LSD, Flashbacks and HPPD

Man with OCD here. I’m taking medication for it. I will take LSD for the first time in a few weeks. What are the possibilities of having HPPD? You’ve said you got visual disruptions, what does it feels like? Is it the same thing which is called “flashbacks”?

I am not even sure what flashbacks even are, and I am not sure if I have experienced them. After I first took LSD at age 16, my marijuana trips changed dramatically. It was like the LSD had altered my brain and changed the pot trips. The pot trips became way weirder, more colorful and rather frightening, but I sort of enjoyed them anyway in the way that you enjoy the very scary rides at the amusement park. They scare the crap out of you, but you love it. Plus it was like journeying to another planet every time I smoked pot.

About six months after I had taken LSD, I went to look in the mirror. To my shock and horror, my entire face was deep, dark blue almost like someone who has had a heart attack. I flipped out and ran upstairs to my parents room and looked in their mirror. Now my face had changed and it had a slight reddish tinge to it. I ran down to the downstairs bathroom again and looked in the mirror again and all that was left was a faint greenish tinge over my face. I think I ran back to my parents’ bathroom instead and looked in the mirror again.

I have no idea why I was running from mirror to mirror, but my instinct just old me that there must be something wrong with the mirror. Thinking about it now, it seems so idiotic, but that is what I felt at the time. This time all of the colors were gone. The whole thing could not have taken more than a minute or two.

I happened one more time a few months later in the same mirror. This time it was a very deep dark red, as deep and dark as the blue-purple had been. I did the same thing of running from bathroom to bathroom and mirror to mirror, and after a minute or two, it went away.

I always thought for some reason that thee were LSD flashbacks, though I never had those colored faces on LSD. I do not know why I thought it was an acid flashback. I suppose I could not think of any other reason.

It never happened again, and to this day, I have no idea what caused it. I never worried about it although it was a hallucination. I never worried that those hallucinations meant that I was mentally ill or brain damaged somehow. I simply shrugged them off. Non-mentally ill people can hallucinate and even hear voices at times. The occasional hallucination is not big deal and nothing to fret over. You guys can call me insane all you want to because I had couple of hallucinations. See if I care.

I doubt if many people get HPPD from one use of LSD, but perhaps it is possible. I have dated some women lately who are or were LSD users. One ~50 year old woman had taken LSD 350 times. Another much younger woman had taken it maybe 30 times and was definitely a current user. These are only two heavy users that I have met in recent years. Neither woman had any HPPD symptoms at all. I know many people who have taken LSD, including folks who have taken it many times, and I never met anyone who had HPPD. I think it is not common.

However, a recent survey of university students found that of those who had taken LSD 50 times or more, 45% had HPPD symptoms. You really need to think about HPPD if you are considering becoming a heavy LSD user.

I took LSD nine times and other psychedelics (mescaline, peyote, LSA, Hawaiian baby woodrose seeds, psilocybin) about another 20-30 times, so maybe ~30-40 trips total. I have not taken psychedelics since an acid trip in 1987, 29 years ago. I am a bit worried about doing psychedelics now. I figure I am nuts enough as it is, so why take psychedelics and risk making myself even crazier than I already am?

I am not sure when the HPPD hit, but it is not very bad. On some occasions, I get very bright colors. I rarely get them anymore, but sometimes if I have taken a lot of caffeine or the drug Benadryl, I get the colors again. Actually the world looks much better all lit up Technicolor like that. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It only bothers me if I start freaking on it and thinking, “Why is the world all lit up this? Is there something wrong with my brain?” If I just relax and accept it, it’s not a problem and actually is rather fun.

I called up an eye doctor once and complained about my symptoms, and he busted out laughing over the phone. “Oh! The colors are getting better, huh? Well that’s great! Hope you enjoy it! We only care when the colors are getting worse. What you have is not a problem.”

Apparently he was referring to loss of color vision.

