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LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is a hallucinogenic drug that was first synthesized a Swiss scientist in the 1930s. During the Cold War, the CIA conducted clandestine experiments with LSD (and other drugs) for mind control, information gathering and other purposes. Over time, the drug became a symbol of the 1960s counterculture, eventually joining other hallucinogenic and recreational drugs at rave parties.
Albert Hofmann and Bicycle Day
Albert Hofmann, a researcher with the Swiss chemical company Sandoz, first developed lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD in 1938. He was working with a chemical found in ergot, a fungus that grows naturally on rye and other grains.
Hofmann didn’t discover the drug’s hallucinogenic effects until 1943 when he accidentally ingested a small amount and perceived “extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.”
Three days later, on April 19, 1943, he took a larger dose of the drug. As Hofmann rode home from work on his bicycle—World War II restrictions made automobile travel off-limits—he experienced the world’s first intentional acid trip.
Years later, April 19 came to be celebrated by some recreational LSD users as Bicycle Day.
LSD is just one mind-altering substance in a class of drugs called hallucinogens, which cause people to have hallucinations—things that someone sees, hears or feels that appear to be real but are in fact created by the mind.
LSD users call these hallucinogenic experiences “trips,” and LSD is a particularly strong hallucinogen. Because its effects are unpredictable, there’s no way to know when taking the drug whether a user will have a good trip or not.
Depending on how much a person takes or how their brain responds, a trip can be pleasurable and enlightening, or, during a “bad trip,” a user may have terrifying thoughts or feel out of control.
Long after they’ve taken the drug, some users experience flashbacks, when parts of the trip return without using the drug again. Researchers think LSD flashbacks may happen during times of increased stress.
The CIA and Project MK-Ultra
Project MK-Ultra, the code name given to a Central Intelligence Agency program that began in the 1950s and lasted through the 1960s, is sometimes known as part of the CIA’s “mind control program.”
Throughout the years of Project MK-Ultra, the CIA experimented with LSD and other substances on both volunteers and unwitting subjects. They believed that LSD could be used as a psychological weapon in the Cold War. Hypnosis, shock therapy, interrogation and other dubious mind-control techniques were also part of MK-Ultra.
These government acid experiments—which also involved dozens of universities, pharmaceutical companies and medical facilities—took place throughout the 1950s and 1960s, before LSD was deemed too unpredictable to use in the field.
When Project MK-Ultra became public knowledge in the 1970s, the scandal resulted in numerous lawsuits and a congressional investigation headed by Senator Frank Church.
Ken Kesey and the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
After volunteering to take part in Project MKUltra as a student at Stanford University, Ken Kesey, author of the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, went on to promote the use of LSD.
In the early 1960s, Kesey and the Merry Pranksters (as his group of followers were called) hosted a series of LSD-fueled parties in the San Francisco Bay area. Kesey called these parties “Acid Tests.”
Acid Tests combined drug use with musical performances by bands including the Grateful Dead and psychedelic effects such as fluorescent paint and black lights.
Author Tom Wolfe based his 1968 non-fiction book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, on the experiences of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. The book chronicles the Acid Test parties and the growing 1960s hippie counterculture movement.
Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert
Both psychology professors at Harvard University, Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert administered LSD and psychedelic mushrooms to Harvard students during a series of experiments in the early 1960s.
At the time, neither of these substances were illegal in the United States. (The U.S. federal government didn’t outlaw LSD until 1968.)
Leary and Alpert documented the effects of the hallucinogenic drugs on the students’ consciousness. The scientific community, however, criticized the legitimacy of the studies which Leary and Alpert conducted while also tripping.
Both men were eventually dismissed from Harvard but went on to become symbols of the psychedelic drug and hippie counterculture.
Leary founded a psychedelic religion based on LSD called the League for Spiritual Discovery and coined the phrase “tune in, turn on, drop out.” Alpert wrote a popular spiritual book called Be Here Now under the pseudonym Baba Ram Dass.
Carlos Castañeda and Other Hallucinogens
Hallucinogens can be found in the extracts of some plants or mushrooms, or they can be manmade like LSD. The ergot fungus, from which Hofmann synthesized LSD in 1938, has been associated with hallucinogenic effects since ancient times.
