Candy Flipping: What You Need to Know About Mixing MDMA and LSD
In This Article
Candy flipping is a popular club activity that blends the effects of two synthetic psychoactive substances — MDMA and LSD. Its popularity has grown over the last decade due to its ability to induce short-term stimulant and psychedelic sensations, especially among people who go to dance clubs, raves, or music festivals.
While advocates of candy flipping promote its potential benefit, excessive use can be dangerous due to the interaction between the two substances.
This blog post breaks down what candy flipping is and explores some of the potential physical and psychological effects of mixing MDMA and LSD.
What Is Candy Flipping?
The term "candy flipping" originated in 1980s England during the rise of rave culture. It refers to the simultaneous consumption of molly (MDMA) and acid, also known as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).1
The "candy" in candy flipping refers to the colorful appearance of MDMA pills. The term "flip" refers to the act of combining MDMA (Molly or ecstasy) with other drugs. Substituting this word with "trip" signifies the involvement of LSD in the drug combination.2
A "true candy flip experience" varies, but most methods involve taking LSD initially and then consuming MDMA approximately 2 to 5 hours later.3
What are MDMA and LSD?
MDMA is a synthetic drug with both stimulant and psychedelic effects. It’s also known as molly or ecstasy. MDMA is common in party settings since taking it induces increased energy, empathy, and feelings of pleasure.
LSD is a classic hallucinogenic drug that produces intense visual and auditory distortion. It's popular for its mind-altering effects, including altered perception, heightened emotions, and an expanded consciousness.
Together, these two drugs create a unique experience that’s stimulating and introspective. While the effects of each substance individually are well-documented, their combination in candy flipping hasn't been extensively studied.
What Happens During Candy Flipping?
Candy flipping results in an intense combination experienced when both MDMA and LSD effects come together. Due to the unpredictable nature of these drugs, it's difficult to determine what exactly will happen during a candy flip experience.
However, some common effects include:
- Increased energy and euphoria: MDMA can produce feelings of happiness and pleasure. With LSD, this can result in a heightened sense of euphoria and energy.
- Enhanced empathy and sociability: MDMA increases empathy, love, and connectedness. This effect can amplify the social aspects of LSD.
- Intense visual and auditory hallucinations: LSD is popular for its mind-altering effects, including visual and auditory hallucinations. A candy flip experience can intensify these episodes.
- Increased physical and emotional vulnerability: Both MDMA and LSD can produce emotional vulnerability, which can amplify when taken together.
Other users report experiencing the following:3
- Jaw clenching
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How Does Candy Flipping Work?
Doing candy flipping varies from one user to another. Some consume MDMA later in their trip, typically around the fourth or fifth hour. Doing so coincides with the comedown of both substances.
Others take MDMA earlier, typically between 45 minutes and 2 to 3 hours. They do so to experience the peak effects of both drugs simultaneously, although this can be too intense for the user.
According to survey results, most users reported a preference for taking LSD first and then introducing MDMA sometime between 1 and 5 hours later. This approach allows them to become accustomed to the effects of LSD before adding MDMA to the experience.3
Duration of Candy Flipping’s Effects
Candy flipping typically spans from 8 to 14 hours. Its effects vary according to the duration of your LSD dose.3
LSD's effects can persist in the body for up to 12 hours, depending on the dosage.4 Meanwhile, the effects of MDMA typically span between 3 to 6 hours.5
Candy flipping’s effects can vary significantly from person to person. They also depend on the taken substances’ quality, dosage, timing of consumption, and body chemistry.
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Risks and Side Effects of Candy Flipping
Like all drugs, there are potential risks and adverse effects from candy flipping. These can range from mild discomfort to more severe physical and psychological consequences.
Here are some potential acute effects of candy flipping:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Elevated body temperature
- Overheating or exhaustion
- Increased risk-taking behavior
- Bad trips
In some cases, users may experience a "bad trip." This can be especially concerning in a public setting like a dance club or rave.
How to Recognize and Respond to Bad Trips
A bad trip involves intense fear, anxiety, or paranoia and may manifest as psychiatric symptoms. If you or someone you know is experiencing a bad trip, it's important to stay calm and help them get through it.
Here are some tips for managing a bad trip:
- Create a safe and comfortable environment: Move to a quiet and familiar place where the person can feel more secure.
- Stay with the person: Let them know they are not alone. Your presence and support can be calming and reassuring.
