Frescos of mushroom-holding shamans were depicted in caves on the Tassili plateau of Northern Algeria.
Image source: Pinterest user Algerie
~ 2000 BCE
Ergot may have been used to make the potion called kykeon, used in the Eleusinian Mysteries.
A mural from Teotihuacán, Mexico, depicted a Mother Goddess with her priests and a vine of ololiuqui (Turbina corymbosa).
Late 8th century
A burial site in Northern Chile included a bag with snuffing paraphernalia and snuff remnants containing DMT and 5-MeO-DMT.
Johannes Thalius described ergot in Sylva Hercynica.
The first English language appearance of the term “conscious” appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary. It was defined as “inwardly sensible or aware.”
The first proper botanical description of peyote was made by Francisco Hernández.
Francisco Hernández identified ololiuqui as a morning glory. He described it and discussed its medical uses, its value as an aphrodisiac and its ceremonial use by priests.
The first illustration of ergot was drawn by Swiss botanist Bauhin’s son.
A Polish prisoner of war described the Ob-Ugrian Ostyak culture from western Siberia. “They eat certain fungi in the shape of fly agarics, and thus they become drunk worse than on vodka, and for them, that’s the very best banquet.”
Late 17th century
A Spanish missionary in Nayarit provided the first account of a peyote ritual practiced by the Cora tribe.
While exploring the Amazon, English ethnobotanist Richard Spruce observed the Tukano Indians of the Rio Uapes in Brazil engaging in a visionary ritual involving drinking tea made from the ayahuasca vine. He drank a small amount of the tea. He named the vine Banisteria caapi and sent samples home for chemical analysis. This is the earliest known western record of the psychoactive effects of ayahuasca.
Geographer Manuel Villavicencio published his experiences drinking ayahuasca in Geografia de la Republica Del Ecuador. He described his experience of “flying” to marvelous places.
Peyote was classified as Lophophora williamsii.
Two early experience reports describing the effects of a peyote extract were published in The British Medical Journal
Stropharia cubensis was described by Franklin Earle in a Cuban agronomy journal.
1914: September 18th
A firsthand experience report of ingesting psilocybin mushrooms was published in Science magazine.
James Mooney, a Smithsonian Institute archeologist who traveled through Oklahoma in 1891 participating in various peyote ceremonies, became convinced of the need to unite the Indians and protect their legal right to worship with peyote. He wrote the charter and incorporated the Native American Church.
A film of South American yage ceremonies was shown at the annual meeting of the American Pharmaceutical Association.
Over a dozen states outlawed possession of peyote, largely as an anti-Native American statement.
Roberto J. Weitlaner’s daughter, Irmgard, along with anthropologist Jean Basset Johnson and two others were the first Caucasians to attend a mushroom ceremony in Huatla, Oaxaca.
Harvard botanist Richard E. Schultes and Blas Reko traveled to Oaxaca and obtained mushroom specimens of two different genera: Panaeolus sphinctrinus, and Stropharia cubensis. The specimens were housed in the Harvard herbarium.
During an expedition in Mexico, anthropologist Jean Johnson learned that the Mazatecs drank a “tea” for divination. It was made from the beaten leaves of the “hierba Maria” plant, which was probably Salvia divinorum.
Richard Evans Schultes published a paper describing teonanacatl as a specific psilocybin-containing mushroom.
1943: April 16th
“A peculiar presentiment – the feeling that this substance could possess properties other than those established in the first investigations – induced me, five years after the first synthesis, to produce LSD-25 once again so that a sample could be given to the pharmacological department for further tests.” Albert Hofmann accidentally absorbed a small amount of LSD. This was the first human experience with LSD-25.
1943: June 12th
Twenty-one-year-old Susi Ramstein was the first woman to take LSD. She initially took 100 μg and had a good experience. Susi was Hofmann’s lab assistant, and she accompanied him from Sandoz to his home via bicycle on the day that Hofmann took his first dose of LSD.
The US Navy Technical Mission reported that the Germans were conducting mescaline experiments on prisoners at the Nazi concentration camp in Dachau.