30 Comments

Filed under Cannabis, Hallucinogens, Intoxicants, LSD, Mental Illness, Psilocybin, Psychology, Psychopathology

30 responses to “LSD, Flashbacks and HPPD

  1. Jason Y

    Will never take LSD, too much of a wimp. However, one time someone gave me marijuana brownies. I didn’t know what they were and I thought I might be on acid. I was watching a documentary on Bin Laden, and I just couldn’t stop laughing😆

  2. Optimus Prime

    Never ever try LSD. It could be mind altering and could case irreversible damage. I have heard some positive stories on LSD too. But then, why should one try something as dangerous as that. Lots of other stuffs are always available if you want to get high!!!

    • LSD is not something to take just to get high, alot of the stuff sold on the streets isn’t LSD either, these are usually chemicals like the 25x-NBOMe(Dangerous if you take multiple doses) chemicals or DOM which can last 30 hours (higher doses)…
      If you respect it and take it in the right context then it’s quite safe, if you are not prone to any mental illnesses then all what can happen to you is getting scared the shit out of you for the next 8 hours…

      It’s not something I would recommend to a random, and certainly not to someone who just wants to get shitfaced.

  3. RollD

    Let’s scrap the drug experimentation culture once and for all. Before any of you guys whine “there has always been drug experimentation!!!!!,” note what I said: end the ‘culture’ of it. Roll back the retarded 60s crap and let’s have a real society.

  4. SHI

    Robert, I haven’t spoken about this experience with anyone so far. Last year I was in Amsterdam fror a few days where I ate an entire bag of magic mushrooms bought from this store http://www.innerspace.nl/ to be consumerd later at my hostel.

    The brand was named “Dragon Dynamite”. Very potent. Combined with a lot of free flowing marijuana all through the day, the truffles I consumed led to the most horrible “trip” lasting for at least 5 hours. I don’t know if this packet could have been FATAL. But I’m definitely not doing this again.

    Here’s how the trip evolved over the night

    Phase 1

    For the first 1h, I felt incredibly euphoric. Became chatty and lost all sense of inhibitions, fear and restraints. Luckily I was in a “stoner” hostel where others were often in a worse state than me, no other choice but to tolerate my bad behavior.

    Phase 2

    I was seeing multiple dimensions of space and time. My mind could no longer focus on the only reality. I was seeing my past, present and well, the “future”. These instances would change rapidly but without offering any clear purpose or sense of direction. Far from being euphoric, the entire experience was that of bitterness, guilt, shame and pain.

    In the past, I saw the exact moment when I popped into the earth. It must be a very deep-seated experience. I could clearly gather the sights, smells and sound of the hospital walls. It felt awful, as if my soul hated the very experience of birth. I saw a few other episodes of my life which left a terrible experience. Things that I sought to forget permanently suddenly resurfaced to evoke the nastiness of those situations.

    For the future, I saw myself in a hospital bed in some shitty hospital, old, neglected, alone and dying. There were two or three nurses near my bed laughing at my sad, pitiable condition, my requests for a glass of water turned down with wanton cruelty.

    Phase 3

    I soon lost control of my motor senses and vision. I was seeing multiple objects floating around the bar. The faces of those around me became contorted, angular, stretched all the way to the ceiling, floors, multiple reflections. I couldn’t help but realize that my sense of “reality” had distorted beyond repair.

    Right now I was in deep, deep pain and anguish. I tried to regain consciousness by going to the washroom and splashing my face with water many times. But it didn’t help. Every time I looked at the mirror, I saw the image of “the Devil” right beside me. Smiling and as if, waiting patiently for something. I call it the Devil because that thing had a pair of horns and it simply resembled a man of around my height, 5’10”. He had a very handsome complexion but nothing like anyone I ever knew before or had seen. I tried touching this apparition but obviously my senses were fucked badly. I slapped my face hard, trying to jolt myself back to reality. Didn’t work.

