Is LSD a Gateway Drug?

Is LSD an Gateway drug?

Is LSD a Gateway Drug?

Gateway drugs are “soft drugs” believed to be less harmful but may lead to the abuse of harder drugs in the future. 

According to this idea, people who abuse gateway drugs are more likely to try other more dangerous drugs later in life. If this abuse continues, it could lead to serious health problems, as well as a severe addiction that requires inpatient or outpatient treatment. Substances sometimes considered gateway drugs include alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs. But is LSD a gateway drug as well? 

LSD As a Gateway Drug 

LSD, also known as acid, is a hallucinogenic drug that is used recreationally because of its euphoric properties and abilities to alter perception. Although illegal in the United States, LSD has a reputation for use among partygoers and the youth. In 2019, approximately 3.6% of high school seniors reported using LSD in the last year.1 While this is still a small percentage, are these teens unknowingly putting themselves at risk of other substance abuse?

The long-term effects of LSD are still widely unknown, and the side effects of its use are also up for debate. While it is not believed to be addictive and lead to physical dependence, some people can develop a tolerance to LSD. Whether or not acid is a gateway drug is also unclear, as there is not a lot of research on the topic. Some people argue that all “soft drugs” can act as gateway drugs to some degree because they are less intimidating than drugs like meth or cocaine and make transitioning to these substances easier. Trying cocaine seems a lot less daunting if you are regularly taking hallucinogens at nightclubs. Before you realize it, you are in a luxury detox program trying to quit. Other people make the argument that some people are just more prone to substance abuse than others, and whether or not they tried LSD first, they would still have turned to these harder drugs.

Regardless of whether or not LSD is a gateway drug, it is illegal and can be dangerous. Especially because the long-term effects are still unknown, you should avoid its use altogether. While these soft drugs may seem innocent enough at first, they could be the start down the wrong path. 

If you believe that someone you care about is abusing drugs of any kind, our luxury inpatient drug rehab in Florida may be able to help. The sooner you take action the better, as it could prevent them from trying a stronger and more dangerous substance. Similarly, if you are experimenting with drugs, do not wait until you lose control to seek help. 


At Seaside Palm Beach, we help people find lasting recovery from a substance abuse problem. Call us today at 561-677-9374 to learn more. 


  1. NIH- Club Drugs
  2. NCBI- “Gateway hypothesis” and early drug use: Additional findings from tracking a population-based sample of adolescents to adulthood

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