D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a powerful hallucinogen available in the form of a clear, odorless liquid. It is often put on sugar cubes or blotter paper, or sold as a pill or capsule. It is also known by a variety of street names, including “acid,” “blotter acid,” “window pane,” “microdots,” “loony toons,” “sunshine,” and “zen.” The drug was discovered by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman in 1938. He absorbed traces of the drug in 1943 and found its hallucinogenic properties. He believed it would have significant use in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, particularly schizophrenia. In the 1950s, researchers studied the drug to find potential applications. The CIA believed the drug could be used as a truth serum on prisoners of war. In the early 1960s, author Ken Kesey volunteered to take LSD as part of a study funded by the agency. Kesey came to believe that LSD was consciousness expanding and could produce spiritual experiences in its users.
Around this time, Timothy Leary, a psychology professor at the Harvard University, was researching on LSD. After consuming the drug, he, too, was convinced that LSD could open the window to spiritual enlightenment. Both Leary and Kesey extolled these qualities and helped make it an integral part of the 1960s counterculture.
After the 1960s, LSD use waned until the drug again became popular as part of the rave scene in the 1990s. When some people hear the name of the drug today, they may think of tie-dye, acid rock and the counterculture of the 1960s. However, LSD is popular today among young people as a club drug used at raves, nightclubs and concerts. Prolonged LSD use can lead to addiction for which the user would need LSD addiction treatment.