When it comes to mind-altering chemical substances psychedelics take the cake in terms of sending people on unforgettably nightmarish trips. From magic mushrooms to the pleasure-inducing ecstasy (also known as MDMA or Molly), many psychedelics have become popular in the crazed nightclub and rave scenes, earning them the well-earned title “party drugs” or “club drugs.” Perhaps one of the best known and most infamous is lysergic acid diethylamide, better known in circuits as LSD. Dangerous and highly toxic, this hallucinogen gained notoriety for its use in the 1960s party scene and has become one of the most notorious recreational drugs. Let’s take a closer look at the history of this frightening substance.
A Kaleidoscopic Bike Ride
In 1938, Albert Hoffman, a researcher working with the Swiss company Sandoz, accidentally discovered LSD while conducting experiments with ergot, a naturally-occurring fungus that commonly grows on a variety of grains. Five years later, in 1943, while conducting further experiments, Hoffman accidentally consumed a fraction of the substance. According to his report, he had a “kaleidoscopic” experience of intensified colors and shapes in his environment.
Later, on April 18, 1943, Hoffman consumed a larger dose before riding his bike home. While traveling, he experienced the world’s first, legitimate “acid trip.”
A Weapon of the Mind
Nearly seven years later, in the 1950s, the CIA initiated a project called MK-Ultra, which was infamously tagged as a “mind-control program.” At the time the program commenced, CIA officials conducted tests with LSD on volunteers and unwilling test subjects to determine if the drug could be an effective weapon during the Cold War. Additional tests with MK-Ultra included shock therapy and interrogation techniques.
Later, Ken Kesey, one of the volunteers of MK-Ultra and a Stanford student at the time, promoted the use of the drug. In the 1960s, Kesey and the Merry Pranksters (his followers) hosted “Acid Tests” (parties involving the use of LSD) in the area of San Francisco, California. These experiences would later become the inspiration for Tom Wolfe’s book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968).
Harvard and Other Religions
Continuing through the 1960s, LSD and psychedelic mushrooms became the focal points of a Harvard University study conducted by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, who administered the drugs to college students. Later, the men were fired from the university (due to the drugs being 100% illegal during this time), but they became underground celebrities in the hippie culture. Leary later founded the League for Spiritual Discovery, a quasi-religion focusing on the psychedelic effects of LSD.
From there, LSD’s infamy was officially born.
Always remember that drugs like LSD do not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a substance abuse disorder or addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your drug addiction and substance abuse troubles today.