Peyote, a cactus native to parts of Mexico and Texas, contains a psychoactive chemical called mescaline. Native Americans in Mexico have used peyote and mescaline in religious ceremonies for thousands of years.
There are more than 100 species of mushrooms around the world that contain psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound. Archeologists believe humans have used these “magic mushrooms” since prehistoric times.
Carlos Castañeda was a reclusive author whose best-selling series of books include The Teachings of Don Juan, published in 1968.
In his writings, Castañeda explored the use of mescaline, psilocybin and other hallucinogenics in spirituality and human culture. Born in Peru, Castañeda spent much of his adult life in California and helped to define the psychological landscape of the 1960s.
A number of manmade hallucinogens, such as MDMA (ecstasy or molly) and ketamine, are sometimes associated with dance parties and “rave culture.” PCP (angel dust) was used in the 1950s as a anesthetic before it was taken off the market in 1965 for its hallucinogenic side effects, only to become a popular recreational drug in the 1970s.
Hallucinogens. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Timothy Leary. Harvard University Department of Psychology.
Harvard LSD Research Draws National Attention. The Harvard Crimson.
Substance use – LSD. Medline Plus, National Library of Medicine.
Carlos Castaneda, Mystical and Mysterious Writer, Dies. The New York Times.
LSD - HISTORY
LSD discovery by Albert Hofmann
(not to be confused with Abbie Hoffman)
- Born January 11, 1906, Baden, Switzerland
- Died April 29, 2008 (aged 102), Burg im Leimental, Switzerland
- Known for Synthesis of LSD-25
Albert Hofmann was a Swiss scientist known best for being the first person to synthesize, ingest, and learn of the psychedelic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Hofmann was also the first person to isolate, synthesize, and name the principal psychedelic mushroom compounds psilocybin and psilocin. He authored more than 100 scientific articles and numerous books, including LSD: My Problem Child. In 2007 he shared first place, alongside Tim Berners-Lee, in a list of the 100 greatest living geniuses, as published by The Telegraph newspaper.
from Wikipedia - click here to read more.
LSD Before October 6, 1966
LSD was legal in the United States until it became illegal in California on October 6, 1966, and other states soon followed.
Up until that time, LSD was distributed mostly in liquid form, and other pharmaceutical formats. It was available for purchase from Sandoz laboratories in Switzerland, and many medical applications were under research.
LSD After October 6, 1966
After the US government made LSD illegal it was banned even for medical and scientific use. People continued to use LSD, but it was manufactured and distributed through underground channels, using new, innovative methods and formats for measuring dosage, quantity, and branding.
One way of distributing LSD was called "blotter". It involved saturating absorbent paper with LSD in solution. The first blotter papers were dosed by carefully dropping the liquid LSD onto paper in a grid formation. Later, the paper was prepared by printing a grid on the paper, then soaking the whole sheet of paper in the liquid LSD. The dosage was indicated by cutting along the lines of the grid so that each square of the grid was a certain dosage depending on the strength of the LSD solution applied.
This process of creating doses with grided paper evolved into using paper that was perforated along the lines of a grid so that doses could be torn apart easily. And small symbolic pictures were added to the paper to provide clues as to the origin of the LSD that paper contained.
LSD - HISTORY
LSD has the most unpredictable psychological effects including delusions and hallucinations, which are serious distortions in reality perception, LSD trips can be really good or really bad. Hallucinations may be aural and tactile, as well as visual. While it is not addictive, LSD does create tolerance, so that repeat users may need to take more to achieve the results previously achieved with less.
Drugs or substances that are not sold over the counter (OTC) are divided into five schedules, labeled with Roman numerals. Schedule I is for drugs for which there is no currently acceptable medical usage in the U.S. It includes, for example, heroin and marijuana. For Schedules II-V, all drugs with medical use, the least restricted is Schedule V, which includes medications like cough medicines with codeine the most restrictive is Schedule II, which includes highly addictive drugs like morphine, cocaine, and methadone. LSD is placed in Schedule I.
