Wednesday, November 27, 2019
LSD and the Counterculture of the 1960s free essay sample
LSD and Counterculture of the 1960s LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide, is commonly regarded as one of the most powerful substances known to mankind. Its name is almost synonymous with the counterculture and the hippy movement of the 1960s. Though it is now listed as a Schedule I controlled substance, there was a time when LSD widely used and accepted without the harsh social stigma that it carries today Oenkins). LSD, which is known to the younger population as acid, Lucy, and various other colloquial terms, came into being by complete accident. Albert Hofmann, a chemist, irst created the drug in 1938, but it was not until 1943 that Hofmann unintentionally ingested a small dose of the drug leading to one of the greatest discoveries in the history of psychoactive chemicals (History of LSD). From there, LSD exploded with popularity, and by the 1950s psychiatrists were legally administering the drug to patients in order to explore LSDs potential to heal or treat psychological issues. We will write a custom essay sample on LSD and the Counterculture of the 1960s or any similar topic specifically for you Do Not WasteYour Time HIRE WRITER Only 13.90 / page During trials, doctors discovered that LSD did indeed have some potential benefits for mental health patients. Many individuals suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and alcoholismÃ¢â¬ among other illnessesÃ¢â¬ showed gradual improvements in their conditions when given LSD in a clinical setting (Frood). To satisfy the demand for clinical trials of LSD, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals began to manufacture the drug en masse. The ample supply of LSD led to widespread distribution by physicians to trial participants and, unintentionally, the general public (History of LSD). A black market developed, controlled by select groups of unofficial chemists who were able to synthesize the drug. Various musicians, artists, and igures of esteem took up LSD use, describing it to the population as a world- changing and mind-altering experience. Psychedelic drugs became a growing trend, even receiving the endorsement of Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary, who encouraged the youth to turn on, tune in, and drop out. The youth of the generation began to view LSD as nearly harmless, eventually causing the drug to run rampant in the streets, unregulated and, ultimately, legal (Lee, Shlain, et al). Such proliferation of the drug caught the attention of government officials who were interested in the drugs psychoactive effects. Government agencies launched a series of tests, having decorated individuals from both the military and academic worlds take LSD in a controlled setting. The governments motives, at the time, were questionable, with some critics suggesting that the government saw LSD as a means for mass mind control and various other nefarious ideas. Government funded tests continued for a long period of time (Lee, Shlain, et al. ). Their findings, however, did not shed a good light on LSD. Though there was a surplus of clinical information showing the potentially positive effects of LSD, some government studies stated that LSD could actually be a detriment to human mental healthÃ¢â¬ causing depression, anxiety, fear as well as other undesirable side effects. Lawmakers began to think of LSD as an illicit and potentially dangerous substance. With its rampant use among the general population, lawmakers came to fear that the nation was dealing with somewhat of a drug epidemic. LSD was officially banned in the mid-1960s, along with backed by medical reasoning or if it was the result of political disapproval of the drug (History of LSD). The possibility of LSD-related possession charges loomed over the outh of the 1960s, but even still, the number of those using the drug began to grow exponentially. Disenchanted youth looked for a release from the pressures and troubles of society. The disputes over civil rights and the unpopular Vietnam War spearheaded the growing distrust for the American government (Vietnam War Protests). In protest, thousands of young people engaged in the hippie lifestyle, preaching a message of free love and happiness, often coupled with LSD use. Through the hippie counterculture sprang many radical groups that chose to issociate themselves from the modern political structure. Communes and sanctuaries, of sorts, became places where likeminded youth could escape the grips of the traditional social structure (Marks). The infamous Charles Manson, most notably, led a group of young outcasts to live on the fringes of society. LSD and other psychedelic drugs were an integral part of his groups operations. He and his followers turned out to be maniacal and murderous in later years. One of the most notable events in the hippie movement was the legendary Woodstock Festival of 969. Over one hundred thousand people Joined to engage in a three daylong event that promoted peace and happiness and protested the establishment. The psychedelic culture was prevalent at the event, featuring the Grateful DeadÃ¢â¬ known users of LSDÃ¢â¬ as well as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and others (Rosenburg). As the 1970s began and the turbulence of the 1960s began to dwindle so dwindled the use of LSD. Laws became stricter, hippies grew older, and the supply of LSD in the black market became scarce. New laws prohibiting the use of LSD in any medical xperiments stopped academic use of the drug altogether. Whatever potential benefits could have been gained from controlled use of the drug have now been placed on the backburner. Possibly, with newer and more progressive legislation, laws will be passed that will allow the untapped possibilities of psychedelic drugs to be explored. Whether one maintains a liberal or a conservative viewpoint towards experimental drug use, there is no denying that LSD played a major role in the legacy of the 1960s as one of the most turbulent and exciting decades in American history.