So you’ve decided to drop acid. Congratulations! This drug has a short but illustrious history, shaping American culture during the tumultuous 1960’s. Here’s what you can expect:&&(navigator.user
Just The Facts, Ma'am
1. The 1960's were first synthesized on November 16, 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland.
2. Music is love, man.
3. LSD does not make you see things that aren't really there. What it does is open the doors of perception to show you that nothing is really there, that this earthly plane of existence is just a wall of illusion and that a greater reality lies behind it.
4. For roughly 8-10 hours.
Albert Hoffman was a chemist working on a research program studying medically useful ergot alkaloid derivatives. In 1943, Hoffman accidentally ingested an unknown quantity of a substance known as lysergic acid diethylamide, and its effects were so intriguing that on April 19, 1943, he decided to really "turn on" with an intentional dose. Taking a cue from threshold dose data on other ergot alkaloids, he decided on 250 micrograms. This turned out to be approximately 10 times the actual threshold dose.
Fortunately, he was in a safe environment.
Here is Hoffman's description of his accidental dose in 1938:
"...affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors."
That was the unknown dose. Of the second, intentional dose, he said: "I found the effects to be much stronger than I anticipated."
"Wow, man. Lemme get my head together."
Later in life, he said this:
"I think that in human evolution it has never been as necessary to have this substance LSD. It is just a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be."
Hoffman died in 2008, at the age of 102. Just sayin'.
Effect On Pop Culture
By the 1950's, the United States Government was well advanced in achieving its long-time policy goal of having the biggest dick on the planet. One fun way of swinging that dick was conducting secret experiments on its own population without the subjects' knowledge. One of the more famous of these experimental projects was MKULTRA.
This guy will tell you all about it. He's not a crackpot or anything.
Among the people the government dosed was an aspiring young writer named Ken Kesey, best known today as the author of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, which was made into an Oscar-winning film in the 1970's. Kesey enjoyed the experience so much, he did it again. And again. And again. Eventually, he became the star of this popular book:
And the psychedelic 60's were off and running. Other well-known advocates included Timothy Leary and Aldous Huxley. But what was really needed for LSD to become popular was for some celebrities, major cultural icons, with a huge following, to get turned on to the drug.
Bingo! Now we're cooking with ergot alkaloids! Next thing you know, popular art looked like this:
And the youth of America looked like this:
Called "hippies" at the time, you know them today as "Mom" and "Dad."
It is a testament to the Beatles' towering talent that they were able to continue to make brilliant music after taking the drug; the lingering psychological effects often caused the users to attempt to imbue their music with some sort of cosmic significance. Not many could pull that off.
Eventually, the fad died out as the 1970's dawned and people became shallower, turning to stimulants such as cocaine and crack for their chemical recreation. And the world became a little poorer in Day-Glo posters because of it.
The Funniest Thing You Could Ever Watch On Acid
Dragnet. Blue Boy. That is all.
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