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Posted 19 January 2006 - 06:16 AM
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Hofmann saw his discovery slip from psychiatric miracle medicine, to psychedelic sacrament of the Sixties, to outlawed, feared street drug. Today, he is saddened but sanguine. "Wrong and inappropriate use has caused LSD to become my problem child," he says. "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."
Hofmann himself continued his career as a chemist, and developed several other medicines. All the time, a steady stream of people continued to visit the "father of LSD" in Basel during the 1970s and 1980s. Many were en route to India and the Far East in search of gurus and a context for the LSD-driven mystical experiences. Many stopped off in Zürich seeking his counsel - often trying to score some of Hofmann's "secret stash".
Hofmann considered it was his responsibility as inventor of the drug to meet as many of these people as possible. "I have tried to help, instructing and advising," he says.
Only now, 40 years later, is there renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of LSD and other psychedelic drugs. The British Journal of Psychiatry last year called for a reappraisal of psychedelics "based upon scientific reasoning and not influenced by social or political pressures ".
An international symposium convenes on Friday in Basel to discuss LSD research. By today's standards, much of the research from the 1950s is flawed. Clinical studies are slated to restart at Harvard this year, organised by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Study (maps.org), this time looking at LSD as a treatment for cluster headaches.
Hofmann hopes research will continue, but he believes LSD should remain a controlled substance. "As long as people fail to truly understand psychedelics and continue to use them as pleasure drugs, and fail to appreciate the very deep psychic experience they may induce, then their medical use will be held back."
Today, he lives with his wife in a house overlooking the countryside around Basel. He is head of a large family, including eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
He took the drug many times, but now, he says, he has no use for LSD. He believes it is just another means to attain extraordinary states of consciousness. "Breathing techniques, yoga, fasting, dance, art" are, he thinks, equally good.
He takes pleasure in recalling his boyhood experiences in nature that he links with psychedelics. "LSD brings about a reduction of intellectual powers in favour of an emotional experiencing of the world. It can help to refill our consciousness with this feeling of wholeness and being one with nature."
Edited by phawgg, 19 January 2006 - 11:43 AM.
Posted 19 January 2006 - 11:44 AM
Edited by Scarlett, 19 January 2006 - 12:00 PM.
Posted 01 February 2006 - 05:16 AM
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