Some people swear by using Xanax to stop or prevent a bad acid trip. Others use it to help them sleep after a trip.
In theory, you could see how it might work, since benzodiazepines, like Xanax, are typically used to treat anxiety.
The thing is, there’s no evidence that Xanax will stop an acid trip or comedown. Any claims of its effects on an acid trip come only from people’s personal experience.
Here’s a closer look at how Xanax may or may not affect an acid trip.
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Possibly, but it could also make things worse.
Folks who’ve tried this combo report a mixed bag of effects. Some say it stops a bad trip dead in its tracks. Others say it makes an already intense trip even more uncomfortable.
Everyone reacts differently to substances, so it’s nearly impossible to know how adding Xanax into the mix will affect you.
Your personal reaction to Xanax and LSD also depends on:
- how much you’ve taken
- your tolerance to each substance
- whether you have any preexisting medical or mental health conditions
While doctors sometimes use benzodiazepines to treat people experiencing substance-related agitation or psychosis, Xanax usually isn’t the first choice.
Other ways to prepare for a trip
If you’re going to use LSD and are trying to minimize your chances of having a bad experience, there are several (more reliable) alternatives to taking Xanax:
- Make sure you’re in a good place mentally. If you’re already feeling down or in a negative state of mind, you may have a higher chance of a bad trip.
- Choose the right setting. Make sure you’re somewhere safe and familiar when doing LSD to help keep your anxiety down. It’ll be easier to enjoy the ride and relax if you’re not worried about your surroundings.
- Set the mood. For example, put on some good music or a movie so you can sit back and enjoy the experience. Or have your pen, paper, or other supplies ready if you’re doing LSD for a boost in creativity.
- Don’t do it alone. Have a friend, ideally a sober one, nearby who can intervene if needed.
- Keep your dose low. You might be more likely to have a bad trip if you start with a high dose. Start with a low dose. Make sure you give it plenty of time to kick in before taking more.
There’s no guarantee that taking Xanax will help mellow things out if you’re having a bad trip.
Instead, try the following:
- Talk to a friend. Ideally, you already have a friend there with you. If not, call a friend to help you through.
- Put on your favorite song. People often report that putting on a certain song can help make them feel better during a bad trip. Choose something that brings back good memories or makes you feel good.
- Look at something pleasant. Shifting your sight and focus to something pleasant can help. A calming picture or painting, a movie — whatever makes you feel good.
- Drink some water. Acid can cause an increase in body temperature, which could contribute to your bad trip. Sipping on water will help you stay hydrated and give you something else to focus on.
- Go to sleep (or just rest). Falling asleep might not be easy, but it’s the best way to ride out a bad trip. Lie back, close your eyes, and focus on deep breathing.
There’s no scientific evidence that Xanax — or anything else for that matter — will stop an LSD trip once it’s started.
Other ways to end a trip faster
Once it starts, there’s no way to make a trip end. Your best bet is to follow the tips mentioned above to make the process of waiting things out more bearable.
Remember: All of this will end eventually.
Coming down from an acid trip can be rough, especially if you’re having a hard time sleeping.
Over the next 24 hours, you might also experience:
- anxiety or panic
- muscle aches
When you’re on edge and sleep deprived, Xanax might feel like the natural solution. While it does make some people sleepy, a few people online have reported that Xanax made their trip start up again and trigger hallucinations and panic.
Other ways to navigate the comedown
There’s no way around it: What goes up must come down. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it.
Make the comedown more bearable (and maybe even get some sleep) with these tips:
- Eat some carbs. There’s
evidencethat eating certain carbohydrates an hour or two before bed can help you sleep. These include white rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes.
- Drink water. Increased body temperature due to LSD and not thinking to drink water while tripping can make you feel worse during the comedown.
- Take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever. An OTC pain reliever, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help with muscle soreness or headaches.
- Lie down, even if you’re wired. Sleep may elude you, but try anyway. Lie down in a dark and quiet room, or put on some music if it helps you relax. Try not to get too frustrated if you can’t fall asleep — just focus on giving your brain and body some rest.
If you’ve been prescribed Xanax for anxiety or panic disorders, it’s probably best to skip LSD.
LSD can cause anxiety and panic in some people. Plus, if you have a history of mental health issues, you may have a higher risk for developing hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) from using LSD.
There’s no straight answer here, as this combo hasn’t been studied in-depth.
Based on anecdotal evidence, taking a small amount of Xanax while using LSD likely won’t cause any major health risks, but it’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to mixing substances.
If you’re going to use Xanax alongside LSD, there are a few steps you can take that may reduce the potential risks:
- Go low and slow. Stick to the lowest amount of each substance to reduce your chance of having a bad reaction.
- Set your dose aside. Set aside your Xanax dose before doing acid to lower your chance of forgetting you’ve already taken it and overdoing it.
- Avoid alcohol. Don’t throw alcohol into the mix. Alcohol can cause dangerously slow breathing and even death when combined with Xanax.
- Have a buddy. Have someone with you who can spot the signs of trouble and get you help.
- Know when to skip it. Avoid LSD if you have a preexisting mental health condition or already take Xanax for anxiety or panic disorder.
Recognizing an emergency
It’s possible to overdose on Xanax. Even though LSD is unlikely to cause a fatal overdose, taking too much can cause physical symptoms that require emergency treatment.
Call 911 right away if you or someone else experiences any of these after taking Xanax and LSD:
There’s no scientific evidence that taking Xanax with LSD will prevent a bad trip or stop one in its tracks. While some people have reported success with the combo, the results aren’t consistent.
If you’re in the middle of a bad trip or looking for ways to avoid having one, your best bet is to stick with tied-and-true tips, like having a trusted friend nearby and making sure you’re in a calm, comfortable setting.
If you’re worried about your substance use and are looking for confidential support, you have a few options:
- Call SAMHSA’s national helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357), or use their online treatment locater.
- Talk to your healthcare provider if you feel comfortable doing so. Patient confidentiality laws prevent them from reporting this information to law enforcement.
- Find a support group through the Support Group Project.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.