Lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD-25, formerly lysergide, commonly known as LSD and "acid", is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug of the ergoline family, first synthesized by Albert Hofmann. LSD is well known for its psychological effects which can include closed and open eye visuals, a sense of time distortion, ego death and profound cognitive shifts, as well as for its key role in 1960s counterculture. LSD is non-addictive, is not known to cause brain damage, and has extremely low toxicity relative to dose. However, adverse psychiatric reactions such as anxiety, paranoia, and delusions are possible. It is used mainly as an entheogen, a tool to supplement various practices for transcendence, including in meditation, psychonautics, art projects, and psychedelic therapy, and as a recreational drug. This page is for quotes about LSD.
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- Rationale for Treatment with LSD and UML
Our interest in these drugs was due in part to their psychotomimetic effect, hoping thereby that the autistic defenses of schizophrenic children might be broken down. Of equal interest, on a theoretical basis, is the serotonin inhibiting effect and of greater interest is their effect on the autonomic and central nervous system. Brodie has described the effects of LSD and other hallucinogenic agents as "arousal and increased responsiveness to sensory stimuli, preponderance of sympathetic activity and increased skeletal muscle tone and activity." Of particular interest is their tonic effect on the vascular bed especially of the brain, as has been shown with UML in vascular headaches. The known effects of these drugs on perception further increases their interest in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Such drugs were of interest to us for the treatment of childhood schizophrenia since our definition of this condition is a disorder in maturation characterized by an embryonic primitive plasticity in all areas of integrative brain functioning from which behavior subsequently arises. This includes all autonomic functions, perception, emotion, intelligence. It was hoped that 'these drugs might prove some-what specific in modifying the basic process as well as the secondary symptoms. Autism is seen as a withdrawal or denial defense against disturbing sensations arising from disturbed autonomic function and perceptual function and anxiety in the young child with lagging and atypical maturation. It was hoped that this autism might be disrupted and that more normal autonomic functions in the vascular bed, brain, intestines, skin and other organs as well as in perception would permit more normal development.
- "The Treatment of Childhood Schizophrenia with LSD and UML", L. Bender, L. Cobrinik, G. Faretra, D.V. Siva Sankar, Biological Treatment of Mental Illness, Proceedings II of the International Conference of the Manfred Sakel Foundation 10/31-11/3/1962, 1966; 2(4):463-91
- LSD, yeah, the big parade — everybody's doin' it now. Take LSD, then you are a poet, an intellectual. What a sick mob. I am building a machine gun in my closet now to take out as many of them as I can before they get me.
- I think that everything should be made available to everybody, and I mean LSD, cocaine, codeine, grass, opium, the works. Nothing on earth available to any man should be confiscated and made unlawful by other men in more seemingly powerful and advantageous positions. More often than not Democratic Law works to the advantage of the few even though the many have voted; this, of course, is because the few have told them how to vote. I grow tired of 18th century moralities in a 20th century space-atomic age.
- Charles Bukowski, as quoted in "This Floundering Old Bastard is the Best Damn Poet in Town", interview by John Thomas in LA Free Press (1967)
- If God dropped acid, would he see people?
- Attributed to George Carlin in The Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: Over 2,000 One-Liners, Straight Lines, Stories, Gags, Roasts, Ribs, and Put-Downs (2009) by H. Aaron Cohl and Barry Dougherty, p. 145; also attributed to Steven Wright, in The Things I Wish They'd Told Me. As I Was Growing Up (2010) by David Rankin, p. 97
- One further speculation about the way that LSD acts in the brain can be offered. … It is proposed that LSD acts primarily on the pleasure or reward centers of the brain, producing a surge of nonspecific emotionality. If it registers as bliss or rapture, it dominates the sensory flow, the concept of self, the thinking process. This strong emotional discharge overwhelms all mental activity and produces a fusion or synesthesia of the neural pathways: perceptual beauty and glowing light, erasure of the self concept and elimination of rational thought. This is the transcendental state; its opposite, the psychotic state, occurs when the strong feeling discharge is apperceived as horrific and discordant.