Sandoz Laboratories marketed LSD under the name Delysid as a psychiatric drug to be used for treating a wide variety of mental disorders. Sandoz provided researchers with free supplies of LSD. In its marketing literature, Sandoz suggested that psychiatrists take LSD to gain a better subjective understanding of the schizophrenic experience, and many did.
The first article on the mental effects of LSD was published by Werner Stoll in the Swiss Archives of Neurology.
The U.S. Navy initiated Project Chatter. At the Medical Research Institute in Bethesda Maryland, Dr. Charles Savage gave subjects mescaline to determine if it could be used as a truth serum.
The first American article about LSD appeared in Diseases of the Nervous System, where it was suggested that LSD might be useful as an aid to psychotherapy.
Captain Al Hubbard first took LSD. He was the first person to emphasize LSD’s potential as a visionary or transcendental drug. He also pioneered the use of a comfortable treatment room that featured evocative pictures, flowers and music. His life’s mission was to introduce LSD to as many people as possible. He travelled with a leather case containing pharmaceutically pure LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin. Over a 20 year period, Hubbard conducted LSD sessions at the Hollywood Hospital; with Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. Humphry Osmond; with Myron Stolaroff at the International Federation for Advanced Study and at the Stanford Research Institute. Ironically, Hubbard also worked for the Canadian Special Services, the U.S. Justice Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He introduced more than 6,000 people to LSD, including scientists, politicians, intelligence officials, diplomats, and church figures. He was known as “Captain Trips” and the “Johnny Appleseed of LSD.”
Dr. Charles Savage published the first study of the use of LSD to treat depression.
Dr. Humphry Osmond and Dr. Abram Hoffer began treating alcoholics with LSD and mescaline at Weyburn Hospital in Saskatchewan, Canada. Treatment involved a single high dose of LSD as an adjunct to psychotherapy. They reported abstinence rates of 50%.
Anthropologist Roberto Weitlaner reported the use of “hierba de María” by the Mazatecs in the Oaxacan village of Jalapa de Díaz. The shaman prepared a leaf infusion, which the patient drank. Fifteen minutes after ingesting the potion, the patient would go into a semi-delirious trance and from his speech the shaman diagnosed and treated the ailment.
Dr. Ronald Sandison opened the first LSD clinic at Powick Hospital in England. His “psycholytic” treatment used low to medium doses of LSD over repeated sessions as an adjunct to psychoanalysis.
The CIA began operation MK-Ultra, in which unwitting subjects in the United States were given LSD.
To assess LSD’s use as a non-lethal incapacitant, the United States Army Chemical Corp Army began administering LSD to civilian volunteers and servicemen at Edgewood Arsenal , Fort Bragg, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Benning, Fort Leavenworth and Dugway Proving Ground.
William Burroughs visited the Amazon and drank ayahuasca.
Amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson visited Oaxaca Mexico and sat in on a mushroom ritual.
1953: May 6th
Aldous Huxley took 400 mg of mescaline under the supervision of Dr. Humphry Osmond. Huxley commented, “It was without question the most extraordinary and significant experience this side of the Beatific Vision.”
The Eli Lilly Company in Indianapolis began manufacturing LSD.
Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception was published. In it he described his experience with mescaline.
The first detailed description and specific identification of the genus Virola was published as well as its preparation and use among Colombian Indians. Virola contains DMT and 5-MeO-DMT.
In Los Angeles, psychiatrist Dr. Oscar Janiger administered LSD to patients to determine the subjective nature of the LSD experience. When his research concluded in 1962, he had administered LSD to approximately 900 patients.
The first conferences focusing on LSD and mescaline took place in Atlantic City and Princeton, N.J.
Under the supervision of Captain Al Hubbard, Aldous Huxley took LSD.
DMT and 5-MeO DMT were identified as the active chemicals in the Anadenanthera peregrina seeds used to make cohoba snuff. This marked the first time these chemicals were discovered occurring naturally in plants.
1955: June 29th
R. Gordon Wasson and Allan Richardson were the first two Americans to ingest mushrooms at a ritual. They did so under the supervision of Maria Sabina. The ritual and the mushrooms were popularized by Wassons’ book Mushrooms, Russia and History.
Dr. Stanislav Grof first took 250 μg of LSD.
