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lsd (d-lysergic acid diethylamide)

Sources: Erowid Psychoactive Chemical Vaults http://www.erowid.org/chemicals

"I suddenly became strangely inebriated. The external world became changed as in a dream. Objects appeared to gain inrelief; they assumed unusual dimensions; and colors became more glowing. Even self-perception and the sense of time were changed. When the eyes were closed, colored pictures flashed past in a quickly changing kaleidoscope. After a few hours, the not unpleasant inebriation, which had been experienced whilst I was fully conscious, disappeared. what had caused this condition?"

- Albert Hofmann, Laboratory Notes (1943)

LSD is one of the most commonly used 'psychedelic' or 'hallucinogenic' substances. It comes in a variety of forms, but is virtually always taken orally. Today, LSD is most commonly found in the form of small squares of paper called blotter (full sheets of paper are decorated with artwork or designs, perforated, then soaked in liquid LSD solution and dried). Other forms include, pills, gelatin sheets or geometric shapes (pyramids, cubes, etc), liquid, liquid sugar cubes, and powder. Blotter is most common because it is easily produced, easily concealable and the format allows for few adulterant chemicals.

See bigbrother.shtml#mkultra for a detailed account of the CIA's development of LSD.

..:: timeline ::..

1938 Albert Hofmann synthesizes LSD-25 for the first time in Basel Switzerland while looking for a blood stimulant. LSD research is not continued until 5 yrs later.    
Apr 16, 1943 Albert Hofmann accidentally experiences a small amount of LSD for the first time. This is the first human experience with pure LSD-25. He reports seeing "an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopelike play of colors." The experience lasted just over two hours.     
Apr 19, 1943 Bicycle Day - Albert Hofmann intentionally takes (250 ug) LSD for the first time. This is the first intentional use of LSD.  1   
1947 First article on LSD's mental effects published by Werner Stoll in the Swiss Archives of Neurology.    
1949 Dr. Max Rinkel brings LSD to the United States from Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland and initiates work with LSD in Boston; Nick Bercel commences LSD study in Los Angeles.  2   
1950 - 1960 Hundreds of papers published discussing LSD.    
May 1950 First article about LSD appears in the American Psychiatric Journal.  2   
1951 CIA becomes aware of and begins experimenting with LSD.    
1951 Al Hubbard first tries LSD.  2   
1952 Charles Savage publishes the first study on the use of LSD to treat depression.    
1953 First LSD clinic opened to the public in England under Ronald Sandison. Separately, unwitting subjects in the United States were given LSD in the CIA funded Project MK-Ultra to test the effects of the drug.    
1953 Dr. Humphrey Osmond begins treating alcoholics with LSD.  2   
1955 First conferences focusing on LSD and mescaline take place in Atlantic City and Princeton, N.J.    
1955 Aldous Huxley first takes LSD. The publication of Huxley's 'Heaven and Hell'.   2   
1959 Josiah Macy Foundation sponsors major scientific congress on LSD.  2   
1959 Allen Ginsberg tries LSD for the first time.  2   
1960 Harvard University's Timothy Leary establishes the Psychedelic Research Project.    
1962 Congress passes new drug safety regulations and the FDA designates LSD an experimental drug and restricts research. The first LSD related arrests are made by the FDA.   2   
1963 LSD first appears on the streets (liquid on sugar cubes). Articles about LSD first appear in mainstream media (Look, Saturday Evening Post).  2   
May 1963 Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert are fired from Harvard.  2   
Mar 25, 1966 Life publishes cover article on LSD. "LSD: The Exploding Threat of the Mind Drug that Got Out of Control".    
Oct 6, 1966 LSD becomes illegal in California.  3   
1967 Summer of Love in San Francisco. First human be-in.    
1967 LSD banned federally in the U.S.    
Summer 1969 Orange sunshine acid first appears.  2   
1970 An estimated 1-2 million Americans have used LSD.    
Oct 27, 1970 The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act is passed. Part II of this is the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) which defines a scheduling system for drugs and places most of the known hallucinogens (LSD, psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, peyote, cannabis, MDA) in Schedule I.    
1971 Windowpane acid first appears.  2   
Early 1970s LSD impregnated paper ("blotter") first hit the streets. Very quickly the paper began being printed with colorful art.    
mid 1970's Blotter paper begins to emerge as the most common form of LSD sold on the street. Previously it had been tablets and powder, but blotter and gel-tabs proved more consistent in purity and potency.  4   
1979 Albert Hofmann publishes "LSD: My Problem Child."  1   

1 . 'LSD: My Problem Child', by Albert Hofmann.
2 . 'Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and the Sixties Rebellion', by Martin a. Lee and Bruce Shlain.
3 . 'Getting High: The History of LSD', The History Channel, 1999.
4 . 'Psychedelics Encyclopedia', by Peter Stafford.

lsd-induced salem witchhunts

Sources: Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month for October 1999; PBS Secrets of the Dead

The people of Salem during the witchhunt era thought they were cursed, but actually they were just experiencing acid trips.

