National Geographic Explores LSD

It's one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals ever discovered.  But could LSD be the next wonder drug in your doctor's arsenal?  Outlawed in 1970, the street drug developed a dangerous counterculture reputation, capable of inspiring either moments of genius or a descent into madness.  Its unpredictable nature made the discoverer of LSD, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman, believe it could either be "a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be" or "hurt you, disturb you, make you crazy."  Now, science is taking a fresh look into this psychedelic world, including the first human LSD trials in more than 35 years.

On Tuesday, November 3, 2009, at 10 PM ET/PT, National Geographic Channel's EXPLORER: INSIDE LSD puts this mysterious molecule back under the microscope.  From psychedelics given to terminally ill patients, to reputedly the "world's purest LSD" administered in lab experiments, find out why some researchers believe this "trippy" drug could become the pharmaceutical of the future ― enhancing brain power, expanding creativity and even curing mental illness.
Fifty years ago, psychedelics or "mind-manifesting" drugs like LSD were considered cutting-edge science.  Within months of its accidental discovery in 1943 by Hoffman, free samples of LSD were arriving at the doorsteps of scientists and psychiatrists around the world to test its effects on everything from alcoholism to autism.  Even the Central Intelligence Agency and the military dosed their own operatives to see if LSD could be weaponized for mind control.  But this powerful hallucinogen became a street drug with a dangerous reputation, and it was eventually outlawed.  Yet despite its illegality, an estimated 23 million Americans have taken LSD, and more than 600,000 try it each year.

Now, after more than three decades, cutting-edge science takes on psychedelics again.  At Purdue University, pharmacology professor Dave Nichols is one of a select group with permission to manufacture and experiment with LSD.  His team uses some of the purest LSD ever made to study its molecular structure and effect on the brains of rats, with intriguing results.  EXPLORER: INSIDE LSD shows how after chronic dosing, Nichols' rats begin to avoid social contact and mimic schizophrenic behavior in humans.  Nichols believes his study may shed light on the chemical mechanisms underlying mental illnesses, potentially leading to cures.

Then, find out what an "acid trip" looks like inside the mind.  At the University Hospital of Psychiatry in Zurich, Franz Vollenweider and his team are mapping brain activity during drug-induced altered states to investigate the "spiritual experience" often reported with use of psychedelics.  Electrode images and PET scans create 3-D pictures of the brain on LSD, illustrating how it activates sections of the brain responsible for a sense of self, while shutting down the region that processes fear and anxiety, producing what Vollenweider calls "a feeling of oceanic boundlessness."

Terminal cancer patients may be among the first to legally experience the psychedelic effects of magic mushrooms.  Psychiatrist Charles Grob and his colleague Alicia Danforth at UCLA-Harbor Medical Center are giving moderate doses of psilocybin, the hallucinogen found in "magic mushrooms," to late-stage terminal cancer patients.  Their goal is to offer patients a transformative experience to allow them to come to terms with their impending death.

EXPLORER: INSIDE LSD also takes a look at the motivations of recreational users and dealers.  Follow a dealer who prepares LSD-laced gummy candies for her clients, and hear from one of the top LSD chemists in the world, a convict who served six years in prison and speaks for the first time on TV, sharing rare footage of his illegal lab.  Then we'll talk to users like "Tea Faerie" and "Burning Dan," who practice a hybrid of dance, juggling and meditation and credit psychedelics with improving their creativity.

-press release

1 Comment

Please take a moment to check out my documentary, LSD-POWER & CONTROL.

FEATURES : the CIA's LSD Brothel, Interview with one of the 20 Preachers involved with Leary's Miracle of Good Friday Experiment, New Interview with Ram Dass, and Yippie Paul Krassner and more.

Full Film posted at this youtube link

Leave a comment


Blog Roll

Recent Entries

  • Nikita Redux

    Maggie Q, from Mission: Impossible 3, is Nikita this time. Her mission: bring down the secret government program that turns kids into killers. Good reviews,...

  • "Terriers" Starts Tonight

    Donal Logue as an ex-cop and Michael Raymond-James as his best friend  "solve crimes while avoiding danger and responsibility". Add some FX grit here and...

  • Don't Forget to Tivo - Sunday 8/1

    Basic: ABC has a repeat of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, new Scoundrels at 9 and The Gates at 10 CBS has a new Big Brother...

  • Don't Forget to Tivo - Thursday 7/29

    Basic: ABC has a repeat of Wipeout, new Rookie Blue at 9 and Boston Med at 10 CBS has a new Big Brother at 8,...

  • Don't Forget to Tivo - Wednesday 7/28

    Basic: ABC has repeats of The Middle, Modern Family, Cougar Town and Castle CBS has a new Big Brother at 8, repeats of Criminal Minds...