Shroom & Magic MushroomA Brief History of LSD

September 25, 2022by Dr.Jake Donaldson0

LSD is one of the most well-known drugs in history, and it’s been helping people have the trip of their lives since the 1940s. Since it’s now legal to order LSD online in Canada, researchers are just starting to see that there are psychiatric benefits of psychedelic therapy, too.

Here’s a look at the history into one of the world’s most controversial drugs and what it tells us about using these substances as medicine today.

Origins & Bicycle Day

The psychoactive element of LSD was discovered by accident in 1943 by Dr. Albert Hofmann.

Dr. Hofmann was a research chemist who had been synthesizing LSD when he accidentally touched the substance. It absorbed through the skin on his finger, and that afternoon, he started feeling dizzy and restless, even though his dose was incredibly small.

Later, he decided to experiment on himself and take a very small amount of LSD again. After about 40 minutes, he said he started feeling dizzy and anxious while also experiencing visual distortions, symptoms of paralysis, and the desire to laugh.

Dr. Hofmann was experiencing a strong acid trip, so he asked his lab assistant to take him home. At the time, traveling by car was not allowed due to wartime restrictions, so they made their way home shakily on a bike.

On the way, Dr. Hofmann asked his neighbor for milk, who he later wrote appeared to be “a malevolent, insidious witch with a colored mask.” After he recovered, he was sure that psychedelics were powerful, and their effects should be explored for medicine.

Dr. Hofmann’s ride is considered the beginning of the use of psychedelics, and many enthusiasts still celebrate his experience every June 3rd on “Bicycle Day.”

Experimentation in the 1940s-1960s

It didn’t take much time for LSD to catch on as a medical treatment. It was introduced to the market as a commercial medicine named Delysid in 1947, and it gained traction in the United States in 1949.

Initially, scientists theorized that an acid trip was very similar to experiencing a psychosis. Major American medical centers used LSD to temporarily replicate mental illness, but medical professionals soon learned that the drug had other uses.

Psychoanalyst Sidney Cohen had a fantastic experience with LSD, and between 1957 and 1958, he treated 22 patients who had minor personality disorders. Doctors also thought that acid might enhance artists’ creativity.

Until the mid-1970s, extensive research and testing was done using LSD. From 1950-1965, LSD research resulted in over 1,000 scientific papers, many books, and six international conferences. During that time, LSD was prescribed to over 40,000 patients.

In Europe, LSD was used for “psycholytic therapy,” which involved “the dissolution of tension or conflicts in the human psyche.” Patients took low doses of acid over a series of sessions.

During each session, the patient would rest, then do art like painting or working with clay. The art would allow them to depict the visions they had during their trip. After each art exploration, the patient would participate in a group session led by a therapist to talk about their experiences.

At this time, LSD, magic mushrooms, and other psychedelics were tested to help with other conditions like schizophrenia and PTSD. While their results weren’t completely conclusive, they showed promise in the field of treating mental illness with LSD.

Doctors found that LSD might have a huge benefit for alcoholics. In the late 1950s, Dr. Humphry Osmond gave LSD to people in Alcoholics Anonymous who couldn’t quit drinking.

According to researchers, years of psychotherapy could be compressed into a single self-reflective trip. Users reported a new self-image and willpower to move on and stop drinking altogether.

After one year, about 50% of the study group had not had a drink. This success rate has never been duplicated using any other method of treatment. Dr. Osmond went on to work at a mental hospital where he treated around 2,000 patients with similar results.

Even the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous participated in the experiments and had a fulfilling experience. He believed that LSD could be used to cure alcoholics.

During the 50s and early 60s, psychedelic clinics opened in Europe and the United States. LSD caught on in Hollywood when the Psychiatric Institute of Beverly Hills opened. The wealthy could pay $100 (almost $900 in today’s money) for an LSD treatment.

Unfortunately, the golden age of psychedelic research couldn’t last forever.