    Phase 4

    My condition had gotten from bad to worse. I could not sleep because as soon as I shut my eyelids, I would start experiencing the most horrific episodes of my life close quarter. Like when a friend died in a school-bus accident around 20 years ago. I screamed and ran for dear life.

    I could not stay awake either as it felt like everyone in my dorm room was out to kill me right now. There were 12 people in the dorm room and everyone of them felt like an enemy. It was bedtime so the room was pitch dark. I had approached my dorm mates for help but they refused. I tried my best not to say anything further to avoid being beaten because I seriously thought that my dorm room-mates would kill me that night for no reason. They looked very dangerous.

    The experiences became even more INTENSE. Now I felt like being stabbed, eaten by animals and all sorts of nasty things. The sense of “alienation” from the world became even more pronounced. It just seemed like a life full of regret.

    This was going to be my new NORMAL reality forever and ever. I was in real HELL. My heart was pounding heavily. There was no end in sight to my misery.

    I tried sitting in a squatting position. This way I felt I would have the least chance to hurt myself. I tried to steer clear of the doors and windows and elevators as much as possible because I WOULD HAVE HURLED MYSELF DOWN that night.

    Phase 5

    My physical condition started stabilizing a bit. I felt like the drug trip would be finally over. But my HEAD ACHE became worse. As if it was about to split into two halves. My lips were dry and I could not drink water. I just tried to keep it wet by splashing my face with more water. I slapped my face hard, trying to jolt myself back to reality.

    I did return to normal state of mind. With the onset of morning and the first rays of sunshine, I felt like a new person. In fact, I felt like a million bucks. EVerything i had experienced was just a freakish nightmare. It turns out I was being such an obnoxious asshole all night, all my 11 dorm room-mates left me for some other place. Soon the hostel security staff and admin people came in to inquire after me. They said I had been a complete embarrassment and that the other guests left after complaining about my behavior. But they were understanding all the same, turns out it wasn’t the first time they were dealing with drug-addled crazies in Amsterdam. They asked me if I felt normal now. I said, “Yes.” Then they politely told me to leave the hostel immediately, giving me 30 minutes to pack my bags and even offered to help me do it if I felt too weak. I told them it wouldn’t be necessary. I just used the toilet one last time and proceeded to leave with my bags. The hostel staff were being very rude now, justifiably so. I kept my bags on the floor because I wanted to return the keys and get some of my stuff back from the lobby reception locker. They simply threw my bags out the door. The girl at the front desk said, “Sir. If you don’t leave right now, we’ll be calling the police.” I said, “Hold on. I did say I am leaving.”

    Well, I did feel finally FREE AS A BIRD once outside that mental institution. I went to a fries shop and had a delicious breakfast. Hah hah.

    • How much did the bag weigh? How many grams? How much did it cost? Looks like you ate about 10-20 grams of mushrooms. That is really too much. You are going to have one Hell of a trip.

      That is way more than I have ever done. I think I used to eat about a gram, but I am not sure.

      I had one bad trip, but it was nothing like this one. Just curled up in bed and felt depressed and like a total loser.

  5. Since I had taken LSD in October last year my Cannabis highs changed too, when I would close my eyes I would see closed eye visuals and maybe a very slight vision change, but if I would eat a cannabis edible it would be like a damn trip not the same as LSD was obviously but I would get hallucinations more persistent ones, the visuals usually didn’t change…
    I also noticed slight patterns by just smoking, not the advanced patterns like LSD I would say theyre like 80% less “Advanced”.

    Yesterday I took LSD and redosed after 10 hours during the comedown, I know that tollerance would be way higher but I did not want to stop the trip because I was enjoying myself, 4 hours after that I started smoking weed and it felt like the whole damn trip started again with intense visuals and closed eye visuals, I fell asleep while I was still hallucinating and now I just woke up from a very long sleep waking up to see very slight patterns and a bit of white snow in my vision/white noisen I think this a light case of HPPD…

    I have taken LSD 5 times now this year…

  6. TRASH

    A bad LSD trip takes years to recover from, however. Ice, crack, cocaine and other stimulants leave your body in three days but acid can have a permanent effect on your perception of reality that is apparent years later.

