Permanent Mental Effects from LSD

These are permanent changes I’ve noticed after doing a fuckton of LSD. It’s been about 3 years since I ‘quit’ (though I still dose about twice a year), and these are the effects that still seem to linger.

Please don’t worry any of these will happen to you if you take LSD once in a while like a sane human being.

1. Worse memory. Or, rather, less accessible memory. All the things seem to still be in there, it’s just the queries pull out the wrong thing, or take longer than normal

2. Gaps in thought. Pre acid, ‘thinking’ felt like a tightly wound stitch, or stones in a river very close together, and now they often feel very far apart. I still get to the place I’m going, but a lot of the process of getting there feels like a suspended leap between two points, where I look down and I realize my thought is not beneath me, and I wonder where it went, and I see so much of everything else instead, until suddenly the next piece hits me and I’m like ‘oh yeah.’

The thoughts themselves don’t seem to be affected, but sometimes it makes conversation harder.

3. Feeling less like I am the thing that is thinking my thoughts – especially during periods of intense concentration or problem solving.
I ‘catch myself thinking’ from the outside much more often, in more unexpected circumstances, and during more mentally intensive periods.
Like, normally I am sitting in a glass box, and I’m popping out colorful little ‘reasonings’ and ‘conclusions,’ and of course I know they are popping out *from me* – but then sometimes I find myself standing outside the glass box looking in, and I am surprised to find that the ‘reasonings’ and ‘conclusions’ are continuing to pop out of the empty air where I used to sit. I realize that the “reasonings” and “conclusions” are independent of me, that I’m not the one popping them out.

4. Access to an intense altered mental state that usually lasts around 5-10 minutes. Triggering this generally long-term cures any stress, anxiety, or insecurity I’ve been going through recently. The effort it takes to trigger it is really inconsistent though. I often try to avoid triggering it. Sometimes it happens in dreams. I’ve written more extensively about this here.

5. Permanently increased wellbeing in a way it’s hard to put my finger on.

6. Shifts in beliefs about myself, the way I work, the things I’m curious about, epistemics, philosophy, and ethics. These shifts were pretty severe and appear to be permanent. I like these beliefs a lot better.

7. Altered mental reactions to alcohol. Getting drunk now feels like a slightly psychedelic experience to me, which is incredibly weird and makes zero sense. Since acid, while drunk, I am more easily overtaken by awe, more likely to get the outside-the-glass-box feeling, and more in danger of saying cliche hippie phrases.

8. My internal experience and feelings of thought processes are now way more nonverbal, whereas pre-acid I used to be full of ‘words.’ I feel silenced, but not any less quiet.

9. The mental processes I take to explain my own behaviors to myself have shifted drastically – particularly ones surrounding the sense of agency. I rarely use mental movements around ‘sense of agency’ anymore. It’s like a word that’s dropped out of my internal vocabulary.
For example, in point 6 I mention ‘shifts in belief’, and the phrasing implies it ‘happened to me’ – doing LSD rearranged my beliefs. The glass box analogy also supports this – that I am clothed in ideas I did not choose to wear. But I equally could have phrased it as though I did all the choosing – “Doing acid helped me realize x, and I came to conclude z” – and it would still be true.
Whether or not “I did something” or “it was done to me” is no longer a relevant question, internally. I find no important distinction between the two.

10. Existential masochism. The sense of pleasure and pain – in a mental sense – have been seriously churned together. It’s not that pain is any less painful, or that pleasure is any less pleasurable (probably the opposite, really), it’s that they more often coexist, and tend to coexist at greater extremes.

11. Way easier laughter. More things delight me and I’m much quicker to giggle at things, anything. Everything is funny. I’m more easily entertained.

Overall I’m glad I did it and would do it again

12 thoughts on “Permanent Mental Effects from LSD”

  1. You self-analyze more thoroughly than I ever attempted on this. What I did notice was that I found wine more visual than beer which felt more aural. For a short period walking around felt like I was looking down on myself from several feet above, but that went away fairly quickly.

    When I shut my eyes there’s not blackness but explosions of color. It’s like that at night, too.

    Acid was always incredibly intense for me. There were periods when I couldn’t walk or talk. At the same time I discovered an inner strength of will. I experienced the world as a living breathing organism which had a profound effect on me and my life. I would have been poorer without the experiences I had.

  2. I spent a number of years doing LSD and other psychedelics at high dosages and fairly high frequency (I couldn’t do it weekly but it was pretty close and lasted 2-3 years). I find your descriptions of the long term changes fascinating and it is interesting to try to align the language you use to describe them with my experiences.

    It has been most of 20 years since that time in my life and I can offer that my memory is more solid than it was around that time, that laughter and laughing at the world and myself is still easier (though not always easy). That I don’t like pain (I never did) but I am absolutely accepting of it as the cost of doing other things I want. There is a lot more but the summary is; if you keep the lessons you learned and keep working to integrate them, you’ll find the benefits continue to increase and (at least for me) the costs decrease.

    To the person who wonders why a genius would want to do psychedelics; just because you are smart doesn’t mean there is no benefit to seeing things from a different perspective/through a different set of lenses.

    I’d be happy to chat more about this if you like.

  3. If one has a genius-level IQ it would seem irrational to partake on countless mind-altering (=”brain damaging”) “stationary voyages” where the net sigma is lower brain function. Why not try eating some good cheese right before bed and then keep a record of your dreams?

    1. Where have you found the research that says the mind altering caused by LSD is equivalent to “brain damage”?

    1. Psychedelics could help point you in the right direction and get answers, and mushrooms and MDMA specifically just helped me feel better (especially MDMA, try it if you have self-esteem issues but make sure you read about it on PsychonautWiki so you don’t harm your brain)
      That being said, all of the actual help would have to come from you. Psychedelics are just tools – cutting a carrot without a knife is pretty hard but even with a knife you have to do the actual cutting.

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