On this day in 1943, a scientist named Albert Hoffmann discovered the effects LSD having discovered the drug five years earlier. Lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as ‘acid’, was first produced in Switzerland from Ergotamine, a substance used to treat migraines. However, years after first synthesising it Hoffmann accidentally ingested an unknown quantity and quickly noticed the effects the drug is now synonymous for. Despite it’s media portrayal, the visual and audio hallucinations are a minor part of the drugs wider psychological impact; with many comparing the experience to a reversion back to childhood.
Although its addictives qualities are low, the drug is banned by most nations across the world as well as being outlawed by the UN and scientists note its potential for personal and social harm. As a result, government funding to investigating the effects of LSD is severely limited and few studies have been conducted regarding its long term effects. LSD is however synonymous with the CIA mind control experiment MKUltra which was launched almost a decade after the drug’s effects were first seen.
Many famous musicians, artists and popular figures from the 1960s and beyond are linked with the drug, including Beatle John Lennon, guitar legend Jimmy Hendrix and Apple founder Steve Jobs.
Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could. – Steve Jobs.