How Long Does LSD Stay In Your System

What is LSD?

The full form of LSD is Lysergic acid diethylamide, which chemically synthesized. In 1938, Albert Hofmann first prepared LSD from ergotamine. Ergot contains ergotamine as its chemical derivative1,2.

According to FDA, LSD considers as a Schedule I controlled substance, which indicates LSD has a restriction in clinical use and also has a safety issue in regards of administration1,2.

Usually LSD is orally administered, but it can also take by injection or topically applied on the skin2.

The addiction property of LSD is less in comparison to other addictive drugs. Therefore, it may use for treating alcoholism, severe headaches, death related anxiety often arise in terminal cancer and pain management and to establish these therapeutic benefits of LSD future research is required2.

The Effect Of The LSD

LSD has a hallucinogenic property means LSD can alter mood with human perception ability.  The usual intention to administer LSD is recreational with experiencing a spiritual or psychedelic experience. Therefore, LSD is considered as an  “entheogen.”1


National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that The effect of LSD can stay for 12 hours after administering the drug, whereas the onset of effects starts within  half an hour to one and a half hours3.

The onset and duration of effect of LSD depend on upon dose and formulation of LSD. The most frequently use formulation is blotter (a paper) which provides faster effects in comparison with a liquid form of LSD2.

Addictive effect of LSD

LSD rarely provide addiction. The onset of effect of the LSD is fast, but the reduction of effect also very quick. Even LSD does not provide long lasting withdrawal effect, which can extend for 3 to 4 days.

At the initial stage of LSD administration, the dose requirement for experiencing its hallucinogenic effect is much less, but after using the certain dose repeatedly  for 3 to 4 days, the gradual tolerance developed.

This means the individual require to increase the dose of LSD to get the same effect. Soon after, the dose increment does not provide the same effect due to  building up of greater speed of tolerance. Therefore, LSD users often suggest to use the LSD occasional purpose, not as similar as narcotic abusers use cocaine daily1,2.

Mechanism of Action

The exact mechanism of action is unknown, but different study results indicate that LSD affects the transmission of neurotransmitters, including epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, glutamate, and serotonin to trigger the central nervous system and to obtain a psychosis.

The long term use of LSD cal alters the activity of neurotransmitters in such as way that may cause schizophrenia2.

How long does LSD stay in your system?

The stopping intake of LSD does not provide long-term uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like other addictive drugs. Within a short interval, LSD user becomes normalize1.

The usual duration of effects of LSD in physiology lasts for 6 to 12 hours.  But the duration is the sustaining effect is not same for every individual. The following factors are involved in extending the LSD effect1;

  • Age
  • Body weight
  • Dosage
  • Tolerance

There is also a myth about LSD stay in the system. According to this myth, LSD remains in spinal cord forever , therefore the effect of LSD is continued for a prolonged period. But most of the study result showed that the effect of LSD ended after the drug is eliminated from the systemic circulation2.

One early research result provided the data that the half-life of the LSD was 2 hours, 45 minutes or 175 minutes. But recent research data showed that the half-life of LSD is approximately 5.1 hours.

This study result indicates that half of the administered dose of LSD is excreted out within 5 hours and fully elimination time of LSD in between 15.13 and 28.05 hours. But it should always take a consideration that the metabolites of LSD may remain in the system for a longer period and that can provide longer duration of effect1.

Types of LSD Drug Tests

There are different types of LSD drug tests for detecting the LSD.  But recent days, the detection of LSD tests are less frequent.

Urine Test

A urine test can detect LSD and its metabolites with following a simple procedure. LSD detection urine test is expensive and may do not provide an exact report on the nature of metabolites  of LSD is not same for every variety available in the market.

For example, 2-oxo-3-hydroxy LSD, a metabolite of LSD can stay for longer period in urine than LSD1. Therefore average duration of LSD in urine is  two to five days, which also depends on upon the dose and chronic use of LSD2.

Blood tests

A blood test is also available for LSD detection and it can provide instant post-LSD use report for 3 hours and that may detectable in blood up to 12 hours1.   The blood test report is not considered as relevant as LSD with impurities provide the wrong result3.

The advancement of medical science provides novel test technique to detect the LSD in blood. The test radioimmunoassay (RIA) is available for  detecting the down to a level of 0.5 ng/ml level of LSD1.

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is also available for more advanced detection of down to a level of  1 pg per 25 microliters  LSD-level  in blood1.

Other available advanced techniques for  down to a level of LSD are high-performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC)  and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry1.

Hair tests

The most uncommon test for detecting LSD is hair follicle test, because it is expensive. But the obtained test report is most authentic3.

The test result can detect up to 90 days or 3 months after ingestion of LSD. The hair follicle test requires 3 cm and 6 cm length hair for conducting hair follicle test1.


  1. How Long Does LSD Stay In Your System?; Mental Health Daily; Online Available; Retrieve From:
  2. Jo Humphreys; How Long Does LSD Stay In Your System?; Online Available; Retrieve From:
  3. How Long Does LSD Stay in Your System?; Psychedelics; Online Available; Retrieve From:

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