Ken Kesey - LSD

by Claire Michelle Smith

In its pure form, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide-25) also known as acid or sugar, discovered by Dr. Albert Hofmann in 1938 is an odorless, colorless, and usually tasteless crystal substance. The major pharmaceutical company manufacturing pure LSD today, for research purposes, is the Spofa United Pharmaceutical Works in Prague.

Originally all LSD was made by Sandoz Pharmaceutical company, which developed the chemical and hoped to market it. It came in glass capsuals of blue liquid, or small tablets. With underground LSD use came underground manufacture. The first recorded underground laboratory was set up by Bernard Roseman in 1962. .

Owsley (Augustus Owsley Stanley III) was the undisputed king of the LSD trade at its height in the mid-sixties. Owsley began to manufacture his own purple (Purple Haze) and white (White Lightning) tablets of 270 micrograms in 1965 an distributed them freely at the parties known as the 'Acid Tests', organised by Ken Kesey and Neal Cassady.

In 1969, LSD began to appear in microdots, and in 1971, on gelatin sheets nicknamed "windowpanes." Today, it comes in many forms - just about anything which will absorb a liquid has been used.

There is rarely speed or strychnine in today's LSD although it was common in the 60's. The most common additive is PCP (phencyclidine, or Serylan, an animal tranquilizer that causes hallucinations.

The effects are variable and begin within one hour and commonly last 8-12 hours, gradually tapering of. It alters perception, psychological processes, mood, and can impair co-ordination. Sometimes dramatic, unpleasant psychological reactions result, including panic, confusion and anxiety attacks.

In the late 50's, LSD experimentation on members of the public, was legally conducted by psychiatrists. It was used in the treatment of alcohlics and pschiatric patients with some sucess.

LSD was made illegal in the USA on October 16, 1966.