Today: Bicycle Day 2016
Today is a magical day for psychonauts; exactly 73 years ago, on April 19th, 1943, Albert Hoffman ingested LSD and took his fateful bike ride home, ready for the adventure that awaited.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-25, also known as LSD or Acid, is a psychedelic compound that is highly sought after for its trippy effects. Although it was first synthesised back in 1938, it wasn’t until 1943, towards the end of the Second World War, that the first ever human trip was recorded. It was Albert Hofmann, a chemist of Sandoz Laboratories and the man considered to be the father of LSD, who first got to experience the wonders it holds.
Hofmann was synthesising derivatives of ergot, a fungus known for its psychedelic properties, when he accidently absorbed a small amount of one of them - LSD. Quite understandably, the subsequent trip caused him to freak the fuck out! Especially considering ergot is known to cause poisoning. Fortunately, LSD doesn’t carry ergot’s toxic properties, and once assured by doctors after the trip that it had not caused poisoning, Hofmann became intrigued. On April 19th, 1943, he purposefully ingested 0.25 milligrams of LSD to explore the effects it had on the mind in greater detail. The idea was that 0.25 milligrams would be the minimum threshold required to induce a trip. Little did he know he had underestimated the potency of LSD! He was hit with a remarkably profound trip. He decided to make the most of it, hopping on his bike before taking a colourful ride home to lie on his couch and embrace the experience in its full depth:
“… little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colours and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in coloured fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux…”
It is on this day, now known as “bicycle day,” that psychonauts across the globe drop acid to commemorate and enjoy the wonder of seeing the world through the eyes of LSD. Many come together to celebrate, with parades, music events, and talks and seminars to spread the ever evolving knowledge surrounding LSD.
After Hofmann’s bicycle day experience, he developed an understanding of just how profound his discovery was. He had experienced the therapeutic effects LSD has to offer first hand, and envisioned a huge potential waiting to be harnessed, should science be able to come to terms with the intense nature of the trips. Little did Hofmann know, these vivid and eye opening experiences would go on to become the very core of 60’s counter-culture, and spread throughout the world as a popular recreational drug. While this led to a cultural revolution, it also led to the grinding halt of scientific application. The counter-culture craze led to a crackdown on psychedelics by the governments of the word, which in turn made it illegal for scientists to experiment with. It is only recently, in the last decade or so, that research has started up again, picking up where Hofmann left off – and already finding positive results.
As LSD enjoys a scientific renaissance, it too enjoys a similar resurgence in mainstream society. The stream of research finding positive and safe applications for psychedelics is breaking down the barriers and stigma created back at the height of prohibition, making them a much more accepted drug. As time passes and the benefits investigated in greater detail, the fear directed towards LSD fades. So get out there on this hallowed day and enjoy the wonders on offer!
Written by: Josh
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