Of Acid and the Grateful Dead: How LSD came to define the 60s

Of Acid and the Grateful Dead: How LSD came to define the 60s

Of Acid and the Grateful Dead: How LSD came to define the 60s
Season 1

 
 
00:00 / 24:19
 
1X
 

Joined by John Markoff and Stephen Siff, we discuss LSD and how one of the most powerful and perhaps the most famous psychedelic of all time shaped an entire decade.

Transcript

Benjamin Turley, Host: Hello and welcome to the inaugural episode of Pharmatopia. In this podcast we explore the history and laws that make up modern drug culture and give in-depth analysis into the amazing and occasionally odd stories from the world’s black, and not-so-black market.

Benjamin Turley: My name is Benjamin Turley and on today’s show we’ll be discussing LSD and how one of the most powerful and perhaps the most famous psychedelic of all time shaped an entire decade.

Benjamin Turley: Let’s take it back to 1960s where most people will agree LSD hit its cultural peak. It is here that it became heavily ingrained in the “hippy” counterculture movement. Today it remains very illegal as a Schedule One drug in the United States, but recently the FDA has opened it up for further testing and it is currently undergoing trials for psychological stress relief in Johns Hopkins University. Steve Jobs made no secret that he experimented with the drug in college and Kary Mullis credits the drug for his Nobel Prize in Biochemistry. It left its mark on the period in everything from the iconic psychedelic artwork known for its colorful scheme and mind-bending visuals, to, of course, the music with bands like Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead serenading us with lyrics and notes constructed under or influenced by the vivid trips that LSD produces. The drug became so popular in fact that one of the Beatles’s best known songs, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, was essentially an ode to the chemical with the title spelling out the name: LSD.

John Markoff: You know the history of LSD on the West Coast of the United States began in the late 1950s. It was brought to America initially on the West Coast by a man by the name of Al Hubbard who was Canadian and during the late 1950s he was traveling up and down the West Coast introducing people to the drug. He was a Catholic, but he was a believer that LSD had profound therapeutic uses.

Benjamin Turley: That’s John Markoff.

John Markoff: I worked at the New York times. I retired in December and my current project is a biography of Stewart Brand.

read full transcript

Music

  • Deep Ocean – Dan O’Connor
  • Happening for Lulu – Kraus
  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – The Beatles
  • Siesta – Jazzar
  • Springish – Gillicuddy

One Reply to “Of Acid and the Grateful Dead: How LSD came to define the 60s”

  1. In the 70s while attending a party in Miami, where there were drugs, I was offerred LSD, which I was not interested in trying. However, as possibly a point of interest, if an individual was interested they would break off a small disk ( about the size of a thumb nail) with a picture of a cartoonish looking boat character called “Captain” something, don’t remember. I was told it had a drop of LSD on it. At that point my departure from this party was immediate!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.