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Friday, 7 December 2012

Albert Hofmann

Albert Hofmann (January 11, 1906 – April 29, 2008) was a Swiss scientist known best for being the first person to synthesize, ingest, and learn of the psychedelic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Hofmann also was the first to isolate, synthesize, and name the principal psychedelic mushroom compounds, psilocybin and psilocin. He authored more than 100 scientific articles and a number of books, including LSD: My Problem Child. In 2007 he was ranked a shared first place, alongside Tim Berners-Lee, in The Telegraph's list of 100 greatest living geniuses.

Life and career

Hofmann was born in Baden, Switzerland, the first of four children to factory toolmaker Adolf Hofmann and his wife Elisabeth (born Elisabeth Schenk). Owing to his father's low income, Albert's godfather paid for his education. When his father became ill, Hofmann obtained a position as a commercial apprentice in concurrence with his studies. At the age of twenty, Hofmann began his chemistry degree at the University of Zürich, finishing three years later, in 1929.[citation needed] His main interest was the chemistry of plants and animals, and he later conducted important research on the chemical structure of the common animal substance chitin, for which he received his doctorate, with distinction, in 1930.[citation needed]
Regarding his decision to pursue a career as a chemist, Hofmann provided insight during a speech he delivered to the 1996 Worlds of Consciousness Conference in Heidelberg, Germany:
"One often asks oneself what roles planning and chance play in the realization of the most important events in our lives. [...] This [career] decision was not easy for me. I had already taken a Latin matricular exam, and therefore a career in the humanities stood out most prominently in the foreground. Moreover, an artistic career was tempting. In the end, however, it was a problem of theoretical knowledge which induced me to study chemistry, which was a great surprise to all who knew me. Mystical experiences in childhood, in which Nature was altered in magical ways, had provoked questions concerning the essence of the external, material world, and chemistry was the scientific field which might afford insights into this."

Discovery of LSD

Hofmann became an employee of the pharmaceutical-chemical department of Sandoz Laboratories (now a subsidiary of Novartis), located in Basel as a co-worker with professor Jordan Jake, founder and director of the pharmaceutical department. He began studying the medicinal plant squill and the fungus ergot as part of a program to purify and synthesize active constituents for use as pharmaceuticals. His main contribution was to elucidate the chemical structure of the common nucleus of the Scilla glycosides (an active principal of Mediterranean Squill). While researching lysergic acid derivatives, Hofmann first synthesized LSD on November 16, 1938. The main intention of the synthesis was to obtain a respiratory and circulatory stimulant (an analeptic) with no effects on the uterus in analogy to nikethamide (which is also a diethylamide) by introducing this moiety to lysergic acid. It was set aside for five years, until April 16, 1943, when Hofmann decided to reexamine it. While re-synthesizing LSD, he accidentally absorbed a small quantity through his fingertips and fortuitously discovered its powerful effects. He described what he felt as being:
... affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.

Further research

It gave me an inner joy, an open mindedness, a gratefulness, open eyes and an internal sensitivity for the miracles of creation. [...] I think that in human evolution it has never been as necessary to have this substance LSD. It is just a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be.
—Albert Hofmann, Speech on 100th birthday
Hofmann, later, was to discover 4-Acetoxy-DET (4-acetoxy-N,N-diethyltryptamine), also known as ethacetin, ethylacybin, or 4-AcO-DET, a hallucinogenic tryptamine. He first synthesized 4-AcO-DET in 1958 in the Sandoz lab. Hofmann became director of the natural products department at Sandoz and continued studying hallucinogenic substances found in Mexican mushrooms and other plants used by the aboriginal people. This led to the synthesis of psilocybin, the active agent of many "magic mushrooms." Hofmann also became interested in the seeds of the Mexican morning glory species Rivea corymbosa, the seeds of which are called Ololiuhqui by the natives. He was surprised to find the active compound of Ololiuhqui, ergine (LSA, lysergic acid amide), to be closely related to LSD.
In 1962, he and his wife Anita Hofmann (born Guanella, sister of Gustav Guanella, an important Swiss inventor) traveled to southern Mexico to search for the plant "Ska Maria Pastora" (Leaves of Mary the Shepherdess), later known as Salvia divinorum. He was able to obtain samples of this plant, but never succeeded in identifying its active compound, which has since been identified as the diterpenoid Salvinorin A.

In 1963, Hofmann attended the annual convention of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences (WAAS) in Stockholm.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) honored him with the title D.Sc. (honoris causa) in 1969 together with Gustav Guanella, his brother-in-law.
Hofmann, interviewed shortly before his hundredth birthday, called LSD "medicine for the soul" and was frustrated by the worldwide prohibition of it. "It was used very successfully for ten years in psychoanalysis," he said, adding that the drug was misused by the Counterculture of the 1960s, and then criticized unfairly by the political establishment of the day. He conceded that it could be dangerous if misused, because a relatively high dose of 500 microgrammes will have an extremely powerful psychoactive effect, especially if administered to a first-time user without adequate supervision.
In December 2007, Swiss medical authorities permitted psychotherapist Peter Gasser to perform psychotherapeutic experiments with patients who suffer from terminal-stage cancer and other deadly diseases. Although not yet started, these experiments will represent the first study of the therapeutic effects of LSD on humans in 35 years, as other studies have focused on the drug's effects on consciousness and body. Hofmann acclaimed the study, and continued to say he believed in the therapeutic benefits of LSD. In 2008, Hofmann wrote Steve Jobs, asking him to support this research; it is not known if Jobs responded.
Hofmann was due to speak at the World Psychedelic Forum from March 21 to March 24, 2008, but was forced to cancel because of bad health.

Death

Hofmann died of natural causes on April 29, 2008, in the village of Burg im Leimental, near Basel, Switzerland. He was 102 years old.


Barney's Farm - LSD

 

Cannabis Seeds Information

Cannabis Seeds Information

This cannabis seed was named LSD by the team down at Barney’s Farm, because of its potent psychedelic effects. This is a resilient seed which grows well, in various conditions, to give a high yield plant. This strain is inherently disease resistant, which is yet another benefit of this excellent specimen. When smoked, LSD produces a natural nutty or woody flavour, with undertones of saccharine musk. This is truly a special cannabis seed from Barney’s Farm, as it can produce both a fantastic yield and fantastically trippy highs. This seed is a cross between Mazar and an old skunk variety and as such inherits the true power of skunk through a dominance of indica.
Type: Indica Dominant
Genetics: Skunk #1 x Mazar
Yield: Optimum indoor. 600 g/m2
Height: 50-60 cm (indoor)
Flowering time: up to 65 days (indoor)
Harvest time: Mid September (outdoor)
THC: 24%
CBD: 1.3%
 
 £6.50 €8.05 (FEMINIZED)
 
£65.00 €80.48 *10 (FEMINIZED) 

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