Since the 1930’s lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as the hallucinogen LSD, has been a topic of controversy and mystery. The components of LSD are lysergic acid and diethylamide. As part of the ergoline family, LSD is often classified as a synthetic drug because it is produced only in a laboratory (Petechuk 10). Users of LSD are people from solid middle- and upper-class backgrounds. They have many opportunities to pursue higher education and to have successful careers (Petechuk 9). To most, this statistic would seem unusual, but LSD is notorious for giving keen insights to life, which is the main interest for its atypical consumers. Another attraction of the drug is its lack of addictive properties. Addiction is a recurrence for many drugs with the exception of LSD. “LSD is not considered an addictive drug because it does not produce the same compulsive drug-seeking behavior as cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, alcohol, or nicotine” (Everything).
In the 1930’s Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland began experimenting with new drugs. Albert Hofmann, a young chemist at Sandoz, was planning to discover a cure for individuals with respiratory and circulatory system issues. Hofmann started experimenting with the lysergic acid that is found in the Clavica pupurea fungus, rye, and other grains. Lysergic acid is used to cure headaches; Hofmann thought that the lysergic acid had potential to cure more than headaches. With the lysergic acid, he thought that diethylamide might be a possible match for a drug that could cure. Diethylamide is an amide that has the ability to bond with many proteins in the body. The brain is especially responsive to the diethylamide (Petechuk 12). In 1938 Hofmann synthesized lysergic acid with diethylamide. He then named the compound LSD-25. Five years later in 1943, Hofmann found himself in a new state of being after the LSD had soaked through the skin on his fingers. Dr. Hofmann recorded his accidental high and said,
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 daylight to be 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. (quoted in Petechuk 13)
Three days later, Hofmann decided to test out his research again. He took 0.25 milligrams of LSD, this time on purpose. This is a very small dose in comparison to the dosages required for other drugs. After taking the LSD, Hofmann experienced unusual sensory experiences, not all of them were pleasant. He then knew that this drug was very powerful (Petechuk 13).
“Between the second World War, when Dr. Albert Hofmann accidentally got high with his invention of LSD, and in the late ’60s there were thousands of studies conducted by medical and psychiatric researchers looking into the therapeutic...