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On This Day… A Swiss Chemist Accidentally Ingests Lsd

Written by: George Chittenden : 19 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 16th April, back in 1943 when a Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann became the first person to trip out on LSD. Hofmann synthesised the drug years earlier in 1938 whilst researching into the medicinal value of lysergic acid compounds. His plan was to obtain a respiratory and circulatory stimulant with no effects on the uterus by introducing this functional group to lysergic acid. He set his experiment aside for five years, and then when he re-examined it on this very day back in 1943 when he accidentally touched his hand to his mouth, nose or possibly eye, ingesting a small dose.

Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann

Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann

He went home and laid down on his bed where he sank into a dreamlike state. Hofmann described the feeling as not unpleasant when he perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with an intense, kaleidoscopic play of colours. However, after two hours the effects faded away. Three days later, in the name of science, Hofmann intentionally ingested 250 micrograms of LSD. That particular day is now known as "Bicycle Day", because he began to feel the effects of the drug as he rode home on a bicycle.

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