When Linda Caporael began nosing into the Salem witch trials as a college student in the early 1970s, she had no idea that a common grain fungus might be responsible for the terrible events of 1692. But then the pieces began to fall into place. Caporael, now a behavioral psychologist at New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, soon noticed a link between the strange symptoms reported by Salem's accusers, chiefly eight young women, and the hallucinogenic effects of drugs like LSD. LSD is a derivative of ergot, a fungus that affects rye grain. Ergotism -- ergot poisoning -- had indeed been implicated in other outbreaks of bizarre behavior, such as the one that afflicted the small French town of Pont-Saint-Esprit in 1951.

But could ergot actually have been the culprit? Did it have the means and the opportunity to wreak havoc in Salem? Caporael's sleuthing, with the help of science, provided the answers.

Ergot is caused by the fungus Claviceps purpurea, which affects rye, wheat and other cereal grasses. When first infected, the flowering head of a grain will spew out sweet, yellow-colored mucus, called "honey dew," which contains fungal spores that can spread the disease. Eventually, the fungus invades the developing kernels of grain, taking them over with a network of filaments that turn the grains into purplish-black sclerotia. Sclerotia can be mistaken for large, discolored grains of rye. Within them are potent chemicals, ergot alkaloids, including lysergic acid (from which LSD is made) and ergotamine (now used to treat migraine headaches). The alkaloids affect the central nervous system and cause the contraction of smooth muscle -- the muscles that make up the walls of veins and arteries, as well as the internal organs.

Toxicologists now know that eating ergot-contaminated food can lead to a convulsive disorder characterized by violent muscle spasms, vomiting, delusions, hallucinations, crawling sensations on the skin, and a host of other symptoms -- all of which, Linnda Caporael noted, are present in the records of the Salem witchcraft trials. Ergot thrives in warm, damp, rainy springs and summers. When Caporael examined the diaries of Salem residents, she found that those exact conditions had been present in 1691. Nearly all of the accusers lived in the western section of Salem village, a region of swampy meadows that would have been prime breeding ground for the fungus. At that time, rye was the staple grain of Salem, ground up to make bread. The rye crop consumed in the winter of 1691-1692 -- when the first usual symptoms began to be reported -- could easily have been contaminated by large quantities of ergot. The summer of 1692, however, was dry, which could explain the abrupt end of the 'bewitchments.' These and other clues built up into a circumstantial case against ergot that Caporael found impossible to ignore.

The role of ergotism in history might still be underappreciated. For instance, some have observed that the fits of Caliban -- the character in Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST -- matches the description of those of people with ergot poisoning. Ergot poisoning was very possible in the 16th century, the time during which Shakespeare was writing. Perhaps even larger scale human atrocities could be ergot induced.


Source: Saunders, Nicholas. E is for Ecstasy.

"Speaking of peanuts, you know what else is bad for squirrels?
Ecstasy is the worst drug in the world
If someone offers it to you, don't do it
Kids 2 hits'll probably drain all your spinal fluid
Cause spinal fluid is final, you won't get it back
So don't get attached, it'll attack every bone in your back"
- Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP: "The Kids"

MDMA (N-methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyphenylisopropylamine) was originally patented in 1913 by the German company Merck Pharmaceuticals, intended as an appetite suppressant. However, it was never marketed and the patent doesn't mention any uses. The next time it came to light was in 1953, when the US army tested a number of drugs for military applications. It is rumored that the CIA experimented with MDMA as a truth serum for facilitating interrogations, but there is not sufficient evidence for this.

