Lysergic acid diethylamide, more commonly known as LSD or acid, is one of the drugs used for its hallucinogenic effects. Statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2017 revealed that 10.60 percent of the population age 26 and up have used LSD in their lifetime. LSD use can be detected in your body up to 5 hours through the 2-oxo-3-hydroxy-LSD form which is a urinary metabolite form of LSD. The basic form of LSD in the urine can only last up to eight hours while it can last up to 12 hours in the blood.

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LSD is one of the most dangerous mood-changing synthetic drugs produced from lysergic acid. It is developed by a fungus which grows on grains including rye. It is a white or clear, odorless, crystalline substance that is often produced by combining it with other inactive ingredients like gelatin. It can also be diluted to liquefy and packaged in other ingestible forms like blotter paper, tablet form or capsules, sugar cubes, and its plain liquid form. It is slightly bitter in taste. Some users opt to inhale it through their nose or inject it in their veins.

The study for its medical benefits is still ongoing, so LSD is still considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Similar to other hallucinogens, LSD drastically disrupts the communication between the brain and nervous system causing hallucinations. The unusual feeling brought about by the ingestion of LSD can be classified as either positive or negative. Known as “trip” and “bad trip,” the feeling starts with the removal of the normal filters of the brain. Once the guard of the brain is erased, the sensory, emotional, auditory, and visual cues which are commonly screened out become apparent in the person experiencing the trip. It also causes dizziness, tremors, nausea, uncoordinated movements, and the likes.

LSD addiction takes on a different form considering it does not have any addictive properties. The addiction is developed because of the need to take the drugs repeatedly to increase the dosage. Tolerance is developed over time requiring the user to increase the dosage to experience the same psychedelic effect. However, its high potency can be dangerous that it must be taken in a microgram range.

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How long does LSD stay in the body?

The effect of LSD can last up to 12 hours but in comparison to other drugs, our body eliminates LSD relatively quick. LSD can be eliminated in the body within several hours. The half-life of LSD is also relatively short. Research shows that LSD has a half-life of 3 to 5.1 hours. Therefore, 50 percent of LSD will be eliminated in the body after 5 hours of use. The length of time it takes for the concentration of the drug to decrease by half is affected by age, metabolism, and food intake.

Toxicology tests reveal the type and amount of chemicals that a person consumes. LSD can be detected in a person’s hair, blood, or urine. To perform toxicology and detect LSD, the drug test must be performed within a few hours of use of LSD.

Which parts of the body can LSD be detected?

Several studies have been conducted on LSD as well as its metabolites which LSD produces or transforms into once it is ingested. “The Pharmacology of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: A Review” is one of the studies that revealed that LSD can be detected in body fluids like the blood and urine. It also showed that LSD can be detected in the hair.

Detecting LSD in the blood

LSD retention in the blood is around 6 to 12 hours. A blood test is, therefore, the most accurate type of toxicology screening for LSD.

Detecting LSD in the urine

LSD can be detected in the urine up to 8 hours only. Once ingested, LSD is broken down into metabolites. The metabolite 2-oxy-3-hydroxy-LSD can be found in the urine and not in the human blood. The body retention of the metabolite is longer than LSD.

Detecting LSD in the hair

Hair testing for the presence of LSD is rare. The standard hair tests that can detect a variety of drugs reveal retention up to 90 days of the last intake. LSD metabolites can be detected in the hair using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography.

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What are the factors that affect the detection of LSD in the body?

The dangers of LSD addiction must be addressed immediately. Detection of LSD usage is the first step to recover from addiction. It is somehow difficult to test considering its fast elimination in the body. Other factors include the type of test and its detection limit and the sample type and the amount of drug used.

The usual urine and blood tests will not have the ability to detect LSD. Take note that ingesting a very minimal amount of LSD can cause an effect in the body. Therefore, users only use a very small amount that will no longer be detected by a simple urine or blood test.

The best option would be the EMIT and Abuscreen tests. Enzyme multiplied immunoassay technique (EMIT) is a series of tests that can detect LSD and the different metabolites in urine and serum while Abuscreen is a series of Radioimmunoassay (RAI) that screens serum, whole blood, urine, and stomach contents.

What are the factors that affect the length of time LSD is retained in the body?

The length of time that LSD is retained in the body is affected by the following factors: 

Age

The younger a person, the faster he will be able to metabolize the LSD in his body. Metabolism is faster in younger people, enabling them to process the substance faster.

Height and weight

Height and weight affect the absorption and elimination of LSD in the body. It was found that taller and heavier persons can break down LSD faster than a shorter and thinner person.

Food intake

LSD taken with a full stomach will require more time to break down. LSD taken on an empty stomach will take effect faster, causing the drug to be consumed faster by the body.

Liver function

Liver functions as the main organ that breaks down substances ingested by humans. A healthy liver can digest the LSD faster than an unhealthy one.

Dosage and frequency of use

LSD intake can cause tolerance necessitating LSD users to take the drugs in increasing volume. LSD taken in heavy dosage will be digested slower compared to a lesser volume of intake. Therefore, those who have been using the drug for some time will also take the longest time to eliminate LSD in their system given the dosage they take. First-time users of LSD, experience its effect within 20 minutes to 2 hours after intake. The peak of the effect of LSD takes another 35 minutes. They will, therefore, have a faster elimination of LSD in their bodies.

Interaction with other substance

Some substances can affect the absorption, metabolism, and elimination of LSD in the body. Tobacco use speeds up the elimination of LSD.

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