The description of the origins of LSD is given by its discoverer, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffmann, in his manuscript LSD – My Problem Child. During researches into ergot, a fungus, for a pharmaceutical company, it became necessary to create lysergic acid synthetically. Because it was unstable, he created a number of different compounds with it. The twenty-fifth of these lysergic acid compounds, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25) was produced in 1938.
Because LSD-25 was not of immediate interest, testing was discontinued. Five years later, in 1943, convinced that it might have some additional use, Hofmann created another sample. And though he was meticulously careful, he had a very strange experience that day – a combination of restlessness and slight dizziness, which passed into a hallucinatory state that was very pleasant and lasted about 2 hours.
Hofman tentatively identified the experience as resulting from a small amount of LSD-25 being absorbed through his skin. But to be sure, he set out to test LSD-25 3 days later by ingesting some purposely, inducing the first purposeful LSD trip, and the first “bad trip” as well. However, after a period of terror in which he thought he’d been taken over by a demon, the pleasant state of the first time returned, again with kaleidoscopic images, etc.
The 60s Cultural Revolution
As LSD became available for recreational use, it started to gain a massive reputation as a magic pill for direct spiritual experience. This dovetailed perfectly with the radical questioning of government and social norms that was prevalent in the 1960s, and the drug’s popularity was significantly helped along by figures like Harvard professors Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, who encouraged taking LSD and other psychedelics to their students and the world at large. Richard Alpert in particular would continue to champion the spiritual insights that LSD provides as he visited India, changed his name to Ram Dass, and wrote the seminal book “Be Here Now.” Later in life he would assert that LSD gave him the initial insights to follow a spiritual path, but that continued use of the drug was unnecessary.[1.Dass, Ram. Be Here Now. 1971.]
As LSD became synonymous with hippies and the countercultural movement, it quickly earned a stigma in the rest of society. In the late 60s, LSD was made illegal in the U.S., and the therapeutic benefits it was originally known for were buried under horror stories, disinformation, and a cultural shift away from revolutionary counterculture and back into normalcy. But even as the drug’s popularity waned, its effects were long lasting as a generation of people got a glimpse of the transcendent power that psychedelics provide.
Barrett&aposs ongoing unpredictability forced the band to replace him
Meanwhile, Barrett was under pressure to produce a successful follow-up single to "See Emily Play." "Scream Thy Last Scream" and "Vegetable Man" were deemed too dark for release, and while "Apples and Oranges" finally got the go-ahead in mid-November, it lacked the catchiness of its predecessors and flopped.
The group headed out for a U.K. tour around this time, with Barrett causing more tension by either refusing to exit the tour bus at gigs or walking off before the start of a show. Following a disastrous appearance at a Christmas concert, the band reached out to Gilmour, then fronting another struggling group called Jokers Wild.
Entering 1968 with intentions of continuing as a five-piece band, Pink Floyd tried an arrangement in which Barrett would remain on board as a behind-the-scenes songwriter, before abandoning the idea of dealing with him altogether. By March 1968, Barrett was no longer with the band he co-founded and pushed to prominence.
Within a few years, the remaining members of Pink Floyd were being celebrated as arena rock gods while Barrett&aposs own musical career was finished, and he spent the rest of his life away from the public eye. His presence on the group&aposs quirky early records serving as a reminder for what could have been a long and successful career for a unique, gifted artist.
Even though he was no longer a member, Barrett still had an impact on Pink Floyd, and the band’s ninth studio album, Wish You Were Here, was recorded as a tribute to their co-founder.
Bill Wilson, LSD and the Secret Psychedelic History of Alcoholics Anonymous
Taking one mind-altering drug to free oneself from addiction to another mind-altering drug may sound counter-intuitive. But, like with all things psychedelic, this therapeutic approach is all about set and setting, intention and integration, what kind of drugs are consumed, how often and at what dose.
Those who preach that the only way to achieve lasting sobriety is through total abstinence from alcohol and all other drugs may be surprised to learn that the supposed patron saint of abstinence, Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was a firm believer in the ability of LSD to free some hardcore alcoholics from their addiction.
