How did the use of LSD start?

LSD is made from the ergot fungus. This is an extremely poisonous fungus, which was used by midwives at the end of the Middle Ages to induce the birth of the child in pregnant women. When chemists started working with ergot in the 1930s and isolated various compounds from it, they discovered lysergic acid. This discovery allowed LSD to be made for the first time by chemist Albert Hofmann in 1938. The drug had no visible effect on animals, so his boss was not interested in it at first. In 1943 Hofmann looked at the material again. He accidentally ingested some of it and noticed the effects himself: “(…) At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxication, characterized by extreme stimulation of the fantasy. As if in a dream I saw with my eyes closed a steady stream of the most fantastic images passing by, extremely strange shapes, accompanied by a motley, kaleidoscopic mixture of colors (…).”

Hofmann couldn’t lose the feeling that he had made an important discovery and decided to experiment on himself. On April 19, 1943, now known as “bicycle day,” he discovered the mind-altering effect of LSD. He took a dose of 250 micrograms, not knowing how strong the effect would be. He shared his experience with colleagues. Sandoz, the company Hofmann worked for, sent it to psychiatrists and psychologists who experimented with it in their psychotherapy.

In the 1960s, LSD became the drug of the global hippie culture with the psychologist Timothy Leary as the prophet of the psychedelic revolution. Today LSD is no longer so mainstream, but it is still very popular with psychonauts and in certain scenes.

Check out a video from ATTN about the history of LSD!

Reading suggestioin: Brian Blomerth’s Bicycle day.