Government Use, MKUltra & “Mind Control”

During the 1950s and 60s, the United States government began to experiment with LSD in their MKUltra program. Scientists attempted to use the drug for mind control, information gathering, and psychological torture.

The CIA conducted hundreds of experiments using LSD and other mind-altering substances including barbiturates, mescaline, heroin, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and MDMA.

At the beginning of the projects, LSD was administered to mental patients, prisoners, drug addicts, and sex workers. One agency officer said they singled out people who “could not fight back.” Doctors gave LSD to one Kentucky mental patient for over 174 days.

LSD was also given to CIA employees, military personnel, doctors, and normal everyday citizens. The drug was often given without the person’s knowledge or consent.

In one experiment called Operation Midnight Climax, the CIA hired sex workers to bring men to brothels that had been infiltrated by the government agency. The men were then dosed with LSD and observed through two-way mirrors and taped for further analysis.

Some subjects were interrogated by CIA agents under bright lights, and were told they would extend their trips if they refused to reveal their secrets to the government.

In some cases, the subjects’ participation was consensual, and the CIA experimented on them in more extreme ways. In one experiment, seven volunteers were given LSD for 77 days in a row.

The CIA continued to experiment with LSD until 1963, when the Inspector General of the agency insisted they follow new ethics guidelines and end all programs that used non-consenting subjects.

Recreational Use in the 60s

LSD wasn’t just used for medicine; there was a huge counterculture at the time whose members enjoyed acid recreationally. 

Drug trips became the subject of songs from popular bands like Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, and the Grateful Dead. Even The Beatles were not immune from writing about LSD in their album Revolver.

Unfortunately, the general public started to associate LSD with anti-war hippie countercultures. This meant that the drug was seen as a negative moral influence. 

Adverse reactions to LSD were rare, but stories of bad trips, flashbacks, and criminal activity were pervasive in the media. All of this negativity meant that the government and the general public saw all LSD use as recreational drug abuse.

On October 24, 1968, possession of LSD was made illegal in the United States. It was declared a Schedule I substance, which means the government believes that it doesn’t have any “currently accepted use in medical treatment.”

Medical Uses For LSD Today

Some physicians and researchers are starting to realize that psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin could be helpful for treating a wide variety of health conditions, particularly in the mental health field. Although scientific research is just beginning, use of LSD in medicine shows a great deal of promise.

Some preliminary research has found that there might be some benefits to microdosing LSD. Some of the benefits researchers have observed include:

  • Increase in energy levels
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced depression
  • Treatment of addiction
  • Pain treatment
  • Treatment of migraines
  • Reduced symptoms of ADHD
  • Increased sleep quality
  • Reduced sensitivity to trauma

LSD can also be used in larger doses, both recreationally and medicinally. Common effects of larger doses of LSD include:

  • Altered state of self
  • Altered sense of time
  • Synthesia
  • Changes in sensations
  • Changes in feelings
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Hallucinations

It’s also possible to enjoy the benefits of other psychedelics like magic mushrooms containing psilocybin. A recent large study showed that microdosing psilocybin can have a huge impact on a subject’s mood. Patients showed a huge reduction in depression, anxiety, and stress during the experiment.

If you live in Canada, you’re in luck! Shrooms Delivery now allows you to purchase psychedelics in Canada, and they even offer LSD candies and gummies to make your trip easy and fun! Check out their sales and order by mail to enjoy the impact of this exciting new therapy.

 

Sources

 

https://thethirdwave.co/the-history-of-lsd/ 

 

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-acid-22089 

 

https://www.history.com/topics/us-government/history-of-mk-ultra 

 

https://www.history.com/topics/crime/history-of-lsd 

 

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-acid-22089 

 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/microdosing-lsd#summary 

 

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-effects-of-lsd-on-the-brain-67496

 

https://www.history.com/mkultra-operation-midnight-climax-cia-lsd-experiments 

Dr.Jake Donaldson

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