Medically Reviewed

How Long Does an Acid Trip Last?

- 7 sections

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Acid is the popular term for LSD, a psychedelic drug that has been used for recreational and therapeutic reasons since its discovery in 1943. Acid is a human-made substance derived from a fungus called ergot.

Popular media depict acid trips as colorful, sometimes disturbing events. But what happens to your mind and body when using acid–and how long does an acid trip last?

As psychedelic drugs gain popularity across the country, it’s important to understand their risks and effects so that you can make informed decisions about your substance use and seek treatment for substance abuse when needed.

This article will examine how acid works in the body, its effects and risks, and how long an acid trip can last. If you or someone in your life needs professional help to stop using acid or other addictive substances, you can find help by contacting the PAX Memphis team to learn about our treatment programs or set up an intake assessment.

What is Acid?

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is commonly called “acid,” It is a potent psychoactive drug that has long-lasting effects. Acid is derived from a fungus called ergot, which can be found growing on rye and other types of grain.

Acid has a chemical structure similar to serotonin, a naturally occurring neurotransmitter (brain chemical) involved in feelings of pleasure and contentment. Acid binds to serotonin receptors, causing the visual and physical effects commonly associated with acid, which include:

  • Color and shape distortion
  • Hallucinations
  • Unusual patterns
  • Synesthesia (senses being “mixed up,” such as hearing colors)

Acid is a colorless, odorless liquid that may be added to absorbent paper squares, capsules, or sugar cubes, which people ingest by mouth.

The Effects and Risks of Acid

Acid can cause significant changes in how you perceive your environment, mood, body, and thoughts. It can be challenging to determine what is real and what is imaginary. People typically experience mental and physical effects during an acid trip.

Mental and perceptual effects

Acid causes strong hallucinogenic effects. People may have extremely heightened senses and feel that their surroundings are amplified or altered dramatically. People often experience:

  • Brighter, more intense colors
  • Changing shapes
  • Trails following objects
  • Unusual patterns
  • “Noisy” colors and shapes

People may also experience altered moods, feeling happier, relaxed, and content, or experiencing waves of intense joy and excitement.

But acid trips can also intensify negative moods, such as anger or frustration. If people take acid while upset about something, they may experience heightened negative feelings during their trip.

Physical effects

People may experience a range of physical effects during an acid trip, including:

  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Higher body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremors and shakiness
  • Insomnia

Physical symptoms of an acid trip typically disappear within 24 hours of using LSD.


Acid is a very potent drug, and it can be difficult to determine how much you are using. While death and severe complications from using acid are relatively rare, negative side effects are possible. These include:

  • A “bad trip” that causes distressing, confusing, or terrifying hallucinations
  • Tolerance, meaning you need to take increasingly larger doses to get the desired effects
  • Flashbacks from trips that can occur days, weeks, or months after your last acid trip
  • Increased likelihood of developing schizophrenia in people predisposed to it
  • Legal trouble because of possession of acid
  • Increased risk of injury or death because of impaired judgment or hallucinations

Using acid can cause significant disruption in your mental and physical health. People who use acid frequently may develop tolerance to it and require professional help to stop taking it.

How Long Does an Acid Trip Last?

People generally experience the onset of symptoms within 20 to 90 minutes of ingesting acid. Effects typically last anywhere from 6 to 15 hours, but a “trip” usually doesn’t last more than 12 hours.

After the intense symptoms of an acid trip dissipate, some people may have lingering effects of anxiety, happiness, or contentment for up to 6 hours. In general, a person who uses acid will return to their natural state in about 24 hours after taking the drug.

Some factors can affect how long an acid trip lasts, including:

  • Other substances you’ve used at the same time
  • The dose and potency of the acid you’re using
  • Your body size

Acid may be detectable in your urine for up to a day and a half after you use it. People who use acid frequently may develop tolerance to the drug, meaning they need to use greater doses to get the effects they desire. This can put them at increased risk of adverse or long-lasting effects.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment Now

If you or someone you love needs help to overcome drug and alcohol abuse, you are not alone. Compassionate, effective treatment is available at PAX Memphis. Reach out to our dedicated intake specialists now to learn more about our supportive addiction treatment programs or to schedule an intake assessment.