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LSD birthday

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Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was first synthesised by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann at the Sandoz laboratories in Basel on 16 November, 75 years ago. Hofmann was working on a research programme into clinically useful ergot alkaloid derivatives, but only discovered LSD’s psychedelic properties five years later when he accidentally swallowed an unknown quantity.

Sandoz Laboratories launched LSD as a psychiatric drug with various uses in 1947 under the brand name Delysid. It has been used in the treatment of pain, alcoholism and cluster headache. It was also used in the 1950s and ’60s to enhance psychotherapy, with some clinicians believing that LSD could help patients to unblock repressed subconscious material. More recently, research in Switzerland has investigated its use to alleviate anxiety in terminally ill cancer patients. The threshold dose can be as low as 25µg, but doses usually range between 100 and 500µg.

The US Central Intelligence Agency investigated the drug’s use in mind control and chemical warfare in its 1950s MKUltra project. LSD was administered to CIA employees, military personnel, mentally ill patients and members of the public, often without their knowledge.

When the possession of LSD?was banned in the US?in 1968, various illegal formats evolved, with tablets shaped like cones, stars, spacecraft and hearts. The smallest tablets became known as microdots. Then came “computer acid” or “blotter paper LSD”, made by dipping blotting paper into an LSD solution.

Many high profile individuals have commented on their experience of LSD. Kary Mullis apparently credited LSD with helping him to develop DNA amplification technology, for which he was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, said: “Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life.”

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From: Beyond pharmacy blog

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