LSDs

This Bicycle Day, Celebrate LSD’s Inward Trips

On the afternoon of April 19th, 1943, the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann dropped acid, and rode his bike home. Hofmann, who worked in the pharmaceutical department of Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, had first synthesized LSD in 1938 while trying to create a stimulant to treat respiratory and circulatory problems. He had no idea the compound had psychedelic effects, and it yielded no visible results when tested on sedated animals, so he set it aside. 

Five years later, Hofmann decided to revisit his creation. On April 16th, 1943, he synthesized another batch of LSD. This time, he accidentally absorbed a tiny amount into his skin, and sank into “a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination.” He decided to experiment on himself with an intentional dose to confirm the compound’s effects, and at 4:20pm on April 19th, he ingested 250 micrograms of the chemical. He soon realized

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Tripping in LSD’s Birthplace: A Story for “Bicycle Day”

Exactly 71 years ago, April 19, 1943, Albert Hofmann, a chemist for Sandoz, in Basel, Switzerland, ingested a minute amount—just 250 micrograms–of a compound derived from the ergot fungus. He soon felt so disoriented that he rode his bicycle home, where he experienced all the heavenly and hellish effects of lysergic acid diethylamide. 

Psychedelic enthusiasts now commemorate Hofmann’s discovery of LSD’s effects every April 19, a.k.a. “Bicycle Day. ” To celebrate this Bicycle Day, I’d like to describe one of the strangest trips of my life, which took place in Basel and involved (sort of) Hofmann. 

In 1999, while, researching a book on mysticism, I flew to Basel to attend “Worlds of Consciousness,” a leading forum for scientists studying altered states, especially drug-induced states. The meeting, held in a convention center within walking distance of my hotel, offered two divergent perspectives of hallucinogens. In the convention center’s lobby, vendors peddled

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