R. Gordon Wasson invited French mycologist Roger Heim to Oaxaca to research the use of sacred mushrooms. He identified 14 species and several subspecies belonging to three genera, Psilocybe, Stropharia, and Conocybe. Many of these were new to mycology.
Stephen Szára injected DMT and became the first person to describe its psychedelic properties. His subsequent research publicized DMT’s properties to the rest of the world.
In a letter to Aldous Huxley, Dr. Humphry Osmond wrote, “To fathom hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic.” Thus, he coined the term “psychedelic”, meaning mind-manifesting. Previously, the drugs were erroneously called psychotomimetic or hallucinogenic. Osmond and Abram Hoffer employed the term to describe their use of a single high dose of LSD as an adjunct to psychotherapy.
Mexican botanist Arturo Gómez Pompa collected specimens of a hallucinogenic Salvia plant he described as “xka [sic] Pastora”. He could not identify the sage at the species level.
The definitive description of the chemical structure of ibogaine was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
1957: May 13th
Life magazine published a story on Psilocybe mexicana written by R. Gordon and Valentina Wasson. The article was instrumental in popularizing psychedelics in America.
Albert Hofmann isolated and determined the structure of the two active agents in mushrooms. He named them psilocybin and psilocin.
Alan Watts was invited to test the mystical qualities of 100 µg of LSD-25 by Dr. Keith Ditman of the Neuropsychiatric Clinic at UCLA Medical School. Watts stated, “Indeed, my first experiment with LSD-25 was not mystical.” Several months later in 1959, Watts tried LSD-25 again with Drs. Sterling Bunnell and Michael Agron of the Langley-Porter Clinic, in San Francisco. He reported, “In the course of two experiments I was amazed and somewhat embarrassed to find myself going through states of consciousness that corresponded precisely with every description of major mystical experiences that I had ever read.”
Allen Ginsberg took LSD at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California.
Produced by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, the First International Conference on LSD Therapy was held in Princeton, NJ.
Albert Hofmann published the synthesis of psilocybin.
In an interview with syndicated columnist Joe Hyams, Cary Grant extolled the wonders and benefits of LSD therapy. The interview was published in several popular magazines, creating a surge in demand for LSD therapy.
Sandoz Pharmaceutical began producing psilocybin pills. Each pill contained 2 mg of psilocybin.
Ken Kesey volunteered as an experimental subject at the Veterans Hospital in Menlo Park, where he was given LSD, mescaline, Ditran and AMT.
Arizona Judge Yale McFate ruled that Native Americans were guaranteed access to peyote under the First and Fourteenth amendments.
1960: April 2nd
Alexander Shulgin ingested 400mg of mescaline sulfate for the first time. The experience “unquestionably confirmed the entire direction of my life”. He would go on to create over 200 new psychedelic compounds.
Dr. Timothy Leary ate magic mushrooms in Cuernavaca, Mexico. He stated, “It was above all and without question the deepest religious experience of my life.” During the same year he tried synthetic psilocybin and obtained some from Sandoz in order to experiment on prisoners in Concord State Prison, Massachusetts. Dr. Richard Alpert assisted him.
Dr. Timothy Leary, Dr. Ralph Metzner and Dr. Richard Alpert started the Harvard Psilocybin Project. They gave psilocybin to graduate students and many volunteers including Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and Aldous Huxley.
1960 – 1967
Stan Grof was the Principal Investigator in a psychedelic research program at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He conducted over 4000 LSD therapy sessions.
In Tangiers, William Burroughs took mescaline under Timothy Leary’s supervision. Burrough’s stated, “No good, no bueno.”
Timothy Leary tried LSD that was given to him by Michael Hollingshead. Leary described the trip as “the most shattering experience of my life”.
Dr. Ralph Metzner and Dr. Richard Alpert tried LSD for the first time. LSD became part of Leary’s, Alpert’s and Metzner’s research repertoire at Harvard.
Electrical engineers Myron Stolaroff, and Willis Harman formed the International Foundation for Advanced Study in Menlo Park, California. The foundation’s mission was to explore the potential of LSD to enhance human personality and creativity in healthy people. 350 people experienced guided LSD sessions before the foundation closed in 1966.
