1943: Dr. Albert Hofmann accidentally discovers the psychedelic properties of LSD.
Hofmann, a Swiss chemist, was researching the synthesis of a lysergic acid compound, LSD-25, when he inadvertently absorbed a bit through his fingertips. Intrigued by the stimulating effects on his perception, Hofmann decided further exploration was warranted. Three days later he ingested 250 milligrams of LSD, embarking on the first full-fledged acid trip.In his autobiography, LSD, My Problem Child, Hofmann remembered his discovery this way:"I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being 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. After some two hours this condition faded away." The experience led Hofmann to begin experimenting with other hallucinogens and he became an advocate of their use, in both the arenas of psychoanalysis and personal growth. He was critical of LSD’s casual use by the counterculture during the '60s, accusing rank amateurs of hijacking the drug he still refers to as "medicine for the soul" without understanding either its positive or negative effects. Hofmann was equally critical of what he considered -- and still considers -- society’s knee-jerk rejection of a drug that he believes is mostly beneficial and deserving of continued research. "I think that in human evolution it has never been as necessary to have this substance LSD," he said at a symposium in 2006, marking the centennial of his birth. "It is just a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be." (via Wired)
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