  7. TRASH

    PHISH and THE GRATEFUL DEAD no longer tour and kids these days prefer noisy discos. Where would the market for LSD be? There just aren’t many hippies anymore.

    Hallucinogens seem to have given way to stimulants completely.

  8. Let me guess, you like fear mongering?
    Because some dumbfuck took 1000 micro grams of a substance that has a threshold of 20 micro grams and is traumatized by it doesn’t mean this happens to everyone.

    “permanent effect on your perception of reality” HPPD is rarely permanent, and please do not refer to people that are prone to schizophrenia now, stop fucking fear mongering.

    A person with good mental health will recover from this, now stop spreading shit you heard from your dads friends uncle

  9. TRASH

    I witnessed myself what hard acid use (Three days in a row) will actually do though I took it 3 or 4 times in the 1990’s (When it was still widely available on campuses) and it has not had any residual effect on me (???)

    “Fear Mongering” to young people in their 20’s would be difficult because nobody under 30 years of age has ever heard of it anyhow: Acid in a noisy rave or club…they prefer Ecstasy or Cocaine not running through a meadow on LSD.

    Acid has gone the way of “Ludes” or “Sherm”…nobody uses it anymore.

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a local dealer who’d ever even HEARD of LSD who was under 35 years old. Obtaining it would be difficult.

    Kids these days have no time for psychedelic introspection…it’s all stimulates for a busy techno world and soulless raves.

    • “Three days in a row” This is just asking for problems, and a waste of damn money due to the strong tolerance you develop.

      “You’d be hard-pressed to find a local dealer who’d ever even HEARD of LSD ” LSD is one of the most iconic drugs, everyone knows what LSD is…
      Acces to it on the other hand is another story unless you want to buy legal analogues (EU, in the US there is an analogue law in place but I’m sure some online Vendors will send it out to you) like 1P-LSD,AL-LAD,ETH-LAD,PRO-LAD-1P-ETH-LAD (If you want to be a guinea pig)

      (Three days in a row) , That is just asking for psychiatric problems, if you do that with MDMA or “Ecstasy” a couple of times then there will be braindamage, especially at raves where your body heats up due to dancing etc which makes it only more damn Neurotoxic .
      I just don’t see why you are warning people about LSD when abuse of every single drug without taken in the right context can be dangerous, even caffeine

      “they prefer Ecstasy or Cocaine”,The only reason why they prefer these drugs is that they almost everytime give the desired effects, unlike LSD it can be taken in any set and setting.

      “Kids these days have no time for psychedelic introspection…it’s all stimulates for a busy techno world and soulless raves.”
      Well then you arent searching enough, there are many online communities and alot of people are interested in psychedelics but only end up doing 25i-NBOMe thinking it’s LSD (Something you really want to stay away from, a dose is about 500-1000 micro grams but you can fatally overdose on just 4000 micro grams) which is kind of sad when you think about it, this is because 25i-NBOMe goes for a couple of cents on the internet, ironically you can get way cheaper chemicals which are way safer like the DOM (Dose 2.5mg and people have been known taking 30mg without overdosing)

      May I ask how old you are?
      You seem kind of out of tune on this subject, and actually LSD use is rising again in EU mainly.
      I assume that you are from the US since some areas are very LSD dry indeed.

  10. TRASH

    1990’s was the last time acid was a popular drug.

  11. TRASH

    I am 43 and have not been involved in the drug culture for 20 years but hallucinogenics were considered “college drugs” when I attended university from 1992-1998. Acid was quite popular but hard drugs such as methamphetamine or crack cocaine were not commonly used.

    In the North America club drugs replaced acid in about the year 2000.

  12. TRASH

    Acid is probably not as harmful as crack cocaine nor as potentially addicting. No quarrel there.