Bill Wilson’s enthusiasm for LSD as a tool in twelve-step work is best expressed in his correspondence in 1961 with the famous Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.
Jung was discussing how he agreed with Wilson that some diehard alcoholics must have a spiritual awakening to overcome their addiction. He pointed out that the Latin word for alcohol is spiritus. “You use the same word for the highest religious experience,” Jung wrote, “as for the most depraving poison.”
That letter of January 30, 1961 — in response to a long letter Wilson wrote to Jung — is fairly famous in AA circles. But in researching my book Distilled Spirits — Getting High, then Sober, with a Famous Writer, a Forgotten Philosopher and a Hopeless Drunk, I discovered a second Wilson letter to Jung. In that letter of March 29, 1961, Wilson writes at length about his experiments using LSD to help members of Alcoholics Anonymous have the spiritual awakening that is central to the twelve-step program of recovery.
“Some of my AA friends and I have taken the material (LSD) frequently and with much benefit,” Wilson told Jung, adding that the powerful psychedelic drug sparks “a great broadening and deepening and heightening of consciousness.”
Wilson told Jung that his first LSD trip in 1956 reminded him of a mystical revelation he had after hitting bottom in the 1930s and winding up in a New York City hospital ward for hardcore alcoholics. “My original spontaneous spiritual experience of twenty-five years before was enacted with wonderful splendor and conviction,” he wrote.
LSD was still legal in 1956, and in Wilson’s case initially taken under the medical supervision of UCLA researcher Sidney Cohen, and with the spiritual guidance of his Wilson’s friend, Gerald Heard, an Anglo-Irish mystic and early proponent of psychedelic spirituality. Wilson would go on to quietly form a bi-coastal psychedelic salon with various leading lights of that decade, including the writer Aldous Huxley.
Wilson’s earlier spiritual experience occurred in December of 1934, before LSD was even invented. It happened during Wilson’s fourth and final stay at a private New York City hospital that employed something called the Towns-Lambert Cure to treat their alcoholic clients. Many of these patients, including Wilson, were once-successful businessmen whose drinking had spun out of control during the Great Depression.
“Suddenly,” Bill would later recall, “my room blazed with an indescribably white light. I was seized with an ecstasy beyond description.”
That room was in a rehab center where doctors employed a potion which included two drugs derived from plants known to cause delirium and hallucinations. One of them is belladonna and the other henbane, was long associated with witchcraft and potions said to summon the spirits of the dead. (Warning to psychonaunts: both of these plants can be poisonous at high doses.)
So there’s a good chance that psychoactive plants played a role in what came to be known as the founding vision of Alcoholics Anonymous, even though the effects of the herbs used at Towns Hospital differ from other psychedelic plants and from the LSD Wilson would begin experimenting with two decades later.
Here’s how Bill W. would later describe his Towns Hospital vision:
“In the mind’s eye, there was a mountain. I stood upon its summit where a great wind blew. A wind, not of air, but of spirit. In great, clean strength it blew right through me. Then came the blazing thought, ‘You are a free man.’ ”
In my view, it doesn’t really matter if Bill’s vision was caused by psychoactive plants, divine revelation, or the hallucinations hardcore drunks sometimes experience when they hit bottom and stop drinking.
What matters is that the vision transformed his life and inspired a crusade to free other alcoholics from addiction.
One of the foundations of the twelve-step recovery program Wilson and company devised in the 1930s is the proposition that alcoholics and other addicts must undergo a “spiritual awakening” inspiring them to “turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.”
Those are the only words in the twelve steps that were printed in italics, indicating an openness in the early AA circles to finding God in the Judeo-Christian tradition, Eastern spirituality or, twenty years later, in a tab of acid. In fact, long before he discovered psychedelics, Wilson was a serious student of paranormal psychology and various forms of spiritualism, holding seances and other gatherings with some of the leading psychics of his time.
In his second letter to Jung, Bill Wilson told Jung that many members of AA “have returned to the churches, almost always with fine results. But some of us have taken less orthodox paths. Along with a number of friends, I find myself among the later.”