- Sidney Cohen, The Beyond Within: The LSD Story (1967), p. xii
- I took some bad acid in November of 1965, and the after effect left me crazy and helpless for six months. My mind would drift into a place that was very electrical and crackly, filled with harsh, abrasive, low grade, cartoony, tawdry carnival visions. There was a nightmarish mechanical aspect to everyday life. My ego was so shattered, so fragmented that it didn't get in the way during what was the most unself-conscious period of my life. I was kind of on automatic pilot and was still constantly drawing. Most of my popular characters—Mr. Natural, Flaky Foont, Angelfood McSpade, Eggs Ackley, The Snoid, The Vulture Demonesses, Av' n' Gar, Shuman the Human, the Truckin' guys, Devil Girl—all suddenly appeared in the drawings in my sketchbook in this period, early 1966. Amazing! I was relieved when it was finally over, but I also immediately missed the egoless state of that strange interlude. LSD put me somewhere else. I wasn't sure where. All I know is, it was a strange place. Psychedelic drugs broke me out of my social programming. It was a good thing for me, traumatic though, and I may have been permanently damaged by the whole thing, I'm not sure. I see LSD as a positive, important life experience for me, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone else.
- Robert Crumb, in his sketchbook (28 March 1998), reproduced in The R. Crumb Handbook (2005) by Robert Crumb and Peter Poplaski, p. 372p. 132
- The underground press was convinced that I was a junkie, an acid head. … But I don't do drugs. I don't like being fucked up. I've got enough bizarre chemicals floating around in my head. I'm just naturally like this.
- It’s a psychic energizer… It releases the subconscious. It makes you see all your guilts, fears, repressions and insecurities. It makes you free.
- Always that same LSD story, you've all seen it. "Young man on acid, thought he could fly, jumped out of a building. What a tragedy." What a dick! Fuck him, he’s an idiot. If he thought he could fly, why didn’t he take off on the ground first? Check it out. You don’t see ducks lined up to catch elevators to fly south — they fly from the ground, ya moron, quit ruining it for everybody. He’s a moron, he’s dead — good, we lost a moron, fuckin’ celebrate. Wow, I just felt the world get lighter. We lost a moron! I don’t mean to sound cold, or cruel, or vicious, but I am, so that’s the way it comes out. Professional help is being sought. How about a positive LSD story? Wouldn't that be news —worthy, just the once? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstition and lies? I think it would be news-worthy. "Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves" . . . "Here's Tom with the weather."
- Bill Hicks, in Austin, Texas, on the audio bootleg recording know as Sane Man (1989)
- Deliberate provocation of mystical experience, particularly by LSD and related hallucinogens, in contrast to spontaneous visionary experiences, entails dangers that must not be underestimated. Practitioners must take into account the peculiar effects of these substances, namely their ability to influence our consciousness, the innermost essence of our being. The history of LSD to date amply demonstrates the catastrophic consequences that can ensue when its profound effect is misjudged and the substance is mistaken for a pleasure drug. Special internal and external advance preparations are required; with them, an LSD experiment can become a meaningful experience. Wrong and inappropriate use has caused LSD to become my problem child.
- I had no inkling that the new substance would also come to be used beyond medical science, as an inebriant in the drug scene. Since my self-experiment had revealed LSD in its terrifying, demonic aspect, the last thing I could have expected was that this substance could ever find application as anything approaching a pleasure drug.
- In the LSD state the boundaries between the experiencing self and the outer world more or less disappear, depending on the depth of the inebriation. Feedback between receiver and sender takes place. A portion of the self overflows into the outer world, into objects, which begin to live, to have another, a deeper meaning. This can be perceived as a blessed, or as a demonic transformation imbued with terror, proceeding to a loss of the trusted ego. In an auspicious case, the new ego feels blissfully united with the objects of the outer world and consequently also with its fellow beings. This experience of deep oneness with the exterior world can even intensify to a feeling of the self being one with the universe. This condition of cosmic consciousness, which under favorable conditions can be evoked by LSD or by another hallucinogen from the group of Mexican sacred drugs, is analogous to spontaneous religious enlightenment, with the unio mystica. In both conditions, which often last only for a timeless moment, a reality is experienced that exposes a gleam of the transcendental reality, in which universe and self, sender and receiver, are one.
