Hofmann Was Living Proof
That LSD Critics Are Wrong
By James Donahue
Albert Hofmann, the Dutch
scientist who accidentally discovered synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in 1938, was the first person in the world
to experience a full-blown “acid trip.”
Hofmann, who went on
to make other great medical discoveries, died this week at the ripe old age of 102.
That he experimented
with LSD, and likely used the drug more then once, certainly did not cause him to lose his mind, jump off high buildings,
or do other dangerous things. The drug obviously did nothing to damage his health.
This man’s longevity,
and his continued contributions to science long after experiencing the effects of LSD, refuted all of the government warnings
that forced American psychologist Dr. Timothy Leary to give up his experiments in using the drug as a treatment for mental
illness and eventually made it a felony to manufacture, possess or use it.
We were told that its
hallucinogenic effects sometimes caused permanent mental illness, caused people to do irrational things like jump from the
rooftops of buildings to their death, and become a danger to not only themselves but the people around them.
Ironically in Holland,
the Dutch cabinet is considering a ban on the sale of psilocybe, or “magic” mushrooms because they also have a
hallucinogenic effect, similar to that of LSD. Dr. Leary first worked with psilocybe mushrooms before he discovered LSD. In
his research, he claimed to have had amazingly effective results in altering behavior patterns through the use of these drugs.
The laws prohibiting
further work with LSD as an effective treatment, not only for the mentally ill, but for helping people lose weight, stop smoking,
and just changing harmful behavior patterns brought on by early imprints, have frustrated psychologists around the world.
There has been a movement to unlock this chain, but so far, without much success.
The propaganda published
in Holland, in support of the bill banning magic mushrooms,
sounds eerily similar to the arguments we heard prior to legislation making LSD illegal. It claims a teenage French girl who
at mushrooms died because she jumped from a bridge. We would like proof that such an effect really happened, and that it was
in any way related to her consumption of magic mushrooms.
Making these hallucinogenic
drugs illegal and users subject to felony prison sentences has not only stymied important research, it also has prevented
people from utilizing these natural ways of turning on right-brain functioning. It thus is blocking the preparation of their
minds for understanding and seeing beyond a veil that hides a world that exists beyond our limited three-dimensional reality.
was made quite by accident, but it may have been a spiritual gift in what was a last-ditch effort to help in a mental evolution
that has been held in check by false religious dogma for the past 2,000 years.
Hofmann was a research
chemist for the old Sandoz Company (now Novartis) in Basel, Switzerland. He was studying the medical properties of plants and zeroing in on
the alkaloid compounds of ergot, a poisonous fungus that forms on rye.
His interest in synthesizing
LSD involved a search for a stimulant that would help as a medicine for circulatory and respiratory illnesses. When he first
tested the molecule then called LSD-25 on animals, the only effects noted were that the creatures became “restless.”
The work on LSD was temporarily set aside/
Five years later, acting
on “intuition,” Hofmann decided to re-synthesize LSD. In his autobiography he said that in the final stage of
the synthesis he was interrupted by some unusual sensations.
He said he first experienced
“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 perceived an uninterrupted
stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition
Believing that the effect
was caused by accidental ingesting LSD, Hofmann said he tested his theory the following day by swallowing 0.25 of a milligram.
Forty minutes later he recorded in his journal “dizziness, feeling of anxiety, visual distortions, symptoms of paralysis,
desire to laugh.”
At that point, unable
to write further, he asked his assistant to take him home by bicycle. “On the way home, my condition began to assume
threatening forms. Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror. I also had the
sensation of being unable to move from the spot. Nevertheless, my assistant later told me that we had traveled very rapidly.”
He said he also perceived a neighbor woman as a “malevolent, insidious witch” in “a lurid mask.”
The effects of the drug
subsided after six hours.
After publishing his
report, Sandoz began producing LSD under the name Delysid and sent samples to psychiatric researchers. By 1965 more than 2,000
papers had been published, offering hope for utilizing the drug in treatment of not only mental illness, but even to cure
drug and alcohol addiction. This was when Dr. Learly got involved in the research work.
The problem was that
LSD also was inexpensive and easy to make, thus it quickly became a popular recreational street drug. And this led to laws
against its use.
Hofmann worked at Sandoz
until retiring as Director of Research for the Department of Natural Products in 1971. His work there led to numerous other
discoveries including Hydergine, a medicine for improving circulation and cerebral function, and Dihydergot, a circulation
and blood pressure stabilizing medicine.