1961: July 12th
R. Gordon Wasson drank tea made from the juice of 34 pairs of “ska Pastora” leaves. He noted that the effects came on much faster than mushrooms, but they lasted a much shorter time. He reported seeing only, “dancing colors in elaborate, three-dimensional designs.”
In an expedition organized by R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann visited Maria Sabina with a bottle of psilocybin pills synthesized by Sandoz (under brand name Indocybin). Maria tried them and was pleased that she could now experience the effects even when mushrooms were not available.
Congress passed new drug safety regulations and the FDA designated LSD as an experimental drug and restricted research. Sandoz restricted LSD sales. Underground chemists began producing LSD.
Sterling Bunnel brought the first live Salvia plants to the United States from Huautla de Jiménez. Cuttings from this sample were widely propagated and disseminated.
1962: October 9th
R. Gordon Wasson and Anita Hofmann, wife of Albert Hofmann, drank juice of Salvia leaves. Mrs. Hofmann “saw striking, brightly bordered images.” Two days later, Albert Hofmann tried the leaves and found himself “in a state of mental sensitivity and intense experience, which, however, was not accompanied by hallucinations.”
Wasson and Hofmann collected flowering samples of Salvia for identification. Carl Epling and colleagues identified it as a novel species and gave it the name Salvia divinorum.
1962 – 1963
Howard Lotsof conducted experiments on ibogaine’s use in the treatment of cocaine and heroin addiction.
LSD first appeared on the streets as sugar cubes.
Articles about LSD appeared in Look and The Saturday Evening Post.
Timothy Leary was fired from Harvard for leaving Cambridge and his classes without permission or notice. Richard Alpert was fired from Harvard for giving psilocybin to an undergraduate.
Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert and Ralph Metzner created the International Foundation for Internal Freedom and set up offices in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. Later that summer, IFIF moved its headquarters to Zihuatanejo, Mexico. They were kicked out of Mexico six weeks later.
Leary, Alpert, Metzner and their associates rented a mansion in Millbrook, New York from Billy Hitchcock. IFIF disbanded and the group formed the Castalia Foundation.
1963: November 22nd
Aldous Huxley was dying of cancer. He wrote a note to his wife Laura, asking her to inject him with 100 μg of LSD. She did. Several hours later, he died serenely.
Ken Kesey bought a bus, named it “Further”, and travelled across the country with the Merry Pranksters. The Pranksters visited Leary’s group at Millbrook but received a cool, disappointing reception from the members.
DOM was first synthesized by Alexander Shulgin.
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert’s The Psychedelic Experience (based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead) was published. They defined and emphasized the importance of “set” and “setting.”
Owsley Stanley took LSD for the first time.
The first published analysis of the venom of the Sonoran Desert toad (Bufo alvarius) appeared in Experientia. Up to 15% of the venom consists of 5-MeO-DMT.
Owsley Stanley set up his first LSD lab in Berkeley. His product soon hit the streets of San Francisco.
1965: February 21st
Owsley’s lab was raided and his equipment was confiscated. The police were looking for methedrine or LSD, but found only precursors. Owsley beat the charges and successfully sued for the return of his equipment.
Owsley moved to Los Angeles and set up a new lab.
Owsley produced 300,000 hits of LSD (250 μg each).
Ken Kesey invited the Hell’s Angels to La Honda, California. They met the Merry Pranksters, tried LSD and partied peacefully for two days.
Ken Kesey created the “Acid Test” events to popularize LSD.
Dr. Alexander Shulgin synthesized MDMA.
DMT became a Schedule I drug.
The complete synthesis of ibogaine was published by Professor George Buchi.
Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters conducted the Trips Festival in San Francisco.
1966: March 25th
Life published a cover article on LSD. “LSD: The Exploding Threat of the Mind Drug that Got Out of Control”.
Sandoz Pharmaceutical recalled the LSD it had previously distributed and withdrew its sponsorship for work with LSD.
1966: April 16th
G. Gordon Liddy raided the Millbrook colony.
1966: September 19th
Timothy Leary founded the League for Spiritual Discovery, a religion declaring LSD as its holy sacrament.
1966: October 6th
LSD became illegal in California.
1966: October 16th
The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, founded by John Griggs and Michael Randall, was established as a tax-exempt religious entity, with LSD as its sacrament. The group’s mission was to turn the world on to the benefits of LSD. For the remainder of the ‘60s and early 70s, with their chemists Tim Scully and Nick Sand, the Brotherhood was the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of LSD.
