LSD (acid) and magic mushrooms

What is LSD?

LSD is a hallucinogenic drug which means that a person who takes it is likely to experience sensations, sights and sounds that are distorted or not real. LSD is commonly called ‘acid’. It comes in the form of a liquid (dropped on food or sugar lumps) or small pieces of paper called ‘tabs’ that have pictures on them ( which are swallowed). Strength varies but a low dose (half a regular tab) will usually result in a mild LSD experience and full tab in a full blown trip.

What are the effects of LSD?

The effects of LSD vary greatly depending on dose level, how the user feels and the situation they are in when they take it. A user might see things around them in a different way; things might look bigger or smaller or colours may look more intense. On LSD, a user might hear things that aren’t really there and lose their sense of time and place.

The experience is known as a ‘trip’ and these trips can be good, bad or a mixture of both. When taking a full tab, a trip can take from 20 minutes to an hour to start and usually lasts about 12 hours. Once it’s started you can’t stop it and until you take a tab of acid, you can’t tell how strong it is or how it’s going to affect you. How the trip goes can be affected by who you are, how you’re feeling and how comfortable you are with the people you’re with. Charlie said that taking acid in natural surroundings such as a park and or listening to classical or acoustic music can be very pleasurable.

Charlie compares the organic, swirly visuals she experienced with LSD with the more geometric patterns she saw when taking a chemical called 2CE.

Gender Female

View profile

What are the negative effects of LSD?

If a trip turns bad, the user is stuck with the trip until the effects wear off. As mentioned, this can take up to 12 hours. Both Sam and Charlie had experienced bad trips on LSD. Charlie did acid on the same day she broke up with her ex and was emotionally fragile. She ended up having paranoid delusions and crying for several hours afterwards.

Sam dropped acid into his eye and had bad trip that left him very frightened. (Played by actor)

Age at interview 28

Gender Male

View profile

Charlie describes an acid trip that started as euphoric and happy but ended as a bad trip.

Gender Female

View profile

What are magic mushrooms?

Magic mushrooms (aka ‘Shrooms) are mushrooms that grow in the wild. There are two main types and they’re quite different. The most common form is a species called psilocybe semilanceata or ‘liberty cap’, while the other more potent variety is amanita muscaria or ‘fly agaric’. There are deadly poisonous species of amanitas, so if you don’t know what you’re doing, you definitely shouldn’t take them. Magic mushrooms are eaten on their own raw or dried, in food or made into a tea.

What are the effects of Magic mushrooms?

The effects depend on the number of mushrooms taken. They produce similar hallucinogenic-type effects to LSD but for a shorter time. They can make people giggle, relax or hallucinate.

Ben and a friend tried magic mushrooms once while in Amsterdam.

Age at interview 20

Gender Male

View profile

What are the negative effects of Magic mushrooms?

Taking the wrong type of mushroom is a real risk; some types of mushroom look like magic mushrooms but are poisonous and can cause serious health problems or death. Magic mushrooms can themselves cause stomach problems such as nausea, sickness and diarrhoea. Like with LSD, trips can be bad. Craig described taking a cocktail of drugs, including magic mushrooms, as the scariest combination he has ever taken. Under its effects he thought that everyone looked like characters from ‘The Simpsons’.


What is mephedrone? Mephedrone (also known as M-cat, Meow-meow, Plant Food) is a stimulant from a family of drugs related to amphetamines (such as speed...


What is heroin? Heroin is made from the pain reliever morphine that comes from the opium poppy plant. Heroin (aka smack, skag) is one of...