Wilson cited the Canadian research of Humphry Osmond, the man who turned Huxley onto mescaline in 1953. Osmond reported that 150 hardcore alcoholics were “preconditioned by LSD and then placed in the surrounding AA groups.”
Over a three-year period, they achieved “startling results” when compared to similar drunks who were not treated with psychedelics, but only got AA.
“My friends believe that LSD temporarily triggers a change in blood chemistry that inhibits or reduces ego thereby enabling more reality to be felt and seen,” Wilson told Jung.
Jung became seriously ill around the time he received Wilson’s second letter. He never answered that missive and he may not have even gotten a chance to read it before he died.
Bill Wilson died ten years later from diseases caused by the other addiction he could never shake — cigarettes.
In the end, not much came of Bill Wilson’s idea to introduce LSD into Alcoholics Anonymous. More cautious and conservative elements in the AA fellowship pushed back, questioning their founder’s unbridled enthusiasm for the drug.
In one letter, Wilson asserted that the powerful psychoactive compound was “about as harmless as aspirin.” But in another piece of correspondence, he acknowledged that LSD does not have “any miraculous property of transforming spiritually and emotionally sick people into healthy ones overnight.” Wilson also wrote that those opposing his LSD enthusiasm in AA were joking that “Bill takes one pill to see God and another to quiet his nerves.”
Meanwhile, by the mid-1960s, the notorious LSD evangelism of such counter-cultural icons as Harvard Professor Timothy Leary and Merry Prankster Ken Kesey had begun turning mainstream America against the idea of psychedelic therapy.
This Summer Might Be a Psychedelic Dumpster Fire. Are You Ready?
In recent decades, psychologists and neuroscientists have resurrected substance abuse research that began in the 1950s and was shut down during the “war on drugs” in the 1970s and 1980s. Clinical trials have, once again, shown the effectiveness of using psychedelic drugs, along with psychotherapy, to treat addiction to alcohol, cocaine and tobacco.
At the same time, there has been an explosion of interest in the ritualized use of ayahuasca, ibogaine and other plant medicines to help those addicted to various drugs of abuse.
In my book Changing Our Minds – Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy, I interviewed addicts, alcoholics, therapists, shamans and scientists doing this work.
Carroll Carlson, an alcoholic treated in a clinical trial at the University of New Mexico, said a vision she had of Jesus during psilocybin-assisted therapy enabled her to “forgive myself for the choices I had made.”
Gordon McGlothlin, a lifelong smoker approaching retirement, kicked his tobacco habit following a psychedelic clinical trial at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Asked how his trip did the trick, he said, “You suddenly understand how your body and the universe are connected…I might want to have a cigarette, but now I know I don’t need it.”
Carson, a heroin addict I interviewed at a treatment center in Mexico and asked that his last name not be used, was treated with two psychedelic medicines — ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT. Carson, a 31-year-old evangelical Christian from Dallas, said he felt “reborn” after the experience. “Since the ibogaine,” he told me, “the basic craving that I’ve had for opiates is gone for the first time in ten years.”
If this all sounds too good to be true, that’s because it sometimes is. Another heroin addict I interviewed for my book went to this same clinic and quickly relapsed after his miracle cure. He soon realized that he needed an ongoing support group and other lifestyle changes if he was to stay free from addictive thoughts and behaviors.
That’s exactly the point behind an emerging network of alcoholics and other addicts who have slightly rewritten Bill Wilson’s twelve steps and hold Zoom meetings under the banner “Psychedelics in Recovery.”
As a recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict, I played a minor role in the formation of that online fellowship. I got sober in 2006, and did so without psychedelics. I tell that story in Distilled Spirits. In 2014, after eight years of taking nothing stronger than a double espresso, I started researching and reporting Changing Our Minds. Over the next few years, as part of that project and to satisfy my own curiously, I cautiously revived my own psychedelic experimentation. As a participant/observer, I explored the therapeutic and spiritual use of magic mushrooms, MDMA, ketamine, ayahuasca and 5-Meo-DMT.
So far, I have not touched alcohol and cocaine — nor have I fallen into the abuse of psychedelics. I still drink too much espresso.
