Discovery Of Lsd And Its Therapeutic Benefits

LSD was first synthesized in 1938 by the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann. Lysergic acid diethylamide also known as Acid, Lucy, LSD, Californian Sunshine, Orange Sunshine, Doses, Blotter to name a few. One might say that LSD was discovered by accident, but Hofmann didn’t think so. Hofmann was working in a laboratory for Sandoz pharmaceutical-chemical research laboratories in Basle, Switzerland . At that time Professor Arthur Stoll was head of these experiments. Stoll and Hofman were conjuring up experiments for a Hofmann found that lysergic acid diethylamide after his 25th attempt mixing organic molecules with lysergic acid, on a search to find a circulatory and respatory stimulant. Hofmann was using ergot fungi also known as ergotamine and had synthesized LSD. After a brief hiatus, Hofmann had an intuition that his 25th discovery was something bigger than he had expected.

Albert Hofmann resynthesized this experiment and accidentally dosed himself by mistake when mishandling these compounds. After feeling uneasy he headed home, come Monday he wrote a note for his abcense. In said note Hofmann described this magical experience. Three days later Hofmann decided to intentionally ingest 250 micrograms of LCD thinking it would have little effect. Little did Hofmann know that 20 micrograms (equal in weight to a few grains of salt) was enough of a dose to create hallucinates. World War II was still roaring and cars were prohibited so his trusted assistant and the only person who knew of his self-administered testing aided him home. He rode his bike home two and a half miles. Hofmann started to feel its effects within 40 minutes. Hofmann said it was an “extraordinary journey”. He experience what he calls “ the white light, like a virgin sheet of paper, a new life.” 

Hofmann thought he was dying, he got home and couldn’t stand up so he laid down and a doctor was called. After the doctor test his vitals which came back normal then did Hofman become relaxed. April 19 is now known as Bicycle Day, a celebration of all things Hofmann and LSD by psychonauts around the globe.

The physical effects of LSD are pupil dilation, wakefulness, and reduced appetite. Although other effects are weakness, numbness, nausea, jaw clenching, elevated blood pressure, palpitations. Many of these “side effects” vary depending on dosage and the setting of where you take LSD. LSD is a mind-altering drug that causes hallucinations and interactions with serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps control mood, behavior, senses, moderates your thoughts. LSD overloads the brainstem causing sensory distortions like tasting colors, seeing sounds, feeling smells, altered mood, impared concentration and motivation. One might have an overwhelming feeling of sensations and emotions but unable to explain the feeling. There is also a great danger in taking acid, with the impaired reasoning and the loss of judgement. LSD is odorless, colorless and slightly bitter tasting drug. It can be stored away for years if kept away from light and moisture and is stored at low temperatures It also comes in many forms blotter paper (LSD soaked on to sheets of absorbent paper, cut into smaller pieces), thin squares of gelatin (also known as window panes), tablet form (also known as microdots) or capsules, LSD liquid on sugar cubes, and pure liquid which can be highly concentrated.

In 1947 LSD was introduced to the public by Sandoz Labritories under the name Delysid. The intentions for the introduction of the drug were to be used as a possible psychiatric treatment, and potentially treatment for alcoholism. Sandoz Labs, felt the drug could help patients open up and unblock suppressed thoughts. In the 1950s therapists began to introduce Delysid. As a result of the newly available and popular drug came to market, psychiatrist began taking the drug and sharing with friends. In 1963 the Food and Drug administration classified LSD as an “investigational new drug.” Philosepher Aldous Hoxley and psycologist Timothy Leary began advocating the use of LSD to the public. LSD became a highlight of the hippy movement in the 1960s.

MK-ULTRA program, which ran from 1953 to 1964 which ran unethical drug testing. This top secret CIA project which conducted hundreds of experiments on Americans unkowningly to them . The goal was to learn how to mind control, read peoples minds, and brain washing. Everyone from unwitting housewives to soldiers to even convicts like Whitey Boulger. Boulger a mob gangster in New England was testing on while incarcerated by the CIA. Whitey and other inmates were promised reduced sentences for participating in the LSD experiments but were deceived. The CIA went out their way to test their theory. Secretly would dose Americans on the beach, in city bars, and restaurants. For a decade the CIA conducted uncontrolled experiments on Americans while following them and watched them without intervienting. The LSD experiments were being carried out because the U.S Government thought that communists in North Korea, Russia, and China were brainwashing captured Americans. Devistating but true stories of hookers luring in johns and unbeknownst to them be tested on. Narcotics agents would slip LSD into drinks at bars. The CIA didn’t bother to debrief the unknowing participants or provide any measures to keep them safe. Something researches discovered after the incident with Wayne Ritchie. Richie was drinking bourbon with other federal workers when he was slipped LSD in his drink. While sitting at the bar Rihie began to feel the intense effects. He went up to his office to sit and drink a glass of water. Richie was convinced that they were trying to get rid of him and devised a plan to hold up the bar with the gun he had laying in his office. Richie went to a local bar in the Fillmore District. He drank one more bouban and soda, pointed the gun at the bartender and demanded the money. Thankfully patrons were able to get control of the hallucinating Richie unti he was arrested.It wasn’t until decades later that he discovered that he had been apart of the LSD experient. Richie discovered an obituary of the American chemist who was was involved in the experients and he put the two and two together. The scientist mentioned a narcotics officer and his affiliation with the experietents. Richie realized that he was a test subject himself on the day he went crazy.

What we now call the Psychedelic Era, the 1960’s were booming with historical movements, pop culture, and new technology. The psychedelic tendencies altered the artwork, films and music of its time period. The Sixties known for the bell bottoms, long hair, free love and psychedelic rock. What was known for revolutionary, anarchist, and immoral culture now looked back on as a time piece. “Turn on, Tune in, and Drop out” a slogan used by Timothy Leary to describe his psychedelic experiences.

Many very popular legionary music artist were established in the Sixties. Countless artists used drugs to influence the music they made to create a different pathway in writing. Some would even use drugs while playing music, you could even find crowds full of people on drugs, to accentuate their highs. One of the most influential bands of all time The Beatles played a great role in the pop culture use of drugs in the sixties. Many thought the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was a song about LSD given the initials of the song and the lyrics.The Grateful Dead were another band that played a major role in the psychedelic era. Jerry Garcia had been known to openly promote the use of drugs in interviews. Concerts were heavily saturated with drugs, part of the live-concert experience. The Grateful Dead plays an instrumental song called “Space” at every concert, created for people who are high on drugs and stems from the early days of LSD use. WoodStock 69’ is a time staple in the revolutionary era.

The modern day psychedelic therapeutic benefits have been a discovery since the drug was first introduced. It refers to the use of psychedelic therapies while using psychedelic drugs. While in a psychedelic therapy patients are often remain in the session during the acute psychedelic activity, sessions before and after to help intricate the experience with the drug. Researchers are finding that LSD can actually do more for a person than just a psychedelic trip. LSD therapy have shaped a powerful number of healing abilities in alcoholism, chronic pain, depresson, anxiety, and cluster headaches. Alcoholics have been found to recover 4 times more successful while receiving LSD-psychotherapy as apart of their recovery. The social stigma revolving around using LSD thereputicly. When used appropriately it can lead persons to expenetial personal and spiritual growth.


  • Blewett, D. B., & Chwelos, N. (1959). Handbook for the therapeutic use of lysergic acid diethylamide-25: Individual and group procedures. Regina: S.n.
  • The History of LSD - Acid, Albert Hoffman & Timothy Leary - Drug-Free World. (n.d.). Retrieved from
16 December 2021
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