Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)|
A web-based report by Noah Lampert
Health Class, Ms. Lizzarazo
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
October 26, 1998
|Bevis & Butthead|
LSD is a white, odorless powder first discovered (synthesized) by Dr. Albert Hofmann in 1938. It is considered one of the most potent mind-altering chemicals known to man. |
On Friday April 16, 1943 Hofmann synthesized a new batch of LSD-25. He was looking for a drug that might help migraine headache sufferers. That evening he wrote that he experienced mild hallucinations which he described as: "an uninterrupted stream of fantastic images of extraordinary plasticity and vividness and accompanied by an intense kaleidoscopic play of colors." The following Monday, April 19 he dissolved 250 millionths of a gram of LSD-25 in some water and drank it down. Fifty minutes later he was embarked on a full-fledged LSD-induced experience which involed intense hallucinations, physical and mental disorientation, and alternating feelings of euphoria and paranoia. This was the first recorded LSD "trip."
Basic Facts About LSD
Myths About LSDThere are many myths about LSD. Some myths are started by parents and police who do not understand the drug. Other myths are used by various groups who oppose drugs and are used to scare potential users.
One of the biggest myths about LSD is that it is addictive. LSD creates absolutely no physical addiction and you cannot kill yourself by taking an overdose. LSD can, however, cause you to act in irrational ways.
One rumor about LSD is that seven people who took the chemical stared into the sun and lost 90% of their vision. This rumor was later revealed to be a hoax.
Another rumor that has recently come into play is that companies are manufacturing press-on tatoos laced with LSD. This tale was probably started when a parent, wondering why the children were feeling odd, saw some blotter acid with a cartoon on it and then mistook it for a tatoo. The parents and the police thought this was a ploy to get children "hooked" on drugs. Since LSD is not addictive the ploy would not have worked anyway.
Another LSD myth is that everyone who takes it wants to jump out of a window because the think they can fly. Some people have jumped out of windows while under the influence of LSD. Maybe they thought while under the influence of LSD they were birds or that they had wings.
The rumor that taking LSD will automatically cause a bad trip or flashbacks is also untrue. There are LSD users who have not experienced either a bad trip or a flashback.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s the rumor that LSD caused chromosome damage was spread by the government and the media. A 1972 study of LSD concluded that LSD does not create "detectable genetic damage, and is not a teratogen or carcinogen in man." (Science April 30, 1972).
LSD Timeline 1938-19731938 LSD-25 synthesized by Albert Hofman in Switzerland
1943 Hofmann takes a 250 microgram (one millionth of an ounce) dosage of LSD-25
1949 LSD arrives in the United States. Dr. Max Rinkel, a research psychiatrist gives LSD to his partner, Dr. Robert Hyde and reports initial findings in May 1950. (Hyde is the first person in the Western Hemisphere to take an LSD "trip.") Focus of tests is to create a "model psychosis."
1951 CIA begins Operation BLUEBIRD to investigate mind-control techniques. BLUEBIRDS objective is to create an "explotiable alteration of personality." BLUEBIRD evolved into the MK-ULTRA program in 1953.
1953 Experiments testing LSD's usefulness in mind-control techniques take place. In November a CIA employee, Frank Olson, who had secretly been given LSD is so distraught after the event he commits suicide by jumping out of a hotel window in New York. In England the first LSD clinic open to the public for therapeutic purposes is established by Ronald Sandison.
1955 Author Aldous Huxley takes LSD
Mid-1950s First use of LSD and other psychedelics for social instead of clinical purposes by intellectuals and literary figures in Los Angeles.
1957 Humphry Osmond introduces the term "psychedelic" to describe chemicals like LSD. (In a letter to Huxley, Osmond wrote: "To fathom hell or soar angelic/Just take a pinch of psychedelic.")
1958 Alfred Hubbard, the "Johnny Appleseed of LSD" sets up the first private Canadian clinic to use LSD for therapeutic purposes; The Palo Alto Mental Research Institute begins studying LSD.
1959 First international conference on LSD therapy, chaired by Dr. Paul Hoch. Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg takes LSD for the first time at the Palo Alto Mental Research Institute (see Ginsberg's poem "Lysergic Acid.".
