The Twitter Acid Experience

One million people in the United States use LSD each year. Far fewer live-tweet it.

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To be clear, don't use illegal drugs.

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a hallucinogen, meaning its primary action is alteration of perception, mood, and thought.

The vast majority of hallucinogen-related hospitalizations aren't the result of direct physiologic effects, but because of injuries from impaired judgement. For those who insist on experimenting with acid, at least do so in a supportive, private environment.  

If you absolutely have to go out, don't deprive yourself of any intact faculties. The temporal onset of neurocognitive effects is variable, but one of the first effects that people often report is generalized heightening of the senses. With release of dopamine and serotonin, many report senses of euphoria and existential ambition. Simple environmental sensory input becomes inexplicably engaging. The sensory heightening is commonly followed by synesthesia, a blending of the senses. Alterations in mood often include optimism and attentiveness to detail, as well as a tendency to anthropomorphize and pontificate. Despite the extreme sensory alteration, motor coordination often remains disproportionately intact. As with many drugs, the initial sense of self-importance may turn to feelings of insignificance, paranoia, and use of tired imagery. Even though young @hella_brad's story goes on to end with him peacefully introducing a group of frat guys to kombucha, he could very well have gotten hit by a dusty car. Don't intoxicate yourself in the interest of attention on social media. And don't do anything illegal ever.

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James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He writes the health column for the monthly magazine and hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk.

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