Owsley set up a lab in Point Richmond, CA and Tim Scully became his apprentice. The lab produced more than 300,000 tablets (250 μg each) of LSD, dubbed “White Lightning”.
1967: January 14th
The first Human Be-in occurred in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Timothy Leary exhorted the crowd to “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”
Tim Scully set up a lab in Denver. Scully made the LSD while Owsley put the product into tablets in Orinda, California. They produced “Blue Cheer” and “Monterey Purple” LSD and DOM (STP). The lab was raided by police who confiscated 350,000 doses of LSD and 1,500 doses of DOM. Owsley was tried and found guilty. Owsley’s total production of LSD has been estimated to be 4,000,000 doses.
DOM (STP) first appeared on the streets of San Francisco. It came in 20mg tablets, four times more potent than Shulgin’s recommended dosage. 5000 doses were given away at the Human Be-In. Hundreds of people experienced extreme trips lasting up to three days, with many ending up in the hospital.
Carlos Castaneda’s The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge was published.
The Millbrook commune disbands.
Richard Alpert traveled to India where he met the spiritual teacher, Neem Karoli Baba. Under his guru’s guidance, he studied yoga and meditation and received the name Ram Dass, or “servant of God.”
A more comprehensive study of the Sonoran Desert toad and 5-MeO-DMT appeared in Biochemical Pharmacology.
In San Francisco, it was The Summer of Love.
Tim Scully set up a second LSD lab in Denver.
R. Gordon Wasson’s Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality was published. He contended that Soma was Amanita muscaria.
Timothy Leary’s High Priest was published.
Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test was published.
Holmstedt, Lindgren and Agurell hypothesized that the effects of ayahuasca are caused by a combination of a naturally occurring monoamine oxidase inhibitor and DMT.
1968: Oct 24th
Possession of ibogaine was banned in the U.S.
Tim Scully set up an LSD lab in Windsor, CA and began production. Nick Sand assisted him and learned the production process. They produced 3.6 million doses (330 μg each) of Orange Sunshine, the most popular brand of LSD of all time.
The mysterious Ronald Stark visited the Brotherhood at their Idylwood ranch. He presented them with a kilo of pure LSD. He said that he ran a large French LSD lab, with his British chemist Richard Kemp. He asked the Brothers to distribute his product. He also offered to provide them with the precursors needed for their own manufacturing. The Brothers partnered with him. Soon, Stark would become their banker and money manager and he would oversee the production aspect of their LSD operation.
Owsley was imprisoned from 1970 to 1972.
Timothy Leary was convicted of marijuana possession and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Ronald Stark and Richard Kemp set up an elaborate network for distributing their product. During the mid-70s, Stark and Kemp succeeded the Brotherhood of Eternal Love as the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of LSD.
Blotter LSD hit the streets.
Leonard Eros’s A Key to the North American Psilocybin Mushroom was published, instructing laypersons how to obtain psilocybin mushrooms in nature.
Windowpane acid was first reported in the U.S. by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
The first case report of recreational MDMA use was published.
Timothy Leary escaped from prison by climbing along a telephone wire over the wall. The Brotherhood of Eternal Love paid the Weathermen $25,000 to pick up Leary and help him travel to Algeria.
1970: October 27th
LSD, psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, peyote, cannabis and MDA became Schedule I drugs.
Terence McKenna first tried psilocybin mushrooms.
DMT became a Schedule I drug.
Ram Dass’s Be Here Now was published.
Dr. Ralph Metzner’s Maps of Consciousness was published.
Ronald Stark shut down his French LSD lab. Several months later, he opened a lab in Brussels.
1971: September 3rd
Albert Hofmann and Timothy Leary met in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Several members of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love were convicted of distributing LSD and the group essentially disbanded. But the major players eluded arrest and went underground.
Julius Axelrod of the National Institutes of Health discovered that DMT occurs naturally in human brain tissue.
Ronald Stark and Richard Kemp parted ways. Kemp set up a lab in England and began manufacturing LSD.