1960On August 9 Timothy Leary, in Cuernavaca Mexico, ingests mushrooms for his first psychedelic experience; In Palo Alto, California writing student Ken Kesey voulnteers for government-sponsored psychedelic drug experiments.
1961 Leary starts the "Psilocybin Project" at Harvard University; Hubbard publishes "The Use of LSD-25 in the Treatment of Alcoholism and Other Psychiatric Disorders."
1962 Michael Hollingshead gives Leary his first dose of LSD; Leary conducts the "Good Friday" experiment in Boston University's Marsh Chapel; U.S. Government labels LSD an "experimental drug."; Aldous Huxley's utopian book Island is published.
1963 In May, Leary is fired from Harvard and initially goes to Mexico and then sets up a psychedelic center at Millbrook in Dutchess County, New York; On November 22, Aldous Huxley dies after receiving his last request: an intravenous injection of LSD-25 administered by his wife Laura.
1965 Drug Abuse Control Amendments passed by U.S. Congress making illicit LSD manufacture a misdemeanor; In Febrauary Owsley Stanley starts manufacturing and distributing LSD street acid in San Francisco (retail price: $2 a trip); First big surge of street acid appears in the college environment; In San Francisco "A Tribute to Dr. Strange" a musical dance "happening" sponsored by the Family Dog is essentially an LSD party; Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters begin holding "Acid Test" parties.
1966 In January the Merry Pranksters hold a three day LSD party called the "Trips Festival"; Ron and Jay Thelin open the "Psychedelic Shop" near the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets in San Francisco; In March Life magazine runs a cover story entitled "LSD: The Exploding Threat of the Mind Drug That Got Out of Control"; In April, Dutchess County prosecutor G. Gordon Liddy raids Leary's Millbrook enclave and is arrested on possession of marijuana charges; On October 6 California enacts a law making LSD illegal; Arthur Kleps founded the Neo-American Boohoo Church which claimed that LSD was sacramental and used in the church's religious ceremonies; John Starr Cooke forms the "Psychedelic Rangers" a group of enthusiasts dispatched around the world to spread the word about the benefits of LSD; LSD and chromosome damage hoax promulgated by mass media with government complicity.
1967 January 14 a "Human Be-In" is held in San Francisco; Leary's Millbrook pyschedelic commune disbands; Emergence of the "acid rock" musical genre; "Summer of Love" in San Francisco; On October 6, The Diggers, a Psychedelic Salvation Army" staged "The Death of a Hippie."
1968 President Johnson mentions LSD in his State of the Union address; U.S. government makes possession of LSD illegal.
1969 In August, the Woodstock concert festival takes place in New York and members of the Charles Manson cult commit the Tate-LaBianca murders. In December the Altamont music concert in Calirfonia ends in tragedy when four concert-goers are killed. (Each of these events were associated with psychedelic drug use.); The Brotherhood of Eternal Love produces and distributes an estimated 10 million doses of "organge sunshine" acid in tablet (pill) form.
1970On June 20 Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Doc Ellis pitched a no-hitter baseball game while under the influence of LSD; LSD becomes a Schedule I substance, a classification reserved for drugs of abuse that have no medical value; In February Timothy Leary is convicted on drug charges and sentenced to 20 years in jail. (Leary escapes from prison on September 20.)
1973 On January 13 Leary is apprehended in Afghanistan and extradited back to the United States.
|LSD-Related Outer Links|
Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD. Grove Press, New York: 1985.|
R.E.L. Masters & Jean Houston, The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. Dell Publishing, New York: 1966.
Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream. Harper & Row, New York: 1988
|Notable Users of LSD|
R. D. Laing
Clare Boothe Luce
|Songs About LSD|
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (Beatles)|
Eight Miles High (The Birds)
Someting Happened To Me Yesterday (Rolling Stones)
A Girl Named Sandoz (Animals)
Psychotic Reaction (Count Five)
Too Much to Dream Last Night (Electric Prunes)
Journey to the Center of My Mind (Amboy Dukes)
|Names for LSD|
music link House of the Rising Sax
I would like to thank my friends at the Cosmic Baseball Association for their
assistance with this project.