You may have heard someone say that LSD never entirely leaves your body. They may have said that it lingers in your spinal cord and occasionally triggers flashbacks to your last trip. If this is true, does it also affect drug tests? So, does LSD stay in your spine? Or is it just a myth?
Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) and flashbacks
HPPD is a disorder unique to past users of hallucinogens like LSD. People with HPPD can periodically experience visual aberrations. These aren't real hallucinations, like during a trip, because the person recognizes them as illusions, but they can be disruptive to a person's life.
Flashbacks are a similar phenomenon in that people experience hallucinations that remind them of a previous trip. They may be more common than HPPD, but they tend to resolve themselves over time, although it may take a few years.
Some people have suggested that HPPD is caused by LSD persisting in the spinal fluid. Some anti-drug campaigners have tried to use this to discourage LSD use, saying that even a single use can result in a lifelong disorder. What's more, they even claim you'll never pass a drug test again.
So, does LSD stay in your spine?
No, it's a complete myth. As indicated above, it was probably manufactured by the forces behind the war on drugs to scare people away from LSD. There are no drugs that stay permanently in the body. What's more, LSD is water-soluble, so it passes through the body fairly quickly. Fat-soluble drugs like weed are more likely to cause long-term problems with drug tests, but even the heaviest marijuana users can usually get clean in a month or so.
This isn't to say that HPPD and flashbacks are also fiction, though. They are very much real, and they're thought to result from some kind of anomaly in the brain chemistry. That said, they're believed to be rather uncommon, especially given the many people who use psychedelics like LSD.
So, it's okay to take a drug test?
If your last trip was years ago, then sure, you can safely take a drug test without fear of failing. There's absolutely no chance of residual LSD being detected in your urine, because there's none in your body to start with.
If you've used LSD more recently, you might be more at risk of failing. Unlike weed, coke, speed, heroin, and PCP, LSD isn't commonly tested for. It is, however, included in some extended tests.
When urine or saliva tests look for LSD itself, the detection time is usually limited to a day, but this can increase to four days if the test looks for a particular metabolite of LSD. If you feel you may fail a test, prepare yourself by using a detox drink or detox mouthwash, depending on the test you'll be taking.
Hair tests are a different matter, however, because they have a long detection time of about 90 days. Again, you can take preparations against failing, this time with a detox shampoo.