Did you know today, April 19 is bicycle day? That sounds like something super-wholesome, doesn’t it?
Wrong. It’s actually the anniversary of the first-ever deliberate acid trip in history, taken by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann while riding his bike. Hofmann, a chemist, created the psychedelic drug Lysergic acid dethylamide (LSD), commonly known as acid, in 1938.
Thanks to you-know-who, biking and illicit drug-taking is now old hat. But when Hofmann experienced his acid trip, his description of the event was diametrically opposed to that other famed cycling druggie. According to an International Business Times article, Hofmann described it as an experience of reality without an ego.
Today, being the anniversary of the first-ever acid trip, got me thinking about the parallels between ADHD’s first-ever description as “Minimal Brain Dysfunction,” to its current “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” and the many shifts and turns taken in society’s view of LSD.
At various times, LSD has been considered as having therapeutic potential; it’s been vilified as a dangerous recreational drug (in the notorious hippie days of the 60’s and 70’s) and subsequently outlawed; and today, there’s a resurgence of interest in it as a viable option for mental health treatment.
As recently as January 28, 2013, The Globe and Mail published an online article called, High hopes: Why science is seeking a pardon for psychedelics by Taras Grescoe. In it, Grescoe cites a research study due to be published this spring examining the therapeutic effects of LSD on humans – the first such research in humans in over four decades.
Using LSD as part of psychotherapy is not new. Famed psychiatrist Stanislov Grof used LSD and breathing techniques to allow patients to move into what he called “transpersonal” states, a condition where we sense that we are one with everything.
Those of us with non-linear ADHD minds often experience the world as intricately interconnected; this is one source of our creativity: we see connections where others don’t. It is also one of our strengths that has been utilized in business, the arts, and problem-solving.
So is there a place for a substance that alters our state of consciousness in mental health treatment? Apparently, some 40,000 people, including famed actor Cary Grant, have been successfully treated with LSD for mental health problems, including overcoming addictions, according to Grescoe.
The traits (or symptoms, if you prefer) of ADHD haven’t changed; our point of view has. Researchers are giving the healing potential of LSD, ayahuasca, and other mind-altering substances a new look. Is the pendulum swinging again?
It may be. But if it is, let’s just hope they don’t also – ever – bring back bellbottoms.
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Last reviewed: 19 Apr 2013