LSD Inventor Turns 100

People shudder at the tought of having to do anything with LSD,
a drug commonly called “acid” by street folk, popularized if not glamorized by the hippie generation of the 60’s. Like sanctimonious jerks and religious zealots shunning anything that resembles bare nakedness as pornography, common folk disdain LSD , lumping it at the top of the heap with the likes of heroin, cocaine and crack, branding the illicit drug a lethal mind bender that will cause permanent damage to the brain if fooled around with even with the slightest dose. Perhaps the public had pulled the gun too fast on LSD. Contrary to popular belief, LSD ( lysergic acid diethylamide ) is non-addictive. Albert Hoffman , the inventor of LSD and a strong proponent of its therapeutic and controlled use is still living and turned 100 years old last Jan 11, 2006. Hoffman may have shrunk physically, now barely 5 ft tall, but his mind is pretty much intact. He attended the recent LSD symposium in Basel , Switzerland close to his home to mark his 100th birthday.

Hoffman was a scientist at the Sandoz labs in Switzerland when he invented LSD by accident. While performing experiments with fungus ergot ( a mushroom variant) for delevopment of drug that would prevent post childbirth hemorrhage, a trace amount of compounds seeped into his fingers which he accidentally ingested. As he rode his bicycle home that afternoon, Hoffman experienced a unique state of consciousness, like ” seeing the world through a child’s eyes and the feeling of being at one with his natural surroundings”. Hoffman spent more time refining the drug believing that the wonderful experience in the trip to an altered state of consciousness could be ” medicine for the soul”. LSD however had also been known to cause “bad trips” and flashbacks that resulted in fatalities so the drug was banned in the 1960s.

Hoffman considers LSD his “problem child” but believes that with its controlled use, LSD can help in the treatment of mental illness like severe depression and schizophrenia. In fact some users consider LSD a smart drug. People have credited LSD for that enabling power to solve complex problems and the ability to conceptualize in a much more in-depth, far reaching manner. A design engineer at Cisco Systems publicly credited his use of LSD for the ability to discover the solution to a nagging problem that plagued a critical project for a long time ( hope he still works for
Cisco !). An LSD experiment with an artist showed that his painting of a man’s face was more artistic compared to the same painting he did when he was not on LSD. And who could forget the enigmatic lyrics of that Lennon/McCartney song Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds:

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Well, Paul McCartney is now Sir Paul, with a personal fortune of some $500 million, with a wife half his age, and still touring with his band. Unbeknownst to many, Sir Paul also dabbled in classical music composing. His musical skill is so cunning that he would ask a professional composer to code the notes of the almalgamation of the sounds of different instruments that his mind would envision. If LSD is such a horrible thing, that even an occassional use would mute one’s brains, then I’m wondering why Sir Paul and more so Albert Hoffman are still around and living well. Hoffman at his advanced age is still very witty. When asked how long he thinks he will live, the replied ” I’m ready to get back to what I was before I was born”. We know that living in the high altitude of the Swiss Alps and a steady diet of rivella are recipes to living longer but what might be Hoffman’s exceptional secret to making it to the century mark?

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7 Responses

  1. I remember LSD, it was the ‘IN’ thing during the 70’s. I was still too young to be dabbling in it then, but what I know is that the drug was heavily used by the American GI’s during the Vietnam war.

    A lot of our old rockers like Joey “Pepe’ Smith were heavily into it when they were still playing gigs in ‘Gapo’during the 60’s.

  2. Can you imagine the world without Pink Floyd, The Beatles’ ‘Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” and Jefferson Airplane?! LSD definitely could not…

  3. LSD can be truly a “problem child” when used indiscriminately. Folks buying the drug on the street will have no idea if they are being sold rat poison! But if the drug has potential benefits, it should be harnessed properly.

  4. I think it’s not the LSD. It’s the Rivella, BW. 🙂

  5. Jayred, you bet – Rivella is the most likely elixer of life in the equation.
    But come to think of it- the fresh, pristine alpine air, Rivella and LSD to keep your brain constantly exploring.. what else do you need 🙂

    Snglguy – yeah, I remember Pepe Smith and Ang Himig Natin song. Boy is he still around?

  6. He still makes an appearance now and then…a lot older and looking more like a corpse. LOL! 😀

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