Authorities raided Ronald Stark’s LSD lab in Brussels. Stark was not apprehended. It has been estimated that between 1969 and 1972, Stark produced twenty kilos of LSD. That would be the largest amount of LSD ever produced by one underground individual.
Timothy Leary was arrested by DEA agents in Afghanistan and returned to prison in California.
1973: September 21st
DOM became a Schedule I drug.
2C-B was first synthesized by Alexander Shulgin.
Tim Scully was convicted of running the Windsor lab and received a 20 year sentence.
Nick Sand was convicted of running the Windsor lab and was sentenced to 15 years, but he jumped bail and relocated to Canada, where he set up a new lab.
Jonathan Ott and Jose Luis Diaz observed people smoking dried Salvia divinorum leaves in Mexico City. This was the first report of the leaves being smoked.
The first specimens of Stropharia cubensis appeared on the streets.
Stan Grof’s Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research was published.
Italian police arrested and incarcerated Ronald Stark for possession of 4600 kilos of marijuana, morphine and cocaine.
1975: June 25th
Alexander Shulgin first ingested 2C-B and described it as “beautifully active”.
Alexander Shulgin first took MDMA. He developed a new synthesis method and introduced the chemical to Leo Zeff, a psychologist from Oakland, California. Zeff used the substance in his practice in small doses as an aid to psychotherapy. Zeff introduced the substance to hundreds of psychologists and lay therapists around the nation.
Terence and Dennis McKenna’s The Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide was published. They suggested the extraterrestrial origin of Stropharia cubensis.
1976: April 21st
Timothy Leary was released from prison.
MDMA appeared on the streets.
Tim Scully was incarcerated from 1977 – 1980.
An investigation called Operation Julie resulted in the arrest of Richard Kemp and 120 members of his network. Six million doses of LSD were seized in the raid. All of the LSD later disappeared, prompting speculation that the police may have sold it. Kemp was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Sixteen members of his network also received prison terms.
Alexander Shulgin and David Nichols published the first report on the subjective effects of MDMA in human subjects in The Psychopharmacology of Hallucinogens.
Albert Hofmann’s LSD: My Problem Child was published.
Richard Evans Schultes and Albert Hofmann’s Plants of the Gods was published.
Ronald Stark was released from Italian prison and promptly disappeared.
Stanislav Grof’s LSD Psychotherapy was published.
Ronald Stark was arrested and incarcerated in Holland for trafficking hash, cocaine and heroin.
In the Journal of the Chemical Society, Ortega, Blount and Manchand published a paper describing their isolation of a novel compound from Salvia divinorum, which they called salvinorin.
1982: August 31st
Captain Al Hubbard died.
Ronald Stark was deported to the United States. He spent a few months in a San Francisco jail until charges against him were dropped.
Albert Most’s Bufo Alvarius, the Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert was published. It provided detailed instructions for collecting and drying the venom for smoking.
In the Journal of Organic Chemistry, Valdes, Butler and Hatfield identified two Salvia divinorum derivatives which they called divinorin A and B. Divinorin A was found to be identical to Ortega’s salvinorin, so the compounds were re-named salvinorin A and B.
Ronald Stark died.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Howard Lotsof a patent for using ibogaine as an ultra-rapid opioid detox.
Acid Dreams by Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain was published.
Rick Doblin founded the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). It continues to support and conduct pioneering research demonstrating the safety and enhanced benefits of LSD, psilocybin and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.
Jay Steven’s Storming Heaven was published.
1988: March 23rd
MDMA became a Schedule I drug.
Federal agents raided William Pickard’s lab in Mountain View, California and seized 200,000 doses of LSD. He was found guilty of manufacturing LSD and served five years in prison.
Dr. Rick Strassman began five years of DEA-approved clinical research at the University of New Mexico, where he administered DMT to 60 volunteers.
Alexander and Ann Shulgin’s Pihkal was published.
Terence McKenna’s Food of the Gods was published.
David Nichols, a chemist and pharmacologist launched the Heffter Research Institute, which continues to support and fund psychedelic research.
1994: October 27th
The DEA raided Alexander Shulgin’s laboratory. They revoked his license to work with Schedule I drugs. Shulgin was fined $25,000, which was eventually paid by public donations.
