose.They include:

  • Benzos to suppress agitation in patients who do not calm down with behavioral intervention.
  • Blood pressure lowering agents to cut back abnormal perceptions and normalize the blood pressure.
  • Activated Charcoal: if the patient receives the treatment within an hour of taking LSD by mouth. This may help to reduce its absorption inside the digestive tract.
  • Artificial ventilation to facilitate breathing
  • Fluid injections to treat very low blood pressure and symptoms of dehydration caused by hyperthermia.
  • Medications to treat bleeding problems: one may need to take blood-thinning agents if they have blood clots inside the body.

How To Help Someone Having LSD Overdose?

Do someone nearby have LSD overdose? Call local emergency number 911. Or call the national toll-free Poison Help hotline. It can be reached it from anywhere in the United States to get the LSD addiction treatment consultation.
Looking for professional medical help for addictions? Talk to experts nearby.

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  1. Klock J. C., Boerner U., Becker C. E. Coma, hyperthermia and bleeding associated with massive LSD overdose. A report of eight cases. Western Journal of Medicine. 1974; 120(3): 183–188.
  2. Wargo A. Possible LSD Overdose. The Elm. 2018.
Olivier George

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.


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