LSD has a lot of stigma attached to it, but before it became the drug that defined a generation of hippies and makes people act really, really strange at music festivals, it was used for scientific research in the 1950s treating conditions like alcoholism, various drug addictions and used in psychotherapy.
But then the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 came and ruined everyone's trip, meaning scientists could no longer conduct research (at least not without breaking the law). Scientists still aren't allowed to use psychoactive drugs for research, though some are calling for the ban to end.
In this documentary, Hofmann's Potion from 2002, director Connie Littlefield explores the groundbreaking work of the early pioneers—biochemists, chemists, psychiatrists, psychologists—showing the benefits these early experimenters uncovered and talks to the people who carried out the research. People like Albert Hoffman, the Swiss chemist who discovered the drug in 1943.
Check out the synopsis to the film below:
This documentary offers a compassionate, open-minded look at LSD and how it fits into our world. Long before Timothy Leary urged a generation to "tune in, turn on and drop out," the drug was hailed as a way to treat forms of addiction and mental illness. At the same time, it was being touted as a powerful tool for mental exploration and self-understanding. Featuring interviews with LSD pioneers, beautiful music and stunning cinematography, this is much more than a simple chronicle of LSD's early days. It's an alternative way of looking at the drug... and our world.
It's an insightful look at the drug minus the usual hysteria that surrounds it. And if you wanted to further explore how LSD impacted Western culture in the post-war years, Jay Stevens' Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream is a great place to start. Just remember: don't eat the brown acid, man.