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The role of drugs on the popular culture of the 1960s

LSD (Acid)

Lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD helped make the sixties what it was.
The people who were questioning the system needed to find a new light to look upon things. Their solution was to explore psychedelics. The most common was LSD, a chemical discovered in 1943 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann. LSD let people look at things with the different angle their psychidelic trance allowed them.
LSD was originally available in tablet form, but once it was declared illegal, it was mainly used in one of the following ways:

Other LSD references:

LSD pictures: Beavis and Butt-head blotter acid; the stuctural diagram of LSD-25.


Marijuana, a drug with many nicknames, has been used by humans for thousands of years. It can be consumed in countless methods.
Some of the more popular methods:
During the sixties, as people were trying to find new ways to explore pleasure and ways of bringing it about, marijuana became an obvious choice. Despite the fact that it was illegal, many people were willing to try this amazing substance.
Marijuana is a weed, hence the nickname "weed", and as such, is currently native to all continents on the planet but Antarctica; and who knows, a researcher down there might be doing a few "hydroponic" experiments.
Although marijuana is not a mind altering drug like a psychedelic, it was also eagerly sought out for a good "buzz".
Marijuana has been very popular in recent history, and every since the 1960s, has been a common part of our society as a whole.

Marijuana references:

Marijuana images: vegetative growth leaf, dried bud, structural diagram of the active ingredient (THC).

Magic Mushrooms

For thousands of years, less developed cultures have been experimenting with psychedelic mushrooms. The people felt that by tripping, they could have better contact with their deities.
Most of the more common psychedelic mushrooms in use in the current era belong to the genus Psilocybe, with the most popular individual species probably being Psilocybe Cubensis. Psilocybes contain the active ingredient psilocybin, which produces a hallucinogenic response when ingested. Some of the more common methods of ingestion:
During the sixties, many people experimented with mushrooms in addition to other, stronger psychedelics to help them get a new perspective on their world.
But this was not the first time people had experimented with psychedelics to a large degree. Archaeological evidence has proven that psychedelic mushrooms were used at least 5500 years ago in Algeria, and it is well known that most of the major new world cultures experimented in some way. In fact, some psychedelics are still used in American Indian religious ceremonies.
The famous Aztec statue of Xochipilli shows him to be in a psychedelic state. It cannot be stated as a matter of fact what he is supposed to be tripping on, but it is most likely mushrooms or a cactus psychedelic like mescaline or peyote.

Mushroom references

Mushroom images: P. cubensis, chemical structure of psilocybin, Xochipilli

Other Information

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Page URL: http://www.d.umn.edu /cla/faculty/tbacig/cst3010/drugs.html
© 1996: Tom Bacig & Christopher M. House, University of Minnesota, Duluth. This web page is maintained by Tom Bacig, and was last updated Wednesday, 04-Sep-2002 16:52:40 CDT Send comments to tbacig@d.umn.edu.

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