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1938- Dr. Albert Hofmann synthesizes LSD for the first time

November 16, 2022

On November 16th, 1938, Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann discovered LSD for the first time. His famous line, "I did not find LSD, LSD found me," emphasizes the innocent nature of the discovery of the drug.


Hofmann was a plant science specialist and examined and experimented with different plant samples to purify and synthesize components for pharmaceuticals. He had been working with ergot, a fungus that's found naturally on rye and other grains when he discovered the hallucinogenic.

The First LSD Trip

Despite discovering LSD back in 1938, Dr. Hoffman didn't experience a psychedelic trip until 1943.

Dr. Hofmann decided to synthesize yet another batch of LCD-25 and accidentally consumed some micrograms of it on his fingers. He described his experience as "extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors."

A few days later, on April 19, 1943, Hofmann took another hit of the synthesized LCD-25. This time, he increased the amount to 250 micrograms and was under supervision from his assistant. He described the effects of the drug, dizziness, anxiety and a desire to laugh.

During this trip, Dr. Hofmann noted that he was most high between 6 and 8 pm; within this time, he rode his bicycle home.

Fun Facts:

  • April 19 is deemed "Bicycle Day" in honor of Dr. Hoffman's iconic bicycle ride home.
  • The CIA conducted experiments with LSD during the Cold War as a form of mind-controlling interrogation.  
  • The effects of LSD are unpredictable. While some may experience a “good trip,” others may have a negative experience and even suffer fatal accidents.
  • Long-term side effects of LSD include schizophrenia and severe depression.


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