All posts tagged: LSD

A Bicycle Trip: Watch an Animation of The World’s First LSD Trip in 1943

A Bicycle Trip: Watch an Animation of The World’s First LSD Trip in 1943

On August 16, 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hof­mann was syn­the­siz­ing a new com­pound called lyser­gic acid diethy­lamide-25 when he got a cou­ple of drops on his fin­ger. The chem­i­cal, lat­er known world­wide as LSD, absorbed into his sys­tem, and, soon after, he expe­ri­enced an intense state of altered con­scious­ness. In oth­er words, he tripped. Intrigued by the expe­ri­ence, Hof­mann dosed him­self with 250 micro­grams of LSD and then biked his way home through the streets of Basel, mak­ing him the first per­son ever to inten­tion­al­ly drop acid. The event was lat­er com­mem­o­rat­ed by psy­cho­nauts and LSD enthu­si­asts as “Bicy­cle Day.” Ital­ian ani­ma­tors Loren­zo Veraci­ni, Nan­di­ni Nam­biar and Mar­co Avo­let­ta imag­ine what Hof­mann might have seen dur­ing his his­toric jour­ney in their 2008 short A Bicy­cle Trip. The film shows Hof­mann rid­ing through the Swiss medieval town as he sees visions like a trail of flow­ers com­ing off a woman in red, cob­ble­stones com­ing alive and scur­ry­ing away, and a whole for­est becom­ing trans­par­ent before the mar­veling scientist’s eyes. The film also shows Hof­mann slam­ming into …

Artist Draws 9 Portraits on LSD During 1950s Research Experiment

Artist Draws 9 Portraits on LSD During 1950s Research Experiment

Dur­ing the 1950s, a researcher gave an artist two 50-micro­gram dos­es of LSD (each dose sep­a­rat­ed by about an hour), and then the artist was encour­aged to draw pic­tures of the doc­tor who admin­is­tered the drugs. Nine por­traits were drawn over the space of eight hours. We still don’t know the iden­ti­ty of the artist. But it’s sur­mised that the researcher was Oscar Janiger, a Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia-Irvine psy­chi­a­trist known for his work on LSD. The web site Live Sci­ence has Andrew Sewell, a Yale Psy­chi­a­try pro­fes­sor (until his recent death), on record say­ing: “I believe the pic­tures are from an exper­i­ment con­duct­ed by the psy­chi­a­trist Oscar Janiger start­ing in 1954 and con­tin­u­ing for sev­en years, dur­ing which time he gave LSD to over 100 pro­fes­sion­al artists and mea­sured its effects on their artis­tic out­put and cre­ative abil­i­ty. Over 250 draw­ings and paint­ings were pro­duced.” The goal, of course, was to inves­ti­gate what hap­pens to sub­jects under the influ­ence of psy­che­del­ic drugs. Dur­ing the exper­i­ment, the artist explained how he felt as he worked on each sketch. You can watch how things …

Aldous Huxley, Dying of Cancer, Left This World Tripping on LSD (1963)

Aldous Huxley, Dying of Cancer, Left This World Tripping on LSD (1963)

Aldous Hux­ley put him­self for­ev­er on the intel­lec­tu­al map when he wrote the dystopi­an sci-fi nov­el Brave New World in 1931. (Lis­ten to Hux­ley nar­rat­ing a dra­ma­tized ver­sion here.) The British-born writer was liv­ing in Italy at the time, a con­ti­nen­tal intel­lec­tu­al par excel­lence. Then, six years lat­er, Hux­ley turned all of this upside down. He head­ed West, to Hol­ly­wood, the newest of the New World, where he took a stab at writ­ing screen­plays (with not much luck) and start­ed exper­i­ment­ing with mys­ti­cism and psy­che­delics — first mesca­line in 1953, then LSD in 1955. This put Hux­ley at the fore­front of the coun­ter­cul­ture’s exper­i­men­ta­tion with psy­che­del­ic drugs, some­thing he doc­u­ment­ed in his 1954 book, The Doors of Per­cep­tion. Hux­ley’s exper­i­men­ta­tion con­tin­ued until his death in Novem­ber 1963. When can­cer brought him to his deathbed, he asked his wife to inject him with “LSD, 100 µg, intra­mus­cu­lar.” He died trip­ping lat­er that day, just hours after Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion. Three years lat­er, LSD was offi­cial­ly banned in Cal­i­for­nia. By way of foot­note, it’s worth men­tion­ing that the Amer­i­can med­ical …

Microdoses of LSD enhance neural complexity, study finds

Microdoses of LSD enhance neural complexity, study finds

A recent study has shown that even very low doses of LSD can enhance the complexity of brain activity, a finding that might have significant implications for our understanding of consciousness and possibly for therapeutic applications. The study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, found that while substances like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and methamphetamine did not produce the same effect, LSD distinctly increased neural complexity and affected brain wave patterns associated with states of consciousness. Neural complexity is a concept that attempts to quantify the intricate patterns of activity within the brain. This measure reflects the “richness” of one’s mental experience, which can vary dramatically from one state of consciousness to another. High levels of neural complexity are associated with a richer, more varied experience of consciousness, whereas lower levels are associated with reduced consciousness, such as in sleep or under the influence of certain sedatives. The focus on neural complexity in this study stems from a theory known as the “entropic brain hypothesis,” which proposes that the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics are partly due to their …

