The History of Hallucinogens

Humans have been using plants and fungi with psychedelic effects to alter their conscious experience for a long time. From Mayans to Egyptians, psychedelics were used in religious ceremonies as sacraments for healing.

Rock art at Selva Pascuala in Spain appears to depict a row of mushrooms. Credit: Juan Francisco Ruiz López

Maya mushroom stones. Credit: Dr. Richard Rose

But, it wasn’t until the mid 20th century that science got a hold of these compounds and started researching them. Clinical trials were held in which psychedelic LSD showed great potential in treatment in mental and emotional disorders.

The First Acid Trip, Ever.

1943- Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman working at a pharmaceutical company was working to formulate a new stimulant. He accidentally ingests what is known as LSD 25, having the first acid trip in history.

The company for whom Hoffman worked for then began providing LSD for free to scientists around the globe. Research quickly began and trials were carried out to seek treatment for a wide range of mental illnesses. The results concluded a 50% success rate, and in the 50s, psychotherapy began using this drug to bring people’s subconscious to a state in which patients were able to be treated.

The drug escaped the laboratory

After its popularization, the general public began getting their hands on LSD.

Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary, developed a curriculum for mind expansion and personal truth through psychedelics. This creates a scandal and Leary is fired from Harvard.

Nevertheless, This didn’t stop him as he soon became the psychedelic evangelist, promoting LSD use for everyone.

But, he was soon villainized as “the most dangerous man in America” according to president Richard Nixon.

Why is that? You may ask yourself. This is because…

The narrative on psychedelics changed.

All of a sudden, frightening propaganda initiated by the American government, especially by Nixon, began to spread like wild fire. After that, psychedelics were soon perceived as a threat to public safety and global threat.

Then, in 1971 President Nixon declares a war on drugs, criminalizing all use of psychedelic drugs. He listed LSD and psilocybiun as not accepted in medical use and high potential for abuse, which neither are true according to its research.

As a result of this, the golden age of psychedelics was over.

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