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Origins of LSD

February 14, 2013 by  
Filed under LSD

Origins of LSD


Origins of LSD

The origins of lysergic acid diethylamide can be traced back to the late 1930s when Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann first synthesized the psychedelic drug we know today as LSD. While the origins of LSD state that it was synthesized in the 1938 it was not until 5 years later that Albert Hofmann discovered its psychedelic properties.

The main point of creating and synthesizing LSD was to create a respiratory and circulatory stimulant. Once synthesized LSD actually was set aside until 1943 when Albert Hofmann decided to look at it a second time. While re-synthesizing LSD he accidentally absorbed a small amount of it and discovered its potent and powerful effects.

Origins of LSD – Bicycle Day

Three days after accidentally discovering the effects of LSD, Albert Hofmann decided it was time to really determine the true effects of LSD. Albert Hofmann did this by intentionally ingesting around 250 micrograms of the drug, this was an amount he thought was a threshold dose (the actual threshold dose is 20 micrograms). Needless to say less than hour later Albert Hofmann experienced sudden and intense changes in perception. He asked to be escorted home but because motor vehicles were prohibited due to wartime restrictions they had to make the journey on bicycle. Thus we have one of the origins of LSD, bicycle day. On his bike ride, Hofmann’s condition deteriorated and he experienced anxiety, thought the woman who lived in a house next door was a witch etc. Eventually when he got home he experienced a more pleasant LSD trip but initially it was not

Origins of LSD – Psychiatric Use

LSD got the attention of the United States in 1949 because they believed it may have clinical purposes. Throughout the 1950s mainstream media gave reports on the research into LSD. Many undergraduate psychologists were taking LSD as part of their education and Time Magazine even posted 6 positive reports about the effects of LSD between 1954 and 1959.

In one study of LSD it was given to alcoholics in Alcoholics Anonymous who failed to be able to quit drinking. After one year, around 50% of the study group had not had a drink-success numbers that have never been seen again.

From the late 1940s to the mid-1970s extensive research and testing was done on and with LSD. Over 1,000 research papers, books, and 6 international conferences were held about LSD and LSD was prescribed as a treatment for over 40,000 patients. But eventually the scientific study of LSD stopped around the 1980s as the government slowly started halting funding for the research on it.

Origins of LSD – Prohibition and Resistance

Around the middle of the 1960s the negative talk against the use of LSD and its perceived corrosive effects on the “values” of the Western middle class caused the government to step in. Despite the history of positive results due to LSD, it was declared a Schedule 1 substance. A schedule 1 substance meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and is without any currently accepted medical use in treatment. So LSD was removed from legal circulation. The first state to make LSD illegal was California in 1966. The other states followed suit and so did the rest of the world. The last country to produce LSD legally was Czechoslovakia during the 1960s and it was imported to California.

Some influential people who were involved with LSD and its origins are:

  • Alduos Huxley
  • Alfred Hubbard
  • Harold Abramson
  • R. Gordon Wasson
  • Dr. Timothy Leary
  • Owsley Stanley
  • Ken Kesey
  • Sidney Cohen

Timothy Leary is probably the most famous of these individuals. Timothy Leary was a lecturer in psychology at Harvard University. Leary claimed that using LSD with the intended dosage, set and setting preferably with guidance from professionals could alter behavior in dramatic and beneficial ways.

Origins of LSD – Today

The recreational use of LSD still happens today and but began throughout the 1960s to the 1980s was used heavily by musicians. During the late 1960s and early 1970s the counterculture or drug culture kind of adopted LSD as their psychedelic drug of choice. This was particularly among the hippie community.

Since the late 1980s, there has also been a comeback of hallucinogen research in broad terms. These clinical studies include LSD and other compounds such as members of the 2C family compounds and psilocybin (magic mushrooms). In particular, a study released in 2012 highlighted the extraordinary effectiveness of LSD in treating alcoholism.


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