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Oscar Janiger
Photo by Marcia Berris
Oscar Janiger
Photo by Debra Dipaolo, 1998.
From the Stolaroff Collection
Erowid Character Vaults
Oscar Janiger
Oscar "Oz" Janiger earned his MA in cell physiology at Columbia University and his Osteopathic / MD degree at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine. He was one of the first researchers to study LSD's potential for enhancing intellect and creativity. Janiger was particularly interested in the ability of artists to access a state of altered consciousness using this "creativity pill", which he saw as a "marvelous instrument to learn more about the mind."

Working as a psychiatrist in Los Angeles, he gave LSD to an estimated 1,000 volunteers (1954-1962) before it was made illegal. He was interested in LSD for its enhancement of creativity, its creation of a new state of consciousness, and for its potential as a tool in therapy. During the time he worked with it, he incorporated LSD into his therapy and also guided sessions for several notable volunteers including Anais Nin, Aldous Huxley, Cary Grant, and Jack Nicholson. Janiger's subjects paid $20 for a dose of LSD from Sandoz Pharmaceutical.
Janiger gave his patients the LSD in a room that adjoined a garden in his office rather than hospital or prison settings that had typically been used in previous government tests. He personally took LSD 13 times and said that it helped him see that "many, many things were possible." About 70 of his patients took part in a creativity experiment in which he asked them to paint or draw an American Indian Kachina Doll before taking the LSD and then again one hour after taking it. Some 250 works of art were created during those sessions.
[Excerpted from August 17, 2001 Reuters article by Sarah Tippit]
Janiger's interest in psychedelics led him to participate in studies with DMT (with Alan Watts and Humphry Osmond), the psychedelic nature of tobacco, and the lack of chromosomal damage of peyote (with Marlene Dobkin De Rios). Oz's interest were wide ranging. After LSD was outlawed in 1966, he remained an advocate of the drug but turned his attention to new areas of research. Among other accomplishments he wrote a controversial paper on the biological basis of homosexuality and co-conducted an early study on the cross-cultural nature of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). In 1988 he co-founded the Albert Hofmann Foundation, a nonprofit organization chartered to preserve the earliest records of psychedelic research.

Although Janiger's work predated that of Timothy Leary, it has not been widely recognized because his data remained largely unpublished during his lifetime. A book based on Janiger's work titled LSD, Spirituality, and the Creative Process was published posthumously in 2003 by Marlene Dobkin de Rios.

Author of (Books)
  • LSD, Spirituality, and the Creative Process (2003)
  • A Different Kind of Healing: Doctors Speak Candidly About Their Successes With Alternative Medicine (1993)
  • Author of (Articles)
  • "LSD and Creativity" (1989)
  • "The use of Hallucinogenic Agents in Psychiatry" (1960)
  • Index of Articles by O. Janiger
  • Video
  • A Conversation on LSD (circa 1980) Jan
  • Cary Grant on Acid: And Other Stories from the LSD Studies of Dr. Oscar Janiger (PDF)