This Day in History (16-Nov-1938) – Hallucinogenic drug LSD is synthesized by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann

LSD known as LSD-25 or Lysergic Acid Diathylamide is a psychoactive hallucinogenic drug. It was first synthesized on November 16, 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann in Sandoz Laboratories in Basle, Switzerland. However, it was a few years before Albert Hofmann realized what he had invented. LSD-25 was the twenty-fifth compound developed during Albert Hofmann’s study of amides of Lysergic acid, hence the name. LSD is considered a semi-synthetic chemical, the natural component of LSD-25 is lysergic acid, a type of ergot alkaloid that is naturally made by the ergot fungus, a synthesizing process is necessary to create the drug. LSD was being developed by Sandoz Laboratories as a possible circulatory and respiratory stimulant.

It was not until 1943 that Albert Hofmann discovered the hallucinogenic properties of LSD. LSD has a chemical structure that is very similar to the neurotransmitter called serotonin. However, it is still not clear what produces all the effects of LSD.  Albert Hoffman deliberately dosed himself [after a milder accidental dose] with just 25 mg, an amount he didn’t imagine would produce any effect. Hoffman got on his bicycle and rode home from the Lab and arrived in a state of panic. He felt he was losing his grip on sanity. Albert Hoffman wrote this about his LSD experience, “I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by 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 found the daylight to be unpleasantly 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..”

The United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances requires its parties to prohibit LSD. Hence, it is illegal in all parties to the convention, which includes the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Europe. Medical and scientific research with LSD in humans is permitted under the 1971 UN Convention.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/november-16-1532-ce-francisco-pizarro-captures-the-inca-emperor-atahualpa

http://inventors.about.com/od/lstartinventions/a/LSD.htm

http://www.psychedelic-library.org/child1.htm

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