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by Erowid
Nov 16, 1938 Albert Hofmann, a chemist working for Sandoz Pharmaceutical in Basel, Switzerland, is the first to synthesize LSD-25. He discovered LSD, a semi-synthetic derivative of ergot alkaloids, while looking for a blood stimulant. 1  
Apr 16, 1943 Albert Hofmann accidentally experiences a small amount of LSD for the first time. This is the first human experience with pure LSD-25. He reports seeing "an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopelike play of colors." The experience lasted just over two hours.   
Apr 19, 1943 Bicycle Day - Albert Hofmann intentionally takes 250 ug LSD for the first time. This is the first intentional use of LSD. 2  
Apr 22+, 1943 After receiving Albert Hofmann's report regarding the effects of LSD-25, professor Ernst Rothlin was the second person to try the drug. Rothlin was Sandoz's chief pharmacologist at the time. Albert Hofmann gave Rothlin a small, 60 microgram, dose of LSD about 1/4 of the dose Hofmann had tried. 3   [Details] [More Info]
Jun 12, 1943 Susi Ramstein becomes the first woman in the world to take LSD. 4   [Details] [More Info]
1947 First article on LSD's mental effects published by Werner Stoll in the Swiss Archives of Neurology.   
1949 Boston psychiatrist Max Rinkel obtains LSD from Sandoz and initiates work on it at Harvard. Hungarian psychiatrist Nicholas Bercel commences LSD research in Los Angeles. 5, 6   [Details]
1950 - 1960 Hundreds of papers published discussing LSD.   
Apr 20, 1950 The CIA's behavior-control program project BLUEBIRD officially begins. 7   [Details] [More Info]
Aug 1950 The first American article about LSD appears in Diseases of the Nervous System, wherein the possibility that LSD might be useful as an aid to psychotherapy is presented. 8   [More Info]
1951 CIA becomes aware of and begins experimenting with LSD.   
1951 Al Hubbard first tries LSD. 9  
1952 Charles Savage publishes the first study on the use of LSD to treat depression.   
1953 First LSD clinic opened to the public in England under Ronald Sandison. Separately, unwitting subjects in the United States were given LSD in the CIA funded Project MK-Ultra to test the effects of the drug.   
1953 Dr. Humphry Osmond begins treating alcoholics with LSD. 9  
1955 First conferences focusing on LSD and mescaline take place in Atlantic City and Princeton, N.J.   
1955 Aldous Huxley first takes LSD. The publication of Huxley's 'Heaven and Hell'. 9  
1959 Josiah Macy Foundation sponsors major scientific congress on LSD. 9  
1959 Allen Ginsberg tries LSD for the first time. 9  
Apr 22-24, 1959 The First International Conference on LSD Therapy 10   [Details]
1960 Harvard University's Timothy Leary establishes the Psychedelic Research Project.   
1962 Congress passes new drug safety regulations and the FDA designates LSD an experimental drug and restricts research. The first LSD related arrests are made by the FDA. 9  
1963 LSD first appears on the streets liquid on sugar cubes. Articles about LSD first appear in mainstream media Look, Saturday Evening Post. 9  
May 1963 Richard Alpert is fired and Timothy Leary is dismissed from Harvard. 9  
May 28, 1963 Weil and Russin write a scathing critique of Leary and Alpert's work in the Harvard Crimson: Far from exercising the caution that characterizes the published statements of most scientists, Leary and Alpert, in their papers and speeches, have been given to making the kind of pronouncement about their work that one associates with quacks. 11   [Details]
Feb 1965 Owsley Bear Stanley first succeeded in synthesizing crystalline LSD. Earliest distribution was March 1965. 12  
May 8-10, 1965 The Second International Conference on the Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism 13   [Details]
1966 Leary founds the League of Spiritual Development, with LSD as the sacrement. 14  
Mar 25, 1966 Life publishes cover article on LSD. "LSD: The Exploding Threat of the Mind Drug that Got Out of Control".   
Apr 1966 Sandoz Pharmaceutical recalled the LSD it had previously distributed and withdrew its sponsorship for work with LSD. 14  
Oct 6, 1966 LSD becomes illegal in California. 15  
1967 Summer of Love in San Francisco. First human be-in.   
Oct 24, 1968 Possession of LSD is banned federally in the U.S. after the passage of the Staggers-Dodd Bill (Public Law 90-639) which amended the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.   
Summer 1969 Orange sunshine acid first appears. 9  
1970 An estimated 1-2 million Americans have used LSD.   
Jun 1970 Windowpane acid (gelatin squares) first reported by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in the U.S. 16   [Details]
Jun 12, 1970 Doc Ellis pitched a perfect "No Hitter" while reportedly experiencing the effects of LSD.    [Details]
Oct 27, 1970 The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act is passed. Part II of this is the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) which defines a scheduling system for drugs. It places most of the known hallucinogens (LSD, psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, peyote, cannabis, & MDA) in Schedule I. It places coca, cocaine and injectable methamphetamine in Schedule II. Other amphetamines and stimulants, including non-injectable methamphetamine are placed in Schedule III.   
Jan 1971 "Flat toothpicks containing 5 micrograms LSD per toothpick have been encountered by a New Mexico Police Department." according to the BNDD Microgram periodical. 17  
Sep 3, 1971 Albert Hofmann meets Timothy Leary for the first time. 3   [Details] [More Info]
Early 1970s LSD impregnated paper ("blotter") first hit the streets. Very quickly the paper began being printed with colorful art.   