How Even a Microdose of LSD Might Expand Consciousness

How Even a Microdose of LSD Might Expand Consciousness

I became a neuroscientist to help us understand how humans gain deeper insight and observation into themselves, life, and being during altered states of consciousness. I never expected to write a post about a microdose of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). When I graduated with a Ph.D. in neuroscience in 2019, I completed my thesis on synaptic plasticity in preclinical models of cocaine and methamphetamine addiction. I was eager to pursue work on humans. I arrived at the University of Chicago with the ambition of studying altered-state experiences, beginning with those induced by cannabis and its principal psychoactive constituent, THC. “Cannabis?” I remember hearing this on my first day in the Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory. “We have another study I’d like you to work on involving microdoses of LSD and another involving [methylenedioxy-methylamphetamine] MDMA; then maybe you can look into THC.” I was exactly where I needed to be. In integrated information theory, a hotly debated theory of consciousness, the more complex a model of consciousness, the higher the “level of consciousness.” In practice, neural complexity …

Cary Grant made LSD therapy fashionable

Cary Grant made LSD therapy fashionable

When I began researching Tripping on Utopia in 2018, I was aware that many midcentury scientists and psychiatrists had shown a keen interest in the promise of psychedelics. But what I didn’t realize was how remarkably broad-based this interest was. As I dug deeper into the archival record, I was struck by the public enthusiasm for the use of substances like LSD and mescaline in therapy—as manifested not just in scientific studies, but in newspaper articles and even television specials. (My favorite is this remarkable 1957 broadcast which shows a woman taking LSD on camera, then uttering memorable lines like “I’ve never seen such infinite beauty in my life” and “I wish I could talk in Technicolor.”) Public acceptance of psychedelics was surprisingly widespread during the 1950s Above all, I was surprised by the public response to the Hollywood actor Cary Grant’s reveal that he was regularly using LSD in psychedelic therapy sessions. In a series of interviews starting in 1959—the same year he starred in North by Northwest—Grant went public as an unlikely advocate for psychedelic therapy. It was …

Microdosing LSD increases the complexity of your brain signals

Microdosing LSD increases the complexity of your brain signals

Small doses of the psychedelic drug LSD Microgen/Shutterstock Low doses of the psychedelic drug LSD increase complexity in the brain, even when they don’t alter a person’s consciousness. The finding challenges the idea that these two phenomena are correlated and raises the possibility that even small doses of LSD might have therapeutic effects. Neural complexity is a measure of the amount of information the brain produces, with all repetitive signals removed – that is, the lowest number of unique brain signals over a given period. Previous studies have shown neural complexity … Source link

MDMA may help prevent “bad trips” on psilocybin or LSD, study suggests

MDMA may help prevent “bad trips” on psilocybin or LSD, study suggests

New research suggests that low doses of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, can help to reduce the challenging effects associated with psychedelic drugs like LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and psilocybin, the active component in magic mushrooms. The findings, published in Scientific Reports, shed new light on the effects of “candy flipping” and “hippy flipping”‘ – terms used for the co-administration of LSD or psilocybin with MDMA. MDMA, psilocybin, and LSD are psychoactive substances known for their potent effects on human perception, mood, and consciousness. The motivation for this study was rooted in the growing interest in the therapeutic potential of these substances. Psilocybin and LSD — when combined with supportive psychotherapy — have shown considerable promise in clinical research for treating a range of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, a significant concern associated with their use is the potential for challenging psychological experiences, often referred to as “bad trips.” These can include feelings of fear, grief, and paranoia. Anecdotal reports suggested that MDMA, known for its empathogenic and euphoric effects, …

Meet the family leading the psychedelic revolution

Meet the family leading the psychedelic revolution

One of the most interesting questions to have come out of the psychedelic renaissance is about the nature of consciousness itself — who and what our thoughts actually are. It’s the question that Feilding has been asking, she tells me, since her earliest childhood at Beckley Park. Her father, who she “adored completely” and describes as a “violent tempered, very eccentric individual, charming and mercurial”, was a painter who never made any money. “It was a funny upbringing, very cultured, very educated. My father’s parents were bosom friends of William and Henry James. Aldous Huxley actually came here, when he was a student, and sat talking with my grandmother all night.” The author and philosopher — who wrote the dystopian classic Brave New World, to which our podcast owes its title — based his first novel, Crome Yellow, at Beckley. “So they were kind of intellectual, but we never had money for heating or hot water or any of those normal luxuries. My father adored beauty, so any money he could lay his hands on, …

An untold story of LSD psychotherapy in communist Czechoslovakia

An untold story of LSD psychotherapy in communist Czechoslovakia

Hana K.’s third LSD experience was terrifying. Initially, the images that flashed before her eyes were beautiful: fountains of colors, fields of tulips, peacock feathers. Then they turned dark: monsters, claws, demonic eyes, vampires. She saw kings and beggars dead, buried, eaten by worms, providing food for animals and eventually for other people. “Imagine the countless atoms of our ancestors in this perpetual motion!” she cried aloud, describing everything she saw to another patient, sitting beside her bed. Hana had a troubled life. Born in 1949, she grew up in a town south of Prague, in a family crushed by poverty. When Hana was a child, her father drank and her spiteful mother often hit her for wetting the bed. At school, classmates teased her for wearing secondhand clothes, which were often damp because she was too shy to ask permission to go to the bathroom. In her teens, she was lonely and angry, so tormented by vivid dreams of murdering her enemies that she asked to be hospitalized. At 18, she married a boy …