Others have not been so lucky. My work with Psychedelics in Recovery showed me how easy it is for addicts like me to fool ourselves and fall back into addictive, abusive and harmful use of drugs that, in a therapeutic or spiritual setting, might help us at least temporarily dissolve the ego and examine our own self-centeredness.
“Defining our own sobriety” may work for some, but certainly not for all addicts and alcoholics. Honesty, openness and truly knowing ourselves, with the help of a supportive community, seems to be the best route to recovery — with or without a psychedelic assist.
The LSD Molecule and Chemical Structure
The LSD molecule consists of a tetracyclic ring structure with a tryptamine core. The tryptamine core consists of an indole ring system, which is a 6-membered benzene ring fused to a five-membered nitrogen-containing ring. This structure is found in other serotonergic psychedelics such as ibogaine and psilocybin, as well as the endogenous neurotransmitter serotonin.
LSD has four different isomers, that is, compounds with the same chemical formula that differ in the spatial arrangement of their atoms. These are d- and l-LSD as well as d- and l-isoLSD. However, only d-LSD has psychoactive properties, so the last manufacturing steps involve purifying this specific isomeric form. Once purified, LSD is a white, odorless crystalline powder that dissolves easily in water.
LSD is part of a class of compounds derived from ergot called ergolines. Therefore, its chemical structure closely resembles other ergoline derivatives, such as ergine (LSA), and the uterotonic drugs ergonovine and methergine. Like LSD, all of these compounds are amides of lysergic acid.
Lysergic acid is a precursor compound to a wide array of ergoline alkaloids. It is fundamental to the production of LSD under many synthesis routes, and for this reason, it is listed as a Schedule III controlled drug. The name lysergic acid is derived from how it’s produced, via the lysis of ergot alkaloids.
Chemists make lysergic acid by treating the ergot alkaloids produced by the ergot (Claviceps purpurea) fungus with a strong base, such as lye or potassium hydroxide. They then carefully neutralize the basic mixture with an acid. The strong alkali cleaves the amide linkage of the ergot alkaloid, producing lysergic acid. Lysergic acid can also be produced by extracting ergine (d-lysergic acid amide) from Hawaiian Baby Woodrose or Morning Glory seeds, and treating the purified extract in the same manner as the aforementioned ergot alkaloids.
The carboxylic acid group (-COOH) of lysergic acid reacts with an amine, forming the corresponding amide. While the reaction with diethylamine produces lysergic acid diethylamide, lysergic acid can react with numerous other amines, including dimethylamine, dipropylamine, dibutylamine, and many more. The amides formed by these amines show only a small fraction of the potency of LSD, which signals that the diethylamide group is central to LSD’s psychoactive potency.
Iso-Lysergic Acid Hydrazide
When producing LSD from ergot alkaloids, the first step often involves the production of a lysergic acid compound called lysergic acid hydrazide. The chemical structure of lysergic acid hydrazide is highly similar to lysergic acid, except a hydroxy (OH) group is replaced by a couple of nitrogens that are attached to 3 hydrogens (N2H3).
Makers create this intermediate because it is more stable than the free lysergic acid, and is, therefore, a better starting product. In addition, extracting it away from the other irrelevant compounds found in the starting material results in a much purer final product.
Enter Tom Wolfe
The counterculture movement was still in its infancy when Tom Wolfe wrote The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Trip about Kesey and his travels on the Furthur. Wolfe’s unique style of writing—New Journalism—was a perfect vehicle for the anti-establishment vibe of Kesey’s story. Wolfe wrote in an unorthodox way that was raw and powerful. It broke the rules and was more intimate than traditional journalism. Furthur was featured heavily in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, with only helped increase the popularity of Kesey’s counter-culture movement. The bus rolled on through North America, from one acid party to the next.