Aug 1973 The Freek Press, a free newspaper distributed at the second Windsor Free Festival (UK), includes the Acid Report, which describes various microdots circulating at the event. 18   [More Info]
May 30, 1975 Alex Grey has his first LSD experience at a party given by Allyson, his future wife. 19   [Details]
mid 1970's Blotter paper begins to emerge as the most common form of LSD sold on the street. Previously it had been tablets and powder, but blotter and gel-tabs proved more consistent in purity and potency. 6  
Oct 14-15, 1977 LSD--A Generation Later: Colloquium I    [Details]
1979 Albert Hofmann publishes "LSD: My Problem Child." 2  
Apr 19, 1985 Bicycle Day is first celebrated as a counter-culture holiday. 20   [Details] [More Info]
Late 1980s Researchers working in the labs of Reese Jones and Roger Foltz (at UCSF) give LSD to humans in order to develop methods for detecting LSD in blood, urine, and hair. 21, 22  
Apr 16, 1993 Bicycle Day: Celebrating 50 Years of LSD    [Details]
Oct 21-22, 1993 50 Years of LSD: Current Status and Perspectives of Hallucinogens 23   [Details]
Jan 13-15, 2006 LSD: Problem Child and Wonder Drug Conference    [Details] [More Info]
May 2006 Survey results published in Neurology show that both psilocybin-containing mushrooms and LSD may reduce severity and frequency of cluster headaches. 24   [Details] [More Info]
Apr 29, 2008 Albert Hofmann dies. 25   [Details] [More Info]
April 29-early May, 2013 Albert Hofmann dies again, virtually, as a wave of fresh mourners, 'friends', and those compelled to comment, twitter their thumbs while hoovering blog bytes and forwarding partially read news articles from five years ago.    [Details] [More Info]
March 2014 First government-approved experimental study giving LSD to humans published since the work by Reese Jones and Roger Foltz et al. in San Francisco in the late 1980s. Additional unpublished government-approved LSD psychotherapy was conducted by the Swiss Medical Society for Psycholytic Therapy from 1988 through 1993. This Gasser et al. study showed that giving dying patients the drug in a therapeutic context reduced anxiety. This study was conducted in Switzerland. 26, 21, 22   [Details] [More Info]

  1.   Hofmann A. "Die Geschichte des LSD-25". Triangel Sandoz Zeitschrift fur Medizinische Wissenschaften. 1955;2(3):117-24. (as cited in Ott J. Pharmacotheon. 1993. pg 123.)
  2.   Hofmann A. LSD: My Problem Child. J.P. Tarcher, 1979.
  3.   Horowitz M. "Interview with Albert Hofmann". High Times 11:24-31,81 (1976)
  4.   Hagenbach, D. and Werthmüller, L. Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD. 2013.
  5.   Stafford P. Re-creational Uses of LSD. J Psychoactive Drugs. 1985 Oct-Dec;17(4):219-228.
  6.   Stafford P. Psychedelics Encyclopedia. Ronin. 1992.
  7.   Marks, J. The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control. 1979.
  8.   Busch, A.K. and Johnson, W.C. 1950. "LSD-25 as an Aid in Psychotherapy (Preliminary Report of a New Drug)", Diseases of the Nervous System 11(8): 241-243.
  9.   Lee MA, Shlain B. Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and the Sixties Rebellion. Grove, 1985.
  10.   Proceedings were published as The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy, edited by H.A. Abramson (1960).
  11.   Russin JM, Weil AT. "Corporation Fires Richard Alpert for Giving Undergraduates Drugs: First Dismissal Under Pusey", Harvard Crimson, May 28, 1963
  12.   Eisner B. "Interview with an Alchemist: Bear: Owsley, LSD Chemist Extraordinaire".
  13.   Proceedings were published as The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism, edited by H.A. Abramson (1967).
  14.   Ray O, Ksir C. Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior. Mosby, 1996.
  15.   'Getting High: The History of LSD', The History Channel, 1999.
  16.   Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Microgram. Jun 1970;3(4):2.
  17.   DEA. Microgram. Jan 1971;Vol IV(1):2. Accessed in Erowid's Microgram archives.
  18.   Jarnow J. Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America. 2016; pp 79-80.
  19.   Grey, A. Instagram post on May 30 2019.
  20.   Roberts, T. "Why is Bicycle Day is April 19th, not the 16th?"
  21.   Francom P, Andrenyak D, Lim HK, Bridges RR, Foltz RL, Jones RT. “Determination of LSD in urine by capillary column gas chromatography and electron impact mass spectrometry”. J Anal Toxicol. 1988 Jan-Feb 22;12(1):1-8.
  22.   Papac DI, Foltz RL. “Measurement of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in human plasma by gas chromatography/negative ion chemical ionization mass spectrometry”. J Anal Toxicol. 1990 May-Jun 30;14(3):189-90.
  23.   Proceedings published as 50 Years of LSD: Current Status and Perspectives of Hallucinogens, edited by A. Pletscher and D. Ladewig.
  24.   Sewell RA, Halpern JH, Pope HG Jr. "Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD". Neurology. 2006;66(12):1920-2.
  25.   Erowid. "In Memoriam: Albert Hofmann". Erowid Extracts, Jun 2008; 14:21.
  26.   Gasser P, Holstein D, Michel Y, Doblin R, Yazar-Klosinski B, Passie T, Brenneisen R. Safety and Efficacy of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Assisted Psychotherapy for Anxiety Associated with Life-threatening Diseases. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 2014;