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LSD My Problem Child: Reflections on Sacred Drugs, Mysticism and Science Paperback – Jan 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Multidisciplinary Assn for (Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966001982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966001983
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 13.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 924,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Albert Hofmann was born in Baden, Switzerland in 1906. He graduated from the University of Zürich with a degree in chemistry in 1929 and went to work for Sandoz Pharmaceutical in Basel, Switzerland. With the laboratory goal of working towards isolation of the active principles of known medicinal plants, Hofmann worked with Mediterranean squill (Scilla maritima) for several years, before moving on to the study of Claviceps purpurea (ergot) and ergot alkaloids.

Over the next few years, he worked his way through the lysergic acid derivatives, eventually synthesizing LSD-25 for the first time in 1938. After minimal testing, LSD-25 was set aside as he continued with other derivatives. Four years later, on April 16, 1943, he re-synthesized LSD-25 because he felt he might have missed something the first time around. That day, he became the first human to experience the effects of LSD after accidentally ingesting a minute amount. Three days later, on April 19, 1943, he decided to verify his results by intentionally ingesting 250 ug of LSD. This day has become known as "Bicycle Day" as Hofmann experienced an incredible bicycle ride on his way home from the lab.

In addition to his discovery of LSD, he was also the first to synthesize psilocybin (the active constituent of 'magic mushrooms') in 1958. Albert Hofmann, known as the 'father of LSD', continued to work at Sandoz until 1971 when he retired as Director of Research for the Department of Natural Products. Since that time he has continued to write, lecture, and play a leading role as an elder in the psychedelic community.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Jun 2013
Format: Paperback
An essential book for anyone interested in the whole drugs/ transcendental issue. Hoffman looks at how LSD can unlock consciousness but it needs setting, mood and place to work effectively. People just taking the drugs as some rite of passage un- reflectively led to the mass hysteria.

Here Hoffman delicately explores how LSD and other drugs from the Americas can be used to unlock the human mind and embark on transcendence. However this is not premised on what took place previously even if it did stop a war.

Hoffman is thinking about the future
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By Harry on 15 Oct 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant book, well written and covers the story from the start up-to now. Its also the kind of book you will read again and again whenever you need ref.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Halifax Student Account on 23 Sep 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful trip through the mind of one of the genius' of chemical system building. Hoffman wasn't not any old hippy. Albert Hoffman sat on the Nobel panel, he became wealthy through patents and he lived to the grand old age of 103!

In LSD-My Problem Child, Albert Hoffman writes about not being impressed by Dr Timothy Leary's egalitarianism, talking with Aldous Huxley about the dangers of the peasants getting hold of the drug and tripping with the German writer, Ernst Junger. Junger also lived to the ripe old age of 103!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 46 reviews
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Pioneer of hallucinogens discusses pros and cons 1 Jun 2002
By J. T. Towers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Albert Hoffman, the Swiss chemist who accidentally invented LSD -- and then tested it on himself in the first human LSD trial -- presents a fascinating account of the first acid trips, including quite readable descriptions of the chemistry involved and first-person accounts from the first acid pioneers. He also did groundbreaking research into the natural hallucinogens of Mexico and he provides insightful comparisons of LSD and mushrooms. Why "My Problem Child"? Because advocating LSD was not his trip -- he strongly believes LSD can be a beneficial way for one to get to know oneself and experience other worlds, but only if the user is mentally and physically prepared for the journey. Kids in the 60s getting drunk and dropping ten hits gave the drug a bad name, to say the least. This book does include some practical information on avoiding (or surviving) bad trips, as well. Excellent source for anyone on either side of the issue of hallucinogens and their relationship to human consciousness.
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating 10 Dec 2009
By Darcia Helle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gives tremendous insight into Albert Hoffmann's life and research. Hoffmann is the scientist who, in 1938, first isolated the compound LSD-25 from ergot. At the time, Hoffmann had no idea that this compound had what we've come to know as psychedelic properties. He certainly didn't foresee the psychedelic craze of the 1960s.

Hoffmann, who died in 2008 at the age of 102, tells us how his research began, how it progessed, and what, ultimately, went wrong. Some of the early researchers (including Hoffmann) took the LSD and detailed their "trips" in journals. Excerpts of these are shared with us, which make for fascinating reading.

