Psychedelic therapy (also known as psychedelic-assisted therapy) refers to using psychedelic drugs to treat a condition, alleviate symptoms of disorder or disease, or to promote long-lasting positive change in someone's mental or emotional state.
Contemporary research into therapeutic applications of psychedelic substances like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin (naturally found in psilocybin mushrooms), MDMA, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and other substances primarily concerns their application in treating conditions like clinical depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorders such as alcoholism and opioid addiction, and emotional stress in elderly and terminally ill people nearing the end of life.
Psychedelic drugs have been used in ritual contexts and in traditional medicine practice since before the advent of written historical records. Inquiry into more formalized clinical applications of psychiatric drugs began in the mid-20th Century.
While synthesizing a batch of LSD, Albert Hofmann was accidentally exposed to the chemical compound.
Hofmann would recount the incident in a speech at the 1996 Worlds of Consciousness Conference:
"During the new repetition of the synthesis of lysergic acid diethylamide, a repetition, so to speak, grounded on a hunch, chance had the opportunity to come into play. At the conclusion of the synthesis, I was overtaken by a very weird state of consciousness, which today one might call 'psychedelic.' Although I was accustomed to scrupulously clean work, a trace of the substance must accidentally have entered my body, probably during the purification via recrystallization."
After accidentally dosing himself on April 16, Hoffman decided to intentionally dose himself with LSD again on April 19th to confirm that it caused psychedelic effects.
He dosed himself with 250 micrograms and soon felt the effects. Deciding it was better to go home than have a psychedelic experience in his chemistry lab, Hofmann opts to go home. Due to restrictions on using cars during World War II, Hofmann rode his bicycle home, which he thought was a safer venue to experience the psychedelic effects of LSD.
April 19th is recognized as an unofficial holiday called Bicycle Day by members of the psychedelic community.
David E. Nichols
Psychedelics Inc. - The Startup - Medium
April 28, 2020
The history of psychedelics and psychotherapy - Timeline
January 14, 2016