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LSD: Clinical And Therapeutic Uses – Napa State Hospital Symposium – November 7, 1961 – KPFK – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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The afternoon session of an all-day symposium on Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD 25) held at Napa State Hospital, with moderator Dr. Sidney Cohen (Chief, Psychosomatic Section, Veteran’s Admininistration Hospital, Los Angeles) and panelists: Dr. Michael Agron (assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, University of California Medical Center, San Francisco), Dr. Charles Savage (research associate, Mental Research Institute, Palo Alto Medical Research Foundation), Dr. Don D. Jackson (director, Mental Research Institute, Palo Alto Medical Research foundation). Dubbed the “Clinical and therapeutic uses of LSD” (radio program), originally broadcast on KPFK November 7, 1961.
On 5th May, 1953, the novelist Aldous Huxley dissolved four-tenths of a gram of mescaline in a glass of water, drank it, then sat back and waited for the drug to take effect. Huxley took the drug in his California home under the direct supervision of psychiatrist Humphry Osmond, to whom Huxley had volunteered himself as “a willing and eager guinea pig”.
Osmond was one of a small group of psychiatrists who pioneered the use of LSD in the early 1950s. He coined the term psychedelic, meaning ‘mind manifesting’ and although his research into the therapeutic potential of LSD produced promising initial results, it was halted during the 1960s for social and political reasons.
LSD held promise for all sorts of things – in addition to the envisioned far-reaching benefits in mental health, it was also seen as a potential cure for alcoholism, which had been a social problem for decades. So promising was the research and claims that none other than the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Bill Wilson took part in clinical tests.
This symposium, clinical and somewhat dry as dust to the casual listener, nonetheless offers up an enthusiastic endorsement of LSD as a perceived “wonder drug”, and even those initial opponents of LSD were changing their opinions as more research was being undertaken.
If you’re not familiar with the history behind LSD and other hallucinogens and were under the impression its sole purpose was that of a recreational drug – there were other plans and more research to be done. But this symposium is from 1961 and only a few short years later, LSD would mean a whole different thing.
This symposium runs about 2 hours – so buckle up.
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