Let's Take a Trip (LSD)
HISTORY OF LSD
LSD, or Lysergic acid diethylamide, as you may have guessed, comes from the ergot fungus. It was first synthesized by the Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann in 1938 when he was doing research on the fungus for medicinal purposes. He writes about his experiences in his book, LSD: My Problem Child, where he says: "Last Friday, April 16, 1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscope play of colors. After some two hours, this condition faded away." Later in 1948, LSD was introduced to the medical world as a psychiatric cure-all drug and it was prescribed extensively. Production was halted in 1965, however, because it was growing too popular and there was a lack of positive long term effects and they were actually finding a lot of adverse side effects, like flashbacks and terrors. Even though the use of LSD in the medical community for medicinal purposes was declining, history tells us that LSD was still very popular in the 1960s. One man that you have probably already heard of is Dr. Timothy Leary. Dr. Leary was a professor at Harvard University and was pro-LSD. He was giving it to students and running experiments on prisoners, which he claimed resulted in a 90% success rate in preventing repeat criminal offenses. Then his students began to take it recreationally and Leary later told Playboy Magazine that LSD was a potent aphrodisiac, something that got him expelled from the university. Shortly after this, President Nixon claimed that he was the "most dangerous man in the U.S." Leary did not stop there. In order to combat the extensive anti-LSD propaganda being issued by the government, he coined the phrase, "Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.", short for turn on your mind, tune in to what you believe, and drop out of the things you're not happy about. That's exactly what you want your children hearing!
LSD AND THE CIA
Yes, you read that right. The CIA used and experimented on LSD! It was there top-secret mission, MK-ULTRA through which they were hoping to find a mind controlling agent. They were looking to use it as a form of psychological torture and they ran tests on members of the general public and CIA agents, often without their knowledge or consent. Many of the people that were involved in this experiment underwent such a sever trauma that many either committed suicide or wound up in a psychiatric ward. The researchers of this drug eventually realized that LSD was WAY too unpredictable to be used effectively. There is also a theory that the CIA covertly advocated for the use of LSD in the American youth in the 60's as a way to undermine the growing anti-war movement and emerging counterculture. Hmm, interesting!
LSD AND POPULAR CULTURE
Many believe that much of the great music produced by the Beatles was a result of taking some trips down LSD lane. In particular, the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" primarily written by John Lennon, is believed to be the offspring of LSD. Plus, the initials of the song are LSD, which I thought was a little ironic. Check out a video of this song below! Other bands, such as Grateful Dead helped give birth to the terms psychedelic or acid rock. LSD was very popular with the rebellious youth of the 60's and continues to be popular among college and high school age students. This is most likely because it only requires a small amount of LSD to send you on a trip and it is easy to make.
HOW DOES IT WORK AND WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?
Side effects of LSD are mainly due to the fact that LSD is similar to serotonin, which regulates memory, anxiety, mood, aggression, learning and sleep. LSD is the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen and is considered a "clean drug." This is because it only stays in the body for 30 hours and is not addictive. But what does it make you feel like? The mental side effects for LSD are pretty variable and dependent on one's personality, mood, expectations and surroundings. Many times, however, people report seeing, hearing and touching things that don't exist, which makes sense because LSD is a powerful hallucinogen. People also report an altered sense of time, mixing of senses, distortion of space, strange body sensations and changed and intensified thoughts. The physical effects include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth and tremors. Another fun fact the term psychedelic was coined to describe the effects of LSD!
For more information make sure to check out this website!
To learn how this fungus has impacted people for ages, check out the DISEASES/HISTORY page! Or go HOME.
WHAT IS LSD?
LSD is one of the most potent, mood-changing chemicals. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in the ergot fungus that grows on rye and other grains.
It is produced in crystal form in illegal laboratories, mainly in the United States. These crystals are converted to a liquid for distribution. It is odorless, colorless, and has a slightly bitter taste.
Known as “acid” and by many other names, LSD is sold on the street in small tablets (“microdots”), capsules or gelatin squares (“window panes”). It is sometimes added to absorbent paper, which is then divided into small squares decorated with designs or cartoon characters (“loony toons”). Occasionally it is sold in liquid form. But no matter what form it comes in, LSD leads the user to the same place—a serious disconnection from reality.
LSD users call an LSD experience a “trip,” typically lasting twelve hours or so. When things go wrong, which often happens, it is called a “bad trip,” another name for a living hell.