LSD has had a fairly short, but wild history in the United States. It was first synthesized in 1938 from lysergic acid derivatives. The pharmaceutical company studying it did not realize its potency until 5 years later, however, when a researcher accidentally absorbed a small amount through his hand and felt the powerful effects. This researcher took an LSD trip a few days later, which sparked great interest in the drug.
LSD Medical Research
The first hope for LSD was that it could be used as a powerful psychiatric drug. It was used to try to replicate mental illnesses, as a way to study them. It was also experimented with to help with psychotherapy, to enhance creativity, and later to cure alcoholism. Many researchers jumped on the LSD bandwagon in the 1950’s and 60’s, hoping that this drug could provide breakthroughs in mental health treatment. Many patients were given the drug in experiments, and an estimated 400,000 people were actually prescribed the drug for treatment. However, no real medical use was found.
Recreational LSD Use
Soon after, psychiatrists began using the drug recreationally, and this type of use became very popular, very quickly. Then came the age of the 60’s, with their psychedelic culture, and LSD and other hallucinogens were widely used.
California became the first state to ban LSD in 1966, and the rest of the states and other countries quickly followed. The effects of using LSD were too risky, including the hallucinations, panic reactions, and psychotic behavior that are so common with it. It became a Schedule I drug because of its potential for abuse, and its lack of real medical uses.
Music and Art
An art exhibit in Rochester, NY is bringing back the art styles of the 60’s, complete with their LSD influences. Called Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art Since the 1960’s, the exhibit features colorful, hallucinogenic works inspired by the 60’s. Exhibits like this one seem to celebrate the influences LSD has had on our history. There are many people that strongly believe that LSD aided in the creation of the best artwork and music in the 20th century. The Doors, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and others undoubtedly made music while on an LSD trip, but instead of brilliant creations, many of these songs and art pieces could be called simply a jumble of confusion.
Dangers of LSD
Whether a person wants to fondly remember the LSD stimulated trips of the 60’s or not, we have to be careful not to glamorize drugs like this. LSD has ruined many lives over the years because of the altered mental state it produces. Just this past summer, a 17 year old student fell to his death while tripping on LSD. The teen was on a field trip to Vancouver when he and some friends experimented with the drug. The victim fell down a cliff after being agitated and experiencing delirium because of the drug.
LSD and other hallucinogens are more than an entertaining drug that provides an escape from the world. The dangers are real, which is why the drug is illegal still today.