Commenter Nobody questions what the risks of LSD use are:
RL: There are good reasons not to do acid, but fear of being permanently mentally ill is not one of them.
Nobody: What are those reasons, in your mind? I’ve done acid and have my own ideas, but I’m curious what you have to say about it.
Use of LSD can cause permanent visual disruptions called Hallucinogen Post Perception Disorder. I have it myself, but it’s not bad. Others have it very bad.
It can also cause a temporary psychosis or mental breakdown, not because it did any physical damage to the brain, but simply via psychological mechanisms like panic and whatnot.
It can also cause long-term psychological trauma via the same mechanism, not through physical damage to the brain but due to psychological trauma, upsetting experiences, unpleasant unconscious stuff coming to the forefront, etc. It’s similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I’ve known way too many people who have taken LSD 100+ times who were totally normal in every way, shape and form. One guy took it 700 times and was completely normal.
On the other hand, there are folks who have taken LSD many, many times, like over 1,000 times and especially 2,000-4,000 times. Timothy Leary comes to mind. Tim Leary was one of the few drug cases I can think of who did seem to be damaged somehow. He wasn’t really nuts; he just seemed sort of fried. I’m not sure if it was the acid, but I’m worried. There are other folks who have taken LSD 1,500-4,000 times and are now permanently mentally ill. Some of them fade in and out of it. The diagnoses vary. At the same time, there’s no evidence that these folks suffer from any kind of brain damage, so the facts are confusing. Nevertheless, taking LSD 1,000 times or more seems to be a pretty risky endeavor in terms of your mental health, even though the reasons for why are not known.