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The accidental discovery of LSD (video)

American Chemical Society

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IMAGE: Bicycle Day (April 19) honors chemist Albert Hoffman's colorful journey after he accidentally discovered LSD. Chemists had discovered a migraine medicine made from a fungus. Continuing this work, Hoffman discovered... view more

Credit: The American Chemical Society

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2017 -- Bicycle Day on April 19 honors not the two-wheeled mode of transportation, but the colorful ride taken by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman who accidentally discovered LSD 74 years ago. In search of new medicines, Hoffman was trying to stabilize lysergic acid, a derivative of a fungal compound used in a migraine medicine. He ended up synthesizing a compound called lysergic acid diethylamine, or LSD. Later, he accidentally exposed himself to it and felt dizzy with hallucinations. On April 19, 1943, he tested it on himself again and needed a lab assistant to help him home, via bicycle, leading to a memorable ride. While recreational drug abuse led to bans on psychedelics in the 1970s, new research indicates Hoffman was onto something in his search for medicines that led to LSD. The approach may now yield potential mental health treatments: Watch the latest Reactions video here: https://youtu.be/L32mAiLXnLs.

Reactions is a video series produced by the American Chemical Society and PBS Digital Studios. Subscribe to the series at http://bit.ly/ACSReactions, and follow us on Twitter @ACSreactions to be the first to see our latest videos.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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