The father of MDMA - or 'stepfather' as he describes himself - is Alexander Shulgin, a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. The son of Russian emigres, Shulgin first became interested in the power of mind-altering chemicals when he was given morphine for an injured hand. Later, as a young biochemist, he experimented with mescaline and became fascinated by psychedelic drugs. While working for Dow Chemicals, he invented a profitable insecticide, and was rewarded with the opportunity to research anything he wanted. He set about synthesizing and testing psychedelic chemicals on the most reliable guinea-pig he could find - himself! An accepted test for psychedelic effects was to observe how fighting fish change their behavior. But there were problems: fish don't tell you when they are under the influence and, well, have you ever seen a fish that doesn't look stoned? Shulgin's solution was to 'suck it and see'.

Eventually his company was embarrassed to find themselves holding the patents of some popular street drugs and he was politely given the push. Shulgin continued testing new compounds on himself and a select group of friends for many years. Thanks to his remarkable personality - combining openness without proselytising about his liberal and controversial views - he has earned the respect of influential people and is able to carry on with his research today, with the full approval of the US government. His approach to psychedelics is similar to that of a botanist: he specialises in the phenethylamines, and delights in recording the subtle differences between each member of that family of drugs. His experiences are described in his autobiography Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved. MDMA is but one of 179 psychoactive drugs which he describes in detail, and, although its effects are less dramatic than many, MDMA is perhaps the one which comes closest to fulfilling his ambition of finding a therapeutic drug. Shulgin has now moved on to writing a book about another family of psychoactive drugs, the tryptamines, due out in 1995.

It is impossible to ever know the true breadth of therapeutic MDMA usage achieved during the remaining years of his life. However, at Shulgin's memorial service, an old friend of his was asked whether she had a guess at the number of people Shulgin had introduced to MDMA, either directly or indirectly. She was silent for a moment, then said, 'Well, I've thought about that, and I think probably around four thousand, give or take a few.' Those first psychotherapists to use MDMA were keenly aware that they had found a valuable new tool. As one put it, "MDMA is penicillin for the soul, and you don't give up prescribing penicillin, once you've seen what it can do". They were equally aware that if MDMA became a popular street drug, it could follow in the footsteps of LSD and be criminalized by the US government. They agreed to do as much informal research as possible without bringing the drug to public attention, and did pretty well - MDMA only gradually became known as a fun drug and it wasn't until 1984 that the bubble burst.

Those years 1977 to 1985 are looked back on as the 'golden age' of Ecstasy or Adam as it was then known. In psychotherapy, its use only appealed to a few experimental therapists since it didn't fit in with the usual 50-minute psychotherapy session, but they did include some of the most dynamic people in the field, including some who claimed that a five hour Adam session was as good as 5 months of therapy. There was also a select a group of 'explorers' who used the drug in various ways, but, surprisingly, they never discovered its potential as a dance drug.

Ecstasy was first brought to Europe by the disciples of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the controversial Indian millionaire guru. In spite of the cult's strict anti-drugs policy, the Bhagwan had adopted this new spiritual elixir, and his army of orange people evangelically distributed it to his centers around the world. Ecstasy gathered popularity exponentially. In Europe and the States, most users preferred to trip at home with friends. In Britain, the lively music scene fertillized a dynamic "rave" culture, which eventually spread beyond our borders in the early Nineties. At its height, it was estimated that a million pills were swallowed by British kids every weekend.


The designer drug "Ecstasy," or MDMA, causes long-lasting damage to brain areas that are critical for thought and memory, according to research findings in the June 15, 1999 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. In an experiment with red squirrel monkeys, researchers at Johns Hopkins University demonstrated that 4 days of exposure to the drug caused damage that persisted 6 to 7 years later. These findings help to validate previous research by the Hopkins team in humans, showing that people who had taken MDMA scored lower on memory tests. The images to the right are PET scans. Whiteness indicates mental activity. The top image is a normal monkey brain. The bottom image is a monkey brain on ecstasy. lolz.

1999 brought the first concrete evidence that ecstasy is harmful. However, ecstasy was entirely legal in the US from 1974 until 1986 ... and all those users are now screwed. This is because in almost all countries except the UK, new drugs are foolishly regarded as 'innocent until proved guilty', rather than 'guilty until proven innocent'.

There is also no evidence that ecstasy drains your spinal fluid.


The synthetic drug "ecstasy," which has been used increasingly among college students and young adults in recent years, also is being used at relatively high levels by America's 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, according to NIDA's 1996 Monitoring the Future study. Nearly 5 percent of 10th and 12th graders and about 2 percent of 8th graders said they had used MDMA in the past year, the study reported.

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