- Use distraction techniques: Engage the person in a different activity, such as listening to music or walking, to help shift their focus away from negative thoughts.
- Talk through their experience: Ask the person what they are feeling and experiencing. Acknowledge their feelings and try to guide them towards positive thoughts.
- Seek professional help if necessary: If the person is experiencing severe distress or exhibits concerning behavior, seek medical attention immediately.
The effects of LSD and MDMA can be unpredictable, and bad trips can happen unexpectedly. If you plan to use these substances or know someone who is, educate yourself about their potential risks and how to handle a potential bad trip.
Psychological Risks and Serotonin Syndrome
The side effects of mixing LSD and MDMA can also lead to mental health disorders and concerns like panic attacks and psychosis.
Candy flipping also poses a risk of serotonin syndrome. These drugs activate and desensitize receptors by flooding the brain with excessive serotonin and dopamine. This can result in a range of symptoms, from shivers to seizures.6
Here are some potential long-term consequences of candy flipping:
- Concerns surrounding addiction
- Negative impact on underlying mental health conditions (depression, anxiety, and memory issues)
- Chronic physical issues (cardiovascular problems, liver damage, kidney failure)
Some studies suggest that regular use of MDMA may lead to cognitive impairments, mood disorders, and memory loss.6 Additionally, the long-term effects of LSD can include prolonged depression, delusions, and persistent psychosis or hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD).7,8
Warning Signs of LSD and MDMA Addiction
It can be challenging to identify an addiction, especially if a user misuses multiple substances. Some warning signs may indicate a problem with LSD or MDMA use, including:
- Taking increasing amounts of the drugs to achieve the desired effects
- Feeling unable to stop using despite negative consequences
- Spending excessive amounts of money on drugs
- Neglecting responsibilities, relationships, or hobbies in favor of using drugs
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop using
If you are using drugs to self-medicate an underlying mental health condition or physical ailment, consult an addiction specialist and your healthcare provider to treat all your illnesses. A holistic approach to treatment will prevent you from experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.
Common Questions on Candy Flipping
Why do people combine these drugs?
People may combine MDMA and LSD to enhance the effects of both substances and create a unique experience. The combination of stimulant and psychedelic effects can lead to intense euphoria, heightened sensory experiences, and introspection.
However, combining these drugs also carries an increase in potential risks and side effects. So, exercise caution when using them together.
Is there a comedown after candy flipping?
As with any drug, there’s a comedown after candy flipping. It can vary in intensity from person to person and may include feelings of fatigue, irritability, depression, or anxiety.
As users report, the comedown phase of a candy flip can be difficult to handle.3 When combining LSD and MDMA, the transition from the powerful emotional effects of the candy flip to the introspective effects of LSD can be quite abrupt.
The following day’s intense comedown effects often involve a significantly heavier hangover-like sensation compared to the individual usage of LSD or MDMA alone.
How does candy flipping compare to other drug combinations?
Candy flipping is comparable to other similar poly-drug combinations. These include "hippie flipping" (a combination of magic mushrooms and MDMA) or "kitty flipping" (a mix of ketamine and MDMA).
Remember, everyone's body chemistry is different, and what may be a relatively safe experience for one person could have severe consequences for another. Always prioritize your health when making decisions about drug use, whether it's candy flipping or experimenting with other substances.
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Candy flipping describes the combination of LSD and MDMA. This drug mix can produce intense euphoria, sensory experiences, and feelings of introspection. However, it also carries potential risks and side effects, including physical consequences and negative mental health outcomes.
Recognizing the warning signs of addiction to these substances is crucial in preventing long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is experiencing a bad trip, follow the tips above to help manage the situation.
Always prioritize your health and well-being when making decisions about drug use. Be responsible and informed before experimenting with any substance, or avoid using drugs altogether.
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- Chary et al. “Candyflipping and Other Combinations: Identifying Drug–Drug Combinations from an Online Forum.” Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2018.
- “Drug combination.” Medical Xpress.
- Janikian, M. “Candy Flip” Explainer: What Happens When You Mix Acid and Molly?” Double Blind, 2021.
- Hwang, K.A.J., and Saadabadi, A. “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD).” StatPearls [Internet], National Library of Medicine, 2023.
- “MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) DrugFacts.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020.
- Zarley, B.D. “Candy flipping” — mixing MDMA and LSD — is hitting the lab.” Freethink, 2020.
- “MDMA’s Effects on the Brain.” DrugfreeCT.org.
- “Short and Long Term Effects.” CA.gov.