1995: Paul Stamets published the first description of Psilocybe azurescens, the largest and most potent Psilocybe mushroom. A group of Boy Scouts first discovered the species in 1979 near Astoria, Oregon.
1995: June 2nd
2C-B became a Schedule I drug.
The Erowid on-line psychoactive archive was founded by Earth and Fire Erowid.
Nick Sand was arrested in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. His lab produced assorted psychedelics and he had 43 grams of LSD, enough for 143,333 doses (300 μg each) on site. Sand was incarcerated from 1996 through late 2000.
1996: May 31st
Timothy Leary died.
Alexander and Ann Shulgin’s Tihkal was published.
1997: September - 1999: August
William Pickard operated an LSD lab in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He produced a kilogram of LSD (10 million doses) every five weeks.
In the UK, Amanda Fielding created the Beckley Foundation. Its mission is to pioneer psychedelic research and advocate for evidence-based drug policy reform.
Swiss neuroscientist Franz Vollenweider demonstrated that LSD and psilocybin affect the brain by binding with the 5-HT2A serotonin receptor.
Dr. Roland Griffiths initiated a research program at Johns Hopkins University investigating the effects of psilocybin. His research includes studies of psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experiences in healthy volunteers; psilocybin-facilitated treatment of psychological distress in cancer patients; psilocybin-facilitated treatment of cigarette smoking cessation; and psilocybin effects on religious leaders.
In the journal Synthesis, David Nichols published an improved method for synthesizing psilocybin.
2000: April 3rd
Terence McKenna died.
Gordon Skinner, an associate of William Pickard and Clyde Apperson, moved their LSD lab to his Atlas-E missile silo near Wamego, Kansas without their knowledge. Skinner was a DEA informant. He took DEA agents inside the silo and they found an LSD lab packed in storage boxes. When Pickard and Apperson learned that Skinner had transferred the lab to the silo, they began to move it.
2000: November 6th
Pickard and Apperson were moving the lab when they were stopped by the Kansas Highway Patrol. Their vehicles were searched, revealing lab equipment and ergotamine tartrate. Later, the DEA busted the lab and reportedly found 91 pounds of LSD and over 200 pounds of precursors. It is likely that these figures were exaggerated. The DEA claimed that this was the largest LSD lab seizure ever made.
Dr. Rick Strassman’s DMT: The Spirit Molecule was published.
2001: January 16th
Dr. Marcus Raichle, a professor at Washington University in St Louis, first described the brain’s Default Mode Network in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Possession and sale of psilocybin mushrooms became legal in the U.K.
Casey Hardison moved to Brighton, England and began manufacturing LSD, 2C-B and DMT.
In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Roth, Baner and Westkaemper revealed that salvinorin A is a highly selective kappa-opioid agonist.
William Pickard and Clyde Apperson were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute more than 10 grams of LSD and one count of possession with the intent to distribute more than 10 grams of LSD. Pickard was sentenced to two life sentences without parole and Clyde Apperson was sentenced to 30 years without parole.
Casey Hardison mailed packages containing MDMA to the United States. The packages were opened in a routine inspection by postal workers. The British authorities began monitoring him.
The documentary Ibogaine: Rite of Passage was released.
Other Worlds, a documentary exploring ayahuasca shamanism, was released.
Casey Hardison was arrested. Police raided his house and found a lab, a refrigerator full of precursors and 145,000 doses of LSD. He was charged with three counts of drug production, two counts of possession, and one of exportation.
2005: March 18th
Casey Hardison was found guilty of three counts of producing psychedelic drugs, one count of possessing 145,000 doses of LSD, one count of possession, and one count of smuggling drugs to the USA.
2005: April 22nd
Casey Hardison was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
2005: July 18th
Psilocybin mushrooms became illegal in the U.K.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the UDV, a Christian religious group that uses ayahuasca as its sacrament, could import the drink to the United States.
Dr. Roland Griffith’s landmark paper, “Psilocybin Can Occasion Mystical-Type Experiences Having Substantial and Sustained Personal Meaning and Spiritual Significance” was published in Psychopharmacology.
Survey results published in Neurology showed that psilocybin mushrooms and LSD may reduce the severity and frequency of cluster headaches.
The documentary Entheogen was released.
