Colourful history of ‘truth drug’ that bent millions of minds
SWISS chemist Albert Hofmann first discovered lysergic acid diethylamide, known as LSD or acid, in 1938 while trying to develop a blood stimulant for pharmaceutical company Sandoz. He witnessed its strong hallucinogenic
effect first hand when he spilt some on his skin. In 1943 he took the first intentional acid trip, and once the properties of the drug were confirmed, LSD was admitted for experimental observations.
By the late 50s, samples were sent out to psychiatrists for medical research. The CIA examined the possibility of using the drug as a truth serum during the Cold War.
The powerful hallucinogen became the subject of research, mass media attention and thousands of scientific papers. As LSD grew in popularity, hippy claims about its creative effects were tempered by stories of horror drug trips.
Possession of LSD was declared illegal in the US in 1968. It remains illegal in the UK. Possession can lead to seven years’ jail.