    Anybody who has some latent mental illness who is sent into psychosis by LSD was going to be a psychotic anyhow through some other trigger down the road.

    Methamphetamine is probably the worst drug for inducing long-term mental problems or PCP, which is not really very popular anymore.

    I personally knew a few people at the height of acid’s popularity in the 90’s (In North America) who took one too many voyages but “brain-damaged” is not quite the word that I would use. “Altered” is more accurate.

    • Well, LSD and psilocin(The psychactive chemical in Mushrooms) are known not to be Neurotoxic at all, they don’t cause physical damage.

      PCP is a damn terrible psychedelic, it is known to cause mania on regular doses lol…

      ” who took one too many voyages but “brain-damaged” is not quite the word that I would use. “Altered” is more accurate.”
      I agree with you on this one, I wouldn’t say that they become less productive of mayor Psychedelic abuse (Depends from person to person though) but some of them start to believe in damn bullshit or get a whole diffrent world view in a bad way(Bad in as delusional, one of my friends knows someone who came back from the jungle from an Ayahuasca trip and old brew made by local tribes (Active substance DMT)(No this is not one of these uncles sister balbala stories) who started denying certain scientific facts about neuroscience and claimed that it was all bullshit)
      But I would not say that this is common, atleast not in the people I have talked to that have used alot of psychedelics.

      I have concluded for myself that LSD or the vast majority of the psychedelic drugs are not really supposed to be used recreationally atleast not in the context of MDMA Cocaine etc
      If you take any psychedelic there should be atleast some research beforehand, hell every drug you should research atleast a bit (Not that people are actually going to do that, well not the vast majority)
      But especially in the case with psychedelics.

  13. TRASH

    I experimented with nutmeg which became a substitute for LSD in the late 90’s when it became scarce on the college market.

    Nutmeg also has a strange and introspective trippy high. I did not mind it but most users of hallucinogens never use it twice.

  14. TRASH

    Ill-effects from LSD do not make a person dangerous. Most often they simply become delusional or paranoid in that “conspiracy aliens-shot-JFK” sort.

    • I doubt that someone with a high intelligence would think such things though atleast not without a reason to do so not just out of paranoia, but what do I know, John lennon admitted that he took 100’s of LSD doses (He claimed over a 1000) and he was quite a bright guy…

  15. TRASH

    In order to have a “bad trip” on LSD you have to have some latent psychological condition and no normal person can become a schizophrenic from LSD.

    Methamphetamine and perhaps crack-cocaine are a different matter. Long-term use of meth is going to make you psychotic even if you are Stephen Hawkings.

    • I will have to disagree with you on that one, I host an IRC about psychedelic drugs and about everyone there has had a Bad to terrible experience, it really is all subjective.

      Honestly, when I am alone isolated from other people and tripping on LSD then I’m a damn mad man lol (I’m quite sure everyone is, but to me it’s remarkable how mad I am on acid)

      I can’t talk about other drugs than psychedelic drugs though, at least not out of personal experience, I read alot about psychactive substances in general but Stimulants as a whole don’t really interest me (Atleast not taking them)

  16. TRASH

    When someone is going berserk in public the drug of choice is usually methamphetamine (In the early 80’s PCP, but that drug is gone).

    Meth or bath salts are fairly synonymous with such episodes-rarely does a person under the influence of LSD go crazy in a public street.

    One reason is that a drug of choice usually indicates educational and social status and in North America European, African or Native ancestry (Europe itself is different I know).

    Acid is the drug of choice for educated North Americans of European extraction who have the resources to use it in a controlled environment as oppose to the ghetto dweller who imbibes a stimulant on a street corner and has an adverse reaction.

    An American of German ancestry in say small-town Minnesota who has a bad trip in the woods by a lake is not going to be the civil disruption of an inner-city black or Mexican who is freaking out in traffic on a stimulant.

    Therefore there is less statistical data regarding the side-effects of an LSD bad trip in comparison to urban drugs.

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