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LSD & Psychedelic Therapy

            Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) is a mind altering substance that was popular in the early sixties, and is making a comeback in the urban youth of today. LSD is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in the ergot fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD, which is commonly known as "acid", is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug well known for its psychological effects including an altered sense of time, spiritual experiences, and an altered thinking process. Its most familiar form is on absorbent blotter paper and ingested orally, but can also be sold in gelatin squares or as a liquid. In pure form, it is odorless, tasteless, and colorless (Carroll & Gregorian, 2006). LSD is the most commonly used hallucinogen and produces a distortion in the user's sense of reality. The hallucinations the user may experience can be images, sounds, or sensations that may be pleasurable and even intellectually stimulating, or they can be disturbing and result in what is known as a "bad trip". The determination of one's "trip" is shaped on previous experiences/expectations, the setting in which the drug is administered, and the user's neurological well-being. .
             In 1938, Albert Hofmann first synthesized the compound lysergic acid diethyl-amide, but did not discover its psychopharmacological effects until five years later when he accidentally absorbed the substance through his fingertips (Hofmann, 1980). After he realized the effects of this chemical, he repeatedly ingested it in the form of liquid by adding a few drops to a glass of water. This time though, he saw faster and more intense results. In a New York Times journal titled, "Albert Hofmann, the Father of LSD, Dies at 102", takes us through his life as a scientist and his discovery of LSD. Craig Smith, the author of this journal entry, stated "Dr. Hofmann became an impassioned advocate for the environment and argued that LSD, besides being a valuable tool for psychiatry, could be used to awaken a deeper awareness of mankind's place in nature and help curb society's ultimately self-destructive degradation of the natural world.

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