Overdose on Paranoia: How LSD and other psychedelics really work

Source: Tumblr

Only certain things have the ability to take a person steps above reality, asides spiritual practices. Two of which, are booze and drugs. Generally, these things alter perceptions and send you to different states of being. It is how booze unleashes the rationality or irrationality in you; how Codeine makes you slower than life itself, and how ecstasy gets you impossibly ecstatic. As a result of the initial purposes of these drugs, asides booze of course, the results are largely similar from one user to the other. I mean, nobody actually gets slow from Ecstasy. However, a particular family has been known to take it up a notch – psychedelics. Psychedelics, are part of a wider class of drugs called hallucinogens, which also includes dissociatives and deliriants. They are substances that have hallucinogenic, perception-altering effects. They basically alter how people see the world and how they reason.

Interestingly, psychedelics have been used in time past by religious groups who wanted to go into this same ‘high’ states. Drugs under this include cannabis, DMT, Magic Mushrooms, Ecstasy, mescaline, PCP, and the king of them all, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). My curiosity for psychedelics arose after reading a subreddit on Psychonaut. In it, different past users, majorly one-time users for reasons you would soon see, narrated their experiences. The top picks were “I felt I was going to die” and “I felt at one with the universe”. Majorly the first, though. Psychedelics are extremely illegal in various parts of the world because scientists have found no major medical purposes for them (researchers are still trying to find medicinal uses), and they are of course deadly; unlike say Codeine, that is used for mentally deranged people. Since our world has been known to crave the forbidden fruit since its inception, people still use them, and numerous tests have been carried out.

Initially, my perception of what causes the users of hard drugs to ‘trip’, was paranoia. My assumption was that users just get lost in the illusion they had created for themselves through the use of the drugs, and get paranoid about stuff. The paranoia probably getting worse when a ‘bad trip’ is experienced.

source: YouTube

But, it is that and much more. Apparently, psychedelics affect the brain’s cortex. It changes visual information in the brain and causes a new form of activity in the brain, which is normally suppressed from perception. Most times, it gets a lot out of hand. This is why people think they can fly or walk on water. Even popular rapper, A$AP Rocky, spoke about the role psychedelic drugs play in terms of his creativity. Says LSD helps him ‘cope with life’. The thing is, in truth, the ones who have been known to take it more than once, would tell you by how far it gets them above ‘it’ all. Still on being at one with the universe. But even Asap Rocky has been accused of having impeccably grandiose delusions and he is one of the few people acid has had a ‘positive’ effect on.

What I’m saying is, the effect of psychedelics on the brain and mind, are beyond paranoia. The not-so-bad effects include: heightened perception of depth, heightened sensitivity to changes in the environment, alterations in memory, intense fear, poor judgment and decision-making abilities, delusions, distorted sense of time and space, panic attacks, psychotic-like behaviours, paranoia, to mention a few. However, LSD has long-term and much deadly effects. There could be sudden heart failure, desire to cause self-harm or harm to others, hyperthermia, or overheating, recurrent hallucinations, and of course, death. This should not be surprising, knowing that inhaling LSD is actually you inhaling acid. The illusion of enhanced knowledge, being one with the universe (whatever that means), creativity, and all that cool stuff; is just as a result of the altered brain pattern caused by psychedelics. They are for short term periods and come with bags of disaster. In other words, don’t do drugs!

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Lawretta Egba is a professional writer, ghostwriter, editor, and poet. She is the founder of Cyno Group, a boutique content creation/content marketing firm meeting the varying content needs of individuals and businesses towards effective storytelling, problem-solving and economic growth. The company offers in-house ghostwriting, editing, and content writing services for large corporations, businesspeople and economic leaders. Lawretta’s articles have been featured on a plethora of platforms within Nigeria and the diaspora. Some of these include the Premier Pan-African media group reporting on African affairs – Face2Face Africa, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, Exquisite Magazine, YNaija, and a host of others. She runs two blogs: lawrettawrites.com, where she reviews books, writes on mythology, peeks into transformational African topics, and analyzes matters of the human psyche; and newcommas.com, a brainchild created towards documenting everyday African stories. For info and inquiries, contact via: lawretta@cynogroup.com


  1. Please do more research as you are spreading disinformation, Ms. Egba. You site no sources for claims such as, “Most times, it gets a lot out of hand.” LSD is actually a remarkably safe drug when used at safe doses and in the proper setting. It is currently being studied as a treatment for several psychiatric disorders (as are Psilocybin, MDMA, and Ayahuasca).

    Many of the bad reactions people report are due to taking a dose that is too high or taking something given/sold to them as LSD that is in fact something more dangerous/unpredictable (25i-NBOME, for example). This is a result of drug prohibition meaning lack of standardization/regulation. LSD can not cause heart failure or any other fatal reaction.

    Compare the psychedelics (LSD, Psilocybin, Ayahuasca, MDMA) to alcohol which is responsible for millions of death yearly worldwide, tremendous morbidity, violence, and dependence. Yet alcohol is glorified and legal in the vast majority of countries.

    My source: I am a physician practicing neurology in the US. I have also experimented with several psychedelics in the past in very careful and measured ways. They helped me overcome my severe anxiety and depression.

    • Thank you for your response Simon. I’m glad you chose to comment so readers have the opportunity to see it from two angles.

      I agree to not having as much information as you do on this matter. I have only as much information as search engines provide and I suppose the proliferation of content on the internet makes it hard to decipher what is right and what isn’t.

      However, I want you to understand that there are two sides to a theory as this. The one from the remarkably experienced practitioners as yourself, and those of the lay man – like the first time users I found on Reddit. (A source I did cite). And because I was talking about the personal effects of Psychedelics, it seemed like a good discovery to point out.

      In any case, thank you for shedding light on this. While I cannot say I now support the use of psychedelics because of your vote of confidence, I would keep an open mind.


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