13 November 2014
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide LSD is one of the most powerful, mood-changing chemicals. First synthesized on November 16, 1938, it was not until five years later on April 19, 1943, that psychedelic properties were found. 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 laboratories, and these crystals are converted to a liquid for distribution. It is odorless, colorless, and has a moderately bitter taste. Known as “acid” and by many other names, LSD is sold on the street in small tablets, capsules or gelatin squares. It is sometimes added to absorbent paper, which is then divided into small squares decorated with designs or cartoon characters. Although, no matter what form it comes in, LSD leads the user to the same place, a deep disconnection from reality. LSD users call an LSD experience a “trip,” usually lasting around twelve hours. LSD's primary effects are visual. Colors seem stronger and lights seem brighter. Objects that are stable might appear to move or have a halo of light around them. Sometimes objects have trails of light coming from them or appear smaller or larger than they really are. LSD, being greatly and legally used in the 1960’s that was researched for its therapeutic uses, was first founded by Albert Hofmann and popularized amongst Americans by Psychologist Timothy Leary, and is still used amongst individuals and researched for its medical uses today, although now illegal. Boyd 2
Albert Hofmann was the first person to synthesize, ingest, and learn of the psychedelic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). He is a chemist from Basel, Switzerland and became an employee of the pharmaceutical-chemical department of Sandoz Laboratories as a co-worker with professor Arthur Stoll, founder of the pharmaceutical department. He began studying the medicinal plant squill and the fungus ergot as part of a program to purify and synthesize active components for use as pharmaceuticals. While researching lysergic acid derivatives, Hofmann first synthesized LSD on November 16, 1938. Although, when he made this drug, he did not know the effects the drug will have while being ingested. (Goffman, 2004). The main intention of the synthesis was to obtain a respiratory and circulatory stimulant that had no effects on the uterus by introducing this functional group to lysergic acid. It was set aside for five years, until April 16, 1943, when Hofmann decided to reexamine it. While re-synthesizing LSD, he accidentally absorbed a small quantity through his fingertips and soon discovered its powerful effects. He described what he felt as 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 perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away” (“Albert Hofmann”, 2014). Three days later, on April 19, 1943, Hofmann intentionally consumed 250 micrograms of LSD.
This day is now known as "Bicycle Day," because after starting to feel the effects of the drug he rode home on a bike, and that became the first intentional acid trip. Boyd 3
Sandoz Laboratories brought LSD to the attention of the United States in 1949 because they believed LSD might have clinical applications. Throughout the 1950’s, mainstream media reported on research into LSD, undergraduate psychology students taking LSD as part of their education, described the effects of the drug, and its growing use in psychiatry. However, Dr. Leary's experiments spread LSD usage to a much wider portion of the general population. Dr. Timothy Leary, a lecturer in