This article, and ones like it, has been making the rounds recently. Exploring drug use among famous and successful figures opens a lot of people’s minds to the concept that not everyone who tries and uses drugs is a terrible “addict” with no future. I think this is important on many of levels that I will probably bring up at a later date.
One drug that comes up frequently in these discussions is LSD. Crick (of DNA discovery, Watson and Crick) suggested that he may never have come up with the ideas he did if it weren’t for his experimentation with LSD. Kary Mullis (the creator of the technique PCR) openly stated that he didn’t think he would ever discovered PCR if it weren’t for his use of LSD.
From what I have heard LSD opens one’s mind in a way that is not usually possible. Now, I may sound like a “druggy hippie” (which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing) here, advocating “opening of the mind” and other such “new age” stuff, but I have to admit I have never tried LSD. The drug fascinates me, and I have heard of and seen the many ways it can (usually positively) impact people’s lives, but I am shit-scared of ever trying it. Legal issues aside, the concept of taking a drug that alters my reality and removes my control for six to ten (or so) hours is one of the scariest things I can think of. I am someone who doesn’t even like drinking because I don’t like the out of control feeling that comes with being tipsy/drunk.
But I would love to know what it feels like. I created this blog because I love discussions and learning other points of view. I have very strong views, but so do most people and they don’t all agree with me. I love learning why people believe what they do and feel they way they do. I could see how LSD could completely change the way a person views the world and make them open to visualizing entirely new realities (one in which our bodies are created by a strand of double helix DNA for example).
So, why is LSD viewed as such a bad thing? We are taught it is a terribly dangerous drug (up there with injecting heroin and smoking crack) but I can’t understand why. In terms of addictive qualities, it has no physical addictive qualities. I can count on one hand the number of people who have told me they were addicted to LSD; cocaine, and heroin on the other hand, even marijuana and alcohol, these numbers are too high for me to remember them (Disclaimer: I work on a daily basis with drug users and addicts in the city).
Health-wise, there have been no reports I can find of deaths directly due to the LSD itself. Yes, there are deaths related to LSD: people who were tripping in an unsafe environment and got hurt or killed, but LSD itself? I’ve never heard of an overdose. Go back to the drugs I just listed, and I think marijuana is the only one that also has no deaths directly associated to its ingestion.
So, why are we all so scared of LSD? We are taught that its terrible. The US government classes it as a Schedule I drug, the “worst” class of drug. This means they think that “it is deemed to have a high potential for abuse; it has no legitimate medical use in treatment; and there is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision.” I have found no real proof of any of these statements. There are, in fact, a number of well-documented potential medical uses: anxiety, depression, even addiction. As well as strong evidence to suggest its positive effects in creativity and invention. I don’t understand why it is so widely feared and forbidden today.
Historically, hallucinogenic substances have been used (and still are in some areas) for a number of positive reasons. So, why are they so strongly forbidden here?
I am not here trying to advocate for legalizing LSD and handing it out on street corners. Nor am I advocating against it. I am just trying to understand why it is now viewed in the way it is, and if there is something I am missing.