Saturday, November 16, 2013
November 16 - Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
75 years ago: Lysergic acid diethylamide, known as LSD or “acid,” was first synthesized on November 16, 1938, by a Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann, at Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland. The company was researching lysergic acid, derived from a parasitic fungus, ergot, which grows on rye. Hofmann produced one derivative of this acid (LSD-25), but ignored it until 1943, when he recreated it and unwittingly dosed himself with a tiny amount. He went home in a "dreamlike state," seeing “fantastic pictures … with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors." The next day he took what is now known to be a massive dosage (250 micrograms) and became delirious. Sandoz researched the psychoactive hallucinogen further, and in 1947 marketed it as Delysid for use in analytical psychotherapy, even suggesting that psychiatrists take it themselves, to better understand their patients. The CIA conducted LSD “mind control” experiments at Harvard in 1959-1962, which have been called "disturbing" and "ethically indefensible." Theodore Kaczynski, later known as the Unabomber, was one of the test subjects at age 16.