- I believe that shortly after LSD was discovered, it was recognized as being of great value to psychoanalysis and psychiatry. It was not considered to be an escape. It was a very important discovery at that time, and for fifteen years it could be used legally in psychiatric treatment and for scientific study in humans. During this time, Delysid, the name I gave to LSD, was used safely, and was the subject of thousands of publications in the professional literature. … This early work was very well documented, and shows how well research with LSD went until it became part of the drug scene in the 1960s. So, from originally being part of the therapeutic pharmacopeia, LSD became a drug of the street and inevitably it was made illegal. Because of this reputation, it became unavailable to the medical field, and so the research, which had been very open, was stopped. Now it appears that this research may start again. The importance of such investigations appears to be recognized by the health authorities, and so it is my hope that finally the prohibition is coming to an end, and the medical field can return to the explorations which were forced to stop thirty years ago.
- I wish him the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He'd be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.
- Steve Jobs on Bill Gates as quoted in "Creating Jobs" in The New York Times (12 January 1997).
- Woz and I very much liked Bob Dylan's poetry, and we spent a lot of time thinking about a lot of that stuff. This was California. You could get LSD fresh made from Stanford. You could sleep on the beach at night with your girlfriend. California has a sense of experimentation and a sense of openness—openness to new possibilities.
- When people ask me about LSD, I always make a point of telling them you can have the shit scared out of you with LSD because it exposes something, something hollow. Let’s say you have been getting on your knees and bowing and worshiping; suddenly, you take LSD and you look and there’s just a hole, there’s nothing there. The Catholic Church fills this hole with candles and flowers and litanies and opulence. The Protestant Church fills it with hand-wringing and pumped-up squeezing emotions because they can’t afford the flowers and the candles. The Jews fill this hole with weeping and browbeating and beseeching of the sky: How long, how long are you gonna treat us like this? The Muslims fill it with rigidity and guns and a militant ethos. But all of us know that’s not what is supposed to be in that hole. After I had been at Stanford two years, I was into LSD. I began to see that the books I thought were the true accounting books — my grades, how I’d done in other schools, how I’d performed at jobs, whether I had paid off my car or not — were not at all the true books. There were other books that were being kept, real books. In those real books is the real accounting of your life.
- I got high on psychedelics before I was ever drunk. I never smoked. Then LSD came by. And to me it was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened... And, of course, the best drugs ever were manufactured by the government. … LSD lets you in on something. When you're tripping, the idea of race disappears; the idea of sex disappears; you don't even know what species you are sometimes. And I don't know of anybody who hasn't come back from that being more humane, more thoughtful, more understanding.
- Ken Kesey, in "Trip of a Lifetime" in The Sun Times (29 August 1999)
- A TV crew came over 10 years or so ago, on the anniversary of the discovery of LSD, and those guys were trying to push me towards saying how bad it was. They wanted me to talk about the dark underbelly of the drug culture. And I said, I'm not going to talk about that because I've never seen it, except in kids doing stuff that I don't know about and I'm not interested in... I've never taken crack and I've never taken ecstasy; none of us has. I don't want to take some strange drug and end up chewing my tongue for 12 hours.
- Ken Kesey, in "Trip of a Lifetime" in The Sun Times (29 August 1999)
- I believe that with the advent of acid, we discovered a new way to think, and it has to do with piecing together new thoughts in your mind. Why is it that people think it's so evil? What is it about it that scares people so deeply, even the guy that invented it, what is it? Because they're afraid that there's more to reality than they have confronted. That there are doors that they're afraid to go in, and they don't want us to go in there either, because if we go in we might learn something that they don't know. And that makes us a little out of their control.