Hoffmann talks a lot about the psychiatric research associated with LSD, though he doesn't get into the other research, such as the amazing work done with alcoholics and heroin addicts. He mentions in passing the CIA's experiments on unknowing victims. I would have liked a bit more information on these issues to be included, since these were such important parts of LSD's history. However, Hoffmann didn't stray far from his own personal research and experiences.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
carefully covers all aspects of LSD and other psychedelics 6 Oct 2005
By Gregory Ames - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book must be extremely rare to find a physical copy so if you are interested in reading it I suggest you look online (I read it at [...]). This book gives a complete history of the Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman's research leading up to the discovery of LSD-25 as well its effects on society at the time, its uses, and even his correspondence with various writers and other enthusaists (I bet you didn't know that he frequently met up with Aldous Huxley). A quote in his introduction describes what he intends to write about:

"It is my desire in this book to give a comprehensive picture of LSD, its origin, its effects, and its dangers, in order to guard against increasing abuse of this extraordinary drug... I believe that if people would learn to use LSD's vision-inducing capability more wisely, under suitable conditions, in medical practice and in conjunction with meditation, then in the future this problem child could become a wonder child."

The beginning parts on his initial work with egrot alkaloids and his synthesis of LSD is probably only of interest to a chemist, but it isn't hopelessly complicated (I enjoyed that section even with my minimal understanding of chemistry). It wasn't until years after its initial founding that he was drawn back to it and discovered its psychedelic qualities. It goes on to discuss the thrill/fear of his first accidental trip and his awe of its capabilities. This book is more than just an account of events and history. Unlike typical scientific writings, it often discusses his feelings and beliefs about LSD and even his travels to other countries for personal psychedelic research. The last chapter especially deals with spirituality and the use of psychedelics.

One great quality of this book is that it is highly objective and although it includes some of Hoffman's beliefs it carefully gives both sides of the story. It basically recommends LSD only for medical or careful psychological use under professional guidance, but gives enough information and insight as to the nature of the drug, that you are free to form your own opinion.

I highly reccommend this book since it so carefully covers all aspects of LSD and other psychedelics. This may be of interest to those with or without a firm understanding of chemistry
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
All of our lives have been changed by Hofmann's discovery, regarless of whether one consumes contolled substances or not. 8 July 2006
By Timothy J. Mcallister - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
All of our lives have been changed by the inquisitive nature of Albert Hofmann. The chemical that called him back was the twenty-fifth derivative of lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD-25, or simply, LSD.

The modern age of psychiatric medications is a direct off shoot of LSD experimentation. Computer technology, particularly personal computers and `shareware', have strong roots in LSD use. LSD: My Problem Child is Albert Hofmann's own story. Using a small, but known amount, on April 19, 1943 Albert Hofmann became the first person to deliberately ingest LSD. Soon other chemists and members of the Sandoz executive staff "experimented" with Hofmann's highly unusual chemical. They realized that LSD-25 had enormous potential.

Hofmann's work with LSD brought him into the search for the active constituents of "Mexican Magic Mushrooms". These almost lost shamanistic tools made their way to Hofmann's laboratory due to their similar effects to LSD. Hofmann was able to synthesize the active components and named them psilocybin and psilocin. A large portion of LSD: My Problem Child is devoted to Hofmann's communication with authors, philosophers, and major contemporary icons (such as Timothy Leary, who Hofmann liked personally but believed was short sighted about the dangers he faced personally and the advocating of hallucinogen consumption by American youth). LSD: My Problem Child is a quick, entertaining read.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A good book, very readable and informative 28 Mar 2011
By Reluctant Badger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book made me respect Hoffman even more, because he includes a key bit of material on DMT use by South American Indians. I am a strong proponent of psychedelics (or entheogens) being usable therapeutically. But like any pharmaceutical, there can be problems, and not everyone responds biochemically in the same way. We are all mutants.

So this note about the one tribe that became hyper-violent is something I am glad he included. Hoffman was a good scientist, and like any such, he didn't shy from problems.

Overall, this is a classic, well worth having on the shelf.
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