Candyflipping: Mixing LSD and MDMA

Edmund Murphy
Dr. Celeste Small
Written by Edmund Murphy on 08 August 2023
Medically reviewed by Dr. Celeste Small on 05 June 2024

Candyflipping, a slang term that originated in the UK in the early 90s, is a drug use term that describes taking MDMA (ecstasy, Molly) and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) together. As with other forms of polysubstance abuse, candyflipping can be dangerous.

Candyflipping: Mixing LSD and MDMA

Why do people combine MDMA and LSD?

Polysubstance abuse such as candyflipping is not a new phenomenon. Drug users have been combing substances such as MDMA and LSD to enhance their effects for decades, creating what is known as novel psychoactive substances (NPS). 

As with other forms of polysubstance abuse, people combine MDMA and LSD, or candyflip, in order to enhance the psychoactive effects of both drugs. In the case of candyflipping, anecdotal evidence suggests that users who take this drug combination feel like they are on an enhanced MDMA high; with increased visual hallucinations and feelings of intense euphoria. Research also suggests that people use MDMA to avoid a bad LSD trip, by using the drug's mood-enhancing properties to negate any negative feelings that may lead to negative LSD side effects. 

However, due to the long-acting nature of LSD, the effects of candyflipping can last for a long time, which may lead to some users having a bad trip as they sober up from the MDMA. 

Which one is used first?

As LSD has a longer onset, most users will take the psychedelic first (often around 4 hours ahead of time) before ingesting MDMA. This gives LSD time to begin affecting the brain’s neurotransmitters and allows for a more rapid and intense onset of MDMA effects.

The effects of candyflipping

Due to both MDMA and LSD being illegal substances, most evidence for the effects of candyflipping is anecdotal in nature. The most commonly reported effects of candyflipping include:

  • Euphoria
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Dissociation 
  • Mood swings
  • Intense emotions
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia 
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Tension in the jaw
  • Cramping

A 2020 study into the validity of MDMA as a combination medication for those trialing LSD therapy for treatment-resistant depression recorded both negative and positive side effects.

How long does candyflipping last?

The popularity of candyflipping, though returning in recent years, peaked during the 1980s and 90s meaning there is little current research into the duration of the experience. 

However, there has been research on the the onset and longevity of side effects in both substances separately. LSD typically kicks in within 90 minutes and depending on the dose can last up to 12 hours. MDMA has an onset of 20 to 70 minutes and can last up to 6 hours. 

While it is safe to say that the overall length of candyflipping effects can be between 6 and 12 hours, it is difficult to pinpoint when the peak of the combination effects will occur. 

Is there a comedown?

Both LSD and MDMA affect the levels of serotonin production in the brain. This means that both substances produce a similar ‘comedown’; that can greatly impact mood and emotion. 

Some people will display feelings of depression, anxiety, and paranoia when coming down from candyflipping. Most of these symptoms will wear off within 24 hours but some users report feeling comedown symptoms up to a week later. 

Some other comedown symptoms from candyflipping include:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Memory issues
  • Irritability
  • Lack of appetite
  • Reduced sexual desire

Dangers of candyflipping

MDMA and LSD produce unique side effects which can be exacerbated when taken together. MDMA acts as a stimulant and minor psychedelic which creates feelings of alertness, euphoria, and empathy. LSD can produce intense hallucinations and disassociation from reality. When these effects are combined through candyflipping they can result in hazardous scenarios. 

For example, candyflipping increases the risk of overdose. While overdose for LSD usually results in non-life-threatening situations, MDMA can cause heart complications that can lead to serious injury. MDMA also increases body temperature and causes dehydration which has been linked to organ failure in the liver, kidneys, and cardiovascular system. 

There is also the potential for candyflipping to damage mental health. People with preexisting mental health conditions may find that the effects of LSD cause negative mental effects such as anxiety, panic attacks, and emotional distress.

Is candyflipping addictive?

While both LSD and MDMA are Schedule I substances under the Controlled Substance Act, neither is considered to be highly addictive. This is because neither drug drastically affects dopamine production in the brain, meaning the chances of dependence forming is less likely. 

However, candyflipping is considered a form of polysubstance abuse (when two or more substances are consumed at the same time) and is often a sign of a larger substance use disorder. Even those who only abuse LSD and MDMA occasionally may be considered to have a substance use disorder if they can only feel good taking the drugs together. 

Getting help for polysubstance abuse

If you or someone you care about is suffering from a drug or alcohol problem or are concerned about frequent polysubstance abuse, then it may be time to get help. Our rehab database has details for licensed addiction professionals and treatment centers across the country that can help with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. Or call (855) 648-7228 to get help now.

Resources:

  1. Chary M, et al. (2018). Candyflipping and other combinations: Identifying drug–drug combinations from an online forum. DOI:
  2. Effects of MDMA Co-administration on the Response to LSD in Healthy Subjects - Full Text View - . (n.d.). . Retrieved August 8, 2023, from
  3. Schifano, F., Di Furia, L., Forza, G., Minicuci, N., & Bricolo, R. (1998). MDMA (`ecstasy’) consumption in the context of polydrug abuse: a report on 150 patients. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 52(1), 85–90.
  4. How do hallucinogens (LSD, psilocybin, peyote, DMT, and ayahuasca) affect the brain and body? (2015).
  5. LSD. (n.d.).
  6. What is MDMA? (2018).

Activity History - Last updated: 05 June 2024, Published date:


Reviewer

Dr. Celeste Small

Pharm.D, RPh.

Celeste Small, PharmD. is a licensed and practicing pharmacist and medical writer who specializes in different substances, the effects of substance abuse, and substance use disorder.

Activity History - Medically Reviewed on 31 July 2023 and last checked on 05 June 2024

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Celeste Small

Pharm.D, RPh.

Dr. Celeste Small

Reviewer

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