The Substance: Albert Hofmann's LSD

Synopsis: In 1943, the year in which the first A-bomb was built, Albert Hofmann discovered LSD, a substance that was to become an A-bomb of the mind. Fractions of a milligram are enough to turn our ...
Director(s): Martin Witz
Production: Icarus Films
  1 win & 2 nominations.
90 min

I had this wondrous experience.

But I didn't know how it had happened.

All my thoughts turned into pictures.


I lay down at home in the afternoon.

And then it slowly faded away.

Watching these strange pictures

and feeling exhilarated.

And it was... a terrible experience.

Terrible because it felt as if...

I was in another world,

and I knew that I had a young family

and now I had to go away,

had to leave that beautiful world.

This was an awful,

a tormenting experience.

Fear! It was the feeling...

yes, of my being in another world,

I'm not...

This has to be the end.

I'm on the other side.

My wife came home at midnight.

And the positive phase returned.

I came back and...

then, the next day,

when I woke up, I had the feeling

of entering into a new life.

Of being reborn.

I'd already been

to the beyond, you might say.

In my consciousness,

it was almost like I'd died.

Immediately, I realized,

as others did,

that this was a tremendously

interesting substance for psychiatry.

Your psyche and your consciousness

were altered.

This was a new tool

for psychiatric research.

The substance

gradually becomes effective.


we will record brain activity.


- Ready to start.

Close your eyes.

For the first ten years,

it certainly was a wonder drug.

It was a very important resource

in psychiatry for patients.

And I was always convinced

that the real use for LSD

would still be found.

It couldn't just disappear,

that was impossible.

How is our consciousness created?

It's created by what reaches us

through our senses.

Every time we perceive something,

it makes up our consciousness.

It works via our senses.

And what LSD does,

how the whole mechanism works,

is that our senses are intensified,

tremendously intensified.

Then we see the world

in a different way.

Would you like

to break off the experiment?

LSD and psilocybin

are related in chemical structure

to natural neurotransmitters

in our brains.

They affect a part of the brain

that monitors other brain areas

by means of combination.

This is how LSD can be highly potent

even in the smallest doses.

We can establish which brain regions

these substances affect.

We can localize these

psychological alterations

and see which networks are active.

The emotional areas

responsible for fear

are, in part, muted.

Others, which are responsible

for feelings of happiness,

are heightened,

the visual level is filled internally.

So internal life

is greatly intensified.

A good trip dissolves your ego

slowly and progressively.

You become one with your environment,

you give up control

but it can be enjoyable.

You feel integrated, as one.

And this gives you

a feeling of happiness.

Time and space are abandoned,

that's my personal view,

and you flow into the experience.

You are the experience.

We call it

oceanic boundlessness.

These mushrooms were analysed,

first in America

then in Europe, Paris

to no avail:
The active ingredients

couldn't be isolated.

Then they thought,

there's that substance in Basel, LSD,

and it has the same effects.

So they asked us if we were interested

in analysing the mushrooms.

That's how LSD brought this

mushroom to my laboratory.

Natural science shows what exists,

objectively speaking.

But you still have to see it,

you have to reflect on it.

And a scientist sees secrets,

objective secrets.

And I think that a chemist

who's not a mystic

is not a real chemist.

He doesn't comprehend it.

Mr Wasson was delighted.

He told us

he'd love to take us with him

to Mexico, and show us

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Martin Witz


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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Substance: Albert Hofmann's LSD" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 17 Jun 2021. <'s_lsd_21412>.

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