- Ken Kesey, quoted in the BBC documentary, The Beyond Within : The Rise and Fall of LSD (1987)
- LSD, lysergic acid diethylamid, or acid, was invented by accident in a Swiss laboratory in the 1930s by a doctor, Albert Hofmann, when a small amount of the compound on his fingertips resulted in "an altered state of awareness of the world." After the war, Hofmann's laboratory sold small amounts in the United States, where saxophonist John Coltrane, celebrated for his introspective brilliance, jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gilespie, and pianist Thelonious Monk experimented with the new drug, though not nearly as much as the CIA. The substance was hard to detect because it had neither odor, taste, nor color. An enemy surreptitiously exposed to LSD might reveal secrets or become confused and surrender. This was the origin of the idea of slipping acid into the water cooler. Plans under consideration included slipping acid to Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and Cuba's Fidel Castro so that they would babble foolishly and lose their followings. But Castro's popularity among the young would probably have been enormously magnified once Allen Ginsberg and others learned that Fidel, too, was an acid head. Agents experimented on themselves, causing one to run outside to discover that cars were "bloodthirsty monsters." They also, in conjunction with the army, experimented on unknowing victims, including prisoners and prostitutes. The tests resulted in a number of suicides and psychotic patients and left the CIA convinced that it was almost impossible to usefully interrogate someone while under the influence of LSD. Acid experiments were encouraged by Richard Helms, who later, between 1967 and 1973, served as CIA director.
- Don't take LSD unless you are very well prepared, unless you are specifically prepared to go out of your mind. Don't take it unless you have someone that's very experienced with you to guide you through it. And don't take it unless you are ready to have your perspective on yourself and your life radically changed, because you're gonna be a different person, and you should be ready to face this possibility.
- Timothy Leary, in a CBC documentary: "How To Go Out of Your Mind : The LSD Crisis" (1966)
- I am 100 percent in favor of the intelligent use of drugs, and 1,000 percent against the thoughtless use of them, whether caffeine or LSD. And drugs are not central to my life.
- Timothy Leary, in Chaos and Cyber Culture (1994)
- We must always remember to thank the CIA and the Army for LSD, by the way. Everything is the opposite of what it is, isn't it? They brought out LSD to control people, and what they did was give us freedom. Sometimes it works in mysterious ways its wonders to perform. But it sure as hell performs them. If you look a the government report book on acid, the only ones who jumped out of windows because of it were the ones in the Army. I never knew anybody who jumped out of a window or killed themselves because of it. … I've never met anybody who's had a flashback in my life and I took millions of trips in the Sixties, and I've never met anybody who had any problem. I've had bad trips, but I've had bad trips in real life. I've had a bad trip on a joint. I can get paranoid just sitting in a restaurant; I don't have to take anything.
- John Lennon, in The Beatles Anthology (2000), p. 179-180
- Some fellow said to me, "Have you had LSD, Paul?" And I said "Yes." And it was only [be]cause I was going to just be honest with him. There's no other reason. I didn't want to spread it or anything, you know. I'm not trying to do anything except answer his question. But he happened to be a reporter, and I happened to be a Beatle.
- Shuffling around syntactic tokens in our everyday mental ghetto may amount to futile shadow-chasing. So one's sense of understanding the LSD story may be illusory. The raw feels and the semantic primitives are lacking.
- Acid allows you to walk through the door to an alternate reality, but most people have no idea how to walk back through.
- Those portions of the brain, seemingly unused, deal with these other dimensions, and physically, you begin to use these portions, though minutely, for the first time, under psychedelic situations.
- Jane Roberts in The Early Sessions: Book 7, Session 308, Page 217
- The effects of mescalin or LSD can be, in some respects, far more satisfying than those of alcohol. To begin with, they last longer; they also leave behind no hangover, and leave the mental faculties clear and unimpaired. They stimulate the faculties and produce the ideal ground for a peak experience.
- Colin Wilson in Introduction to the New Existentialism, p. 88
- People On Psychedelics - collection of quotations concerning psychedelics.
- Erowid Vaults: LSD-25
- The Lycaeum Archive: LSD
- TIHKAL entry for LSD-25
- WWW Psychedelic Bibliography, MAPS - large database of scientific publications on LSD and other psychedelics, fulltext PDFs
- Current LSD Research – MAPS
- Talk to FrankUK government anti-drug site on LSD
- Scholarly bibliography on the histories of LSD use
- "My LSD Trip: a non-cop, non-hippie report of the unvarnished facts", by Robert Gannon, Popular Science Magazine (December 1967)
- Watch Hofmann's Potion, a documentary on the origins of LSD
- Power & Control LSD in The Sixties, documentary film directed by Aron Ranen, 2006
- LSD Returns--For Psychotherapeutics (Scientific American Magazine article)
- Talks about psychedelics, law, culture and mystical experiences by Alan Watts