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LSD: Problem Child and Wonder Drug

Dr Albert Hofmann Turns 100 Years Young! An exclusive wrap-up of the Basel conference by Sister Sara Tonin of the Perpetual Cosmic Disorder

Picture yourself on a boat on a river. The river was the Rhine, and the boat was Das Schiff. Hosting an all night after party following the closing ceremonies celebrating the 100th birthday of chemist and LSD discover Dr. Albert Hofmann, PhD, Lucy's diamonds were definitely in the sky!

An international symposium, LSD: Problem Child and Wonder Drug was held at the Convention Center Basel, Switzerland, from January 13 to 15, 2006. Over 2000 attendees and over eighty presenters from forty countries gathered to pay tribute to the eldest of our psychedelic tribe. Cyber-shamans, techno-geeks, artists and researchers shared information on topics ranging from LSD's impact on culture, from art and music to the development of computer science. Mythological implication as well as sacramental and ritual use of the substance relating to spiritual growth was discussed, as was the therapeutic potential for numerous medical conditions.

The history of Lysergic acid diethylamide as a mind-expanding tool began five years after Hofmann first discovered LSD-25 at Sandoz laboratories. He was haunted by a strong urge compelling him to revisit and resynthesize the drug. Without knowingly ingesting the substance, Hofmann managed to accidentally absorb enough of the chemical topically to experience the substance's trippy effects. In a second voluntary trip, Hoffman had a frightening, near death-like experience that morphed into feelings of childlike renewal and rebirth.

"I did not look for LSD. LSD found me!" Hofmann exclaimed. "LSD wanted to tell me something," he shared with the audience. "It gave me an inner joy, an open mindedness, a gratefulness, open eyes and an internal sensitivity for the miracles of creation." During a press conference on Friday, Hofmann recounted that Nobel-prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis remarked that LSD helped him develop the polymerase chain reaction that amplifies specific DNA sequences. Visionary artist Alex Grey noted that another Nobel-prize-winner, Francis Crick, discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, also he received inspiration for his scientific ideas from LSD.

"When you study natural science and the miracles of creation, if you don't turn into a mystic you are not a natural scientist," said Hofmann.

During the 1950s and 1960s, LSD was thought to be a promising tool for psychotherapy, popularized by doctors such as Stan Grof. Later it was somewhat unethically used by the CIA as a potential interrogation tool, as part of the infamous MK-Ultra program. LSD was widely embraced by Timothy Leary and hippy youth culture, and was outlawed quickly along with a strong disinformation campaign, swaying public opinion away from the substance.

Wired news noted : "It's very encouraging to see such a large number of people, including very knowledgeable people, getting together and sharing a common vision that these compounds have tremendous potential to facilitate healing, especially in areas that do not respond well to conventional treatments," said Psychiatrist Dr. Charles Grob, of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. "There is global healing in these compounds which have been used for millennia by indigenous people that have much to teach modern man and modern woman."

Event co-sponsor, the Florida-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies ( MAPS ) is supporting psychedelic studies and research on a global basis, investigating the use of psychoactives to treat drug addiction and ailments such as cluster headaches.

LSD, is a derivative of lysergic acid found in the alkaloids of the ergot grain fungus, was deemed illegal worldwide since the mid-1960s, and is still generating much controversy today. In fact, the conference was picketed Saturday by a small Scientology group, opposed to drug use. One attendee joked, " If Scientologists are picketing us, then we must be becoming establishment!"

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Tags : LSD Albert Hofmann basel switzerland
Posted on: 2006-01-20 12:47:21