2008: April 29th
Albert Hofmann died.
At Imperial College in London, Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris founded the Psychedelic Research Group. The group’s ongoing research focuses on the action of psychedelic drugs in the brain, and the utility of using psychedelic drugs as aids to psychotherapy.
Manifesting the Mind, a documentary examining psychedelics and shamanism, was released.
The documentary Metamorphosis: The Ayahausca Ceremony of the Amazon was released.
Dirty Pictures, a documentary exploring the life and work of chemist Alexander Shulgin, was released.
The documentary DMT: The Spirit Molecule was released.
Nicholas Schou’s Orange Sunshine was published.
Hamilton Morris’s Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia series premiered on television.
The documentary The Substance: Albert Hofmann’s LSD was released.
The results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation examining the safety and efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for advanced-cancer anxiety were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Dr. Charles Grob led the research at Harbor- UCLA Medical Center. Twelve subjects tolerated the experimental treatment without adverse effects. A single dose of psilocybin led to sustained improvement in mood and outlook for up to six months.
2011: March 12th
Owsley Stanley died.
Promising results of the first randomized controlled pilot study to test the safety and efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
MAPS initiated the Zendo Project. It is a psychedelic harm reduction service that provides peer support and specialized care for people who are having challenging psychedelic experiences at international festivals and events. Volunteers de-escalate difficult situations, preventing unnecessary psychiatric hospitalizations, arrests, and trauma. Since its founding, it has assisted over 4,000 people.
Rhoney Gissen Stanley and Tom Davis’s Owsley and Me was published.
The documentary Aya: Awakenings was released.
The documentary Neurons to Nirvana: Understanding Psychedelic Medicines was released.
2013: May 29th
After serving nine years of his sentence, the United Kingdom released Casey Hardison from prison and deported him to the U.S.
In Switzerland, Dr. Peter Gasser conducted a government-approved study of the effects of LSD (200 μg) on patients with life-threatening illnesses and anxiety disorder. The researchers found a reduction in anxiety from the LSD therapy sessions.
2014: June 2nd
Alexander Shulgin died.
2014: October 29th
Using a scanning technique that displays the electrical activity in the brain, Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris and his team at Imperial College produced a map of the brain’s internal communications. During normal consciousness (left), the brain’s various networks communicate primarily with themselves, with little communication across networks. Under the influence of psilocybin (right), thousands of new connections form across networks, resulting in a more integrated brain.
The documentary A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin was released.
The California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco became the first graduate school to provide training leading to a certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research.
The documentary of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, Orange Sunshine, was released.
Robert Greenfield’s Bear was published.
The first images of the human brain on LSD were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris led the Buckley/Imperial Research Programme. The results indicated that LSD suppresses the Default Mode Network, causing a dramatic increase in communication between brain networks that are normally segregated. Under favorable conditions, this can lead to ego dissolution.
The results of research on the efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for advanced-cancer anxiety and depression were published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. Dr. Stephen Ross led the research at NYU Langone Medical Center. The study showed that one-time treatment with psilocybin quickly brought relief from anxiety and depression that lasted for more than 6 months in 80% of the 29 study subjects monitored.
The Sunshine Makers, a documentary about LSD chemists Tim Scully and Nick Sand was released.
2017: April 24th
Nick Sand died.
Research being conducted by MAPS on MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD was granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA. The FDA approved the MAPS protocol for Phase 3 clinical trials.
Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind was published.
The journal Psychological Medicine published the results of the first randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study of ayahuasca to treat depression. At Brazil’s Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, 29 patients drank either ayahuasca or a placebo. One day after treatment, significant decreases in depression and anxiety were reported by 50% of all patients. One week later, 64% of the patients who drank ayahuasca still reported a decrease in depression. Only 27% of the patients in the placebo group reported decreased depression.
2018: June 12th
The results of research led by Dr. David Olsen at the University of California, Davis were published in Cell Reports. LSD and DMT applied to the neuronal tissue of flies and rats increased the number of dendrites, the density of dendritic spines, and the number of synapses. These structural changes suggest that psychedelics may be capable of repairing the circuits that are malfunctioning in people with mood and anxiety disorders.
Timeline created by Tom Frame, MFT firstname.lastname@example.org