Albert Hofmann, the late Swiss chemist, has discovered a new substance with hallucinogenic properties in 1943: his lysergic acid diethylamide became the world-famous drug known as LSD. TThe Swiss-made drug became a symbol of the counterculture and anti-authority protests.
LSD turns 75 today, its psychedelic effects had the great impact on the hippy culture in the 1960s and even later. By the way, Albert Hoffman has discovered the drug inadvertently, the chemist just took a small dose while doing lab work for pharmaceutical company Sandoz. In fact, he was doing the experiments with the while working with a fungus called ergot, which attacks cereal grains like rye to know its medical use as a valuable psychiatric tool and lead to a deeper understanding of human consciousness.
LSD’s ability to expand the consciousness became a sensation, later, the drug became the most popular one among the generation of the sixties and seventies. In 1970, the administration of former US president Richard Nixon listed LSD as a “Schedule 1” narcotic, a classification given to drugs that Washington considers highly dangerous with no medical benefit.
Albert Hofmann on lysergic acid – “LSD: My Problem Child”
By the early 1970s, it had been widely criminalised in the West, prompting Hofmann to publish his 1979 memoir, “LSD: My Problem Child”. According to Hannes Mangold, curator of the National Library exhibit, the LSD had a complicated story.
“When Hofmann published his book in 1979, LSD was completely prohibited. There was no research,” said Mangold.
Today, the “problem child” turns 75 and its reputation as a medicine was restored. For the last 10-15 years, research has once again been authorised and LSD as medicine has re-emerged. Almost forty years ago, Hofmann wrote about the usefulness of his drug a lot. he modern researches show that the drug can successfully treat anxiety.
The book, in which Hofmann sought to reassert LSD’s potential medical benefits, is featured in an exhibition at the Swiss National Library in the capital, Bern, to mark 75 years since the discovery.
The great Swiss chemist Hofmann died in 2008 at the age of 102 but he likely would have been pleased by a series of recent developments, which have cleared the reputation of his “problem child”.