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LSD doctor dies
    #2341741 - 02/16/04 04:50 PM (17 years, 11 months ago)


LSD doctor dies

The Province

Monday, February 16, 2004

The man who turned Weyburn, Sask., into an epicentre of research into the mind-bending possibilities of the drug LSD has died at age 86. Dr. Humphry Osmond was the local hospital's superintendent and director of research when he administered mescaline to the writer Aldous Huxley in 1953. Based on Huxley's experience with that drug and LSD, the pair coined the term psychedelic, meaning literally "mind-manifesting."

Osmond had started his research into LSD in England, shocking the medical establishment there when he and a colleague suggested that schizophrenia might be a form of self-intoxication caused by the body producing its own LSD-like compounds. Frustrated by doctors' resistance to that thesis, Osmond moved to Canada to continue his research before ultimately settling in the U.S.

Obituary of Dr. Humphry Osmond


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It's the psychedelic movement!
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Re: LSD doctor dies [Re: motaman]
    #2342826 - 02/16/04 08:38 PM (17 years, 11 months ago)

:sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad:



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Re: LSD doctor dies [Re: motaman]
    #2345304 - 02/17/04 01:00 PM (17 years, 11 months ago)


Dr Humphry Osmond
(Filed: 16/02/2004)

Dr Humphry Osmond, the psychiatrist who has died aged 86, coined the term "psychedelic" to describe the mind-altering substances LSD and mescalin, and introduced Aldous Huxley to these drugs; in 1953 he administered 400 mg of mescalin to Huxley, an episode described in the novelist's cult book The Doors of Perception (1954).

Osmond had become interested in d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) after reading the Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman's description of the psychological and behavioural effects of the drug. Having noticed that LSD seemed to mimic the symptoms of early schizophrenia, Osmond had been investigating its use in the treatment of mental illness and alchoholism.

In 1952 he shocked the medical world by drawing attention to the structural similarity between mescalin and adrenaline molecules, implying that schizophrenia might be a form of self-intoxication caused by the body mistakenly producing its own hallucinogenic compounds. He suggested, moreover, that mescalin enabled a normal person to see the world through the eyes of a schizophrenic and should be used as a training tool for members of the medical profession.

When Huxley - whose novel Brave New World (1931) described a totalitarian society in which the population is controlled by drugs - read Osmond's report, he decided to offer himself as a guinea pig. At first Osmond was apprehensive; he did not, he later wrote, "relish the possibility, however remote, of finding a small but discreditable niche in literary history as the man who drove Aldous Huxley mad". He was relieved, therefore, when, as the drug took effect, Huxley exclaimed: "How absolutely incredible!"

It took Huxley 70 pages to relate, in The Doors of Perception, what happened on that first "trip". An hour and a half into the experience he described staring at a bunch of flowers: "I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence." In fact, far from undergoing "imitation psychosis", Huxley had a mystical experience, and predicted that a religious revival would come about "as the result of biochemical discoveries that will make it possible for large numbers of men and women to achieve a radical self-transcendence and a deeper understanding of the nature of things".

Osmond and Huxley remained close friends after their experiment and corresponded for many years. During their search for a name to describe the hallucinogenic drugs, Huxley proposed the word "phanerothyme", derived from roots relating to "spirit" or "soul". He wrote to Osmond, "To make this trivial world sublime/Take half a gramme of phanerothyme." Osmond replied: "To fathom hell or soar angelic/Just take a pinch of psychedelic."

Psychedelic, from the Greek for mind ("psyche") and the verb "delein" (to manifest), means "mind-manifesting". In 1957 Osmond addressed a meeting of the New York Adademy of Sciences using the term. Hallucinogenic drugs, he argued, did much more than mimic psychosis, and thus needed a name that included the "concepts of enriching the mind and enlarging the vision".

During the 1950s and 1960s, psychedelics were used, with some success, in the treatment of a variety of psychiatric disorders. But after their use (and abuse) by the hippy generation, they were officially prohibited in 1966, and by 1970 had been classified as illegal.

For Osmond - who, far from being a hippy, was a respectable research scientist - the need to protect society had the effect of limiting progress. "I believe," he wrote, "that psychedelics provide a chance, perhaps only a slender one, for homo faber, the cunning, ruthless, foolhardy, pleasure-greedy toolmaker, to merge into that other creature whose presence we have so rashly presumed, homo sapiens, the wise, the understanding, the compassionate, in whose fourfold vision art, politics, science and religion are one."

"My experiences with these substances," he added, "have been the most strange, most awesome, and among the most beautiful things in a varied and fortunate life."

Humphry Osmond was born on July 1 1917 in Surrey and educated at Haileybury. After leaving school he intended to become a banker, but ended up working for an architect, an experience that was to have a lasting effect. After attending Guy's Hospital Medical School, Osmond served as a surgeon-lieutenant in the Navy, where he trained to become a ship's psychiatrist.

Following demobilisation, Osmond did a formal residency in psychiatry at St George's Hospital, Tooting, where he met and married a nurse, Jane Roffey. He began to take an interest in hallucinogenic drugs and their use in the treatment of psychiatric illness. In 1951, after his ideas met with little enthusiasm in the Freudian-dominated British mental health establishments, Osmond and his wife emigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada.

There he set about applying his considerable energy and creativity, overhauling the Weyburn Mental Hospital. With his colleague, Abram Hoffer, he investigated treatments for mental illness based on dietary changes and large doses of vitamins, and discovered that niacin could aid the treatment of schizophrenia.

Osmond's interest in psychedelics was not confined to the treatment of schizophrenia; under his supervision, architects took LSD and spent time on hospital wards in an attempt to understand what would be the most appropriate environment for a mental patient. Having noted that some alcoholics gave up drink after they suffered from delirium tremens, he gave almost 1,000 alcoholics a high-dose LSD treatment and achieved a 50 per cent recovery rate - far higher than other forms of therapy.

He was also involved in a number of LSD experiments with high profile subjects, such as "authors, artists, a junior cabinet minister, scientists, a hero, philosophers and businessmen". Most of them, he said, "find the experience valuable, some find it frightening, and many say that it is uniquely lovely".

After leaving Saskatchewan, he became director of the Bureau of Research in Neurology and Psychiatry at Princeton, going on to join the University of Alabama Medical School.

His publications include The Chemical Basis of Clinical Psychiatry (with A Hoffer), Psychedelics (with B S Aaronson), and Models of Madness (with M Siegler).

Humphry Osmond, who died on February 6, is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.


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Re: LSD doctor dies [Re: motaman]
    #2350134 - 02/18/04 02:37 PM (17 years, 11 months ago)

So sad, his quote "To fathom hell or soar angelic/Just take a pinch of psychedelic" is rather amazing. It's the simplest way to describe pyschedelics IMO. He will be missed.


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Osmond gave world 'psychedelic' drugs [Re: motaman]
    #2367680 - 02/22/04 02:03 PM (17 years, 10 months ago)


Sunday, February 22, 2004 - Page updated at 12:41 A.M.

Osmond gave world 'psychedelic' drugs

By Douglas Martin
The New York Times

Dr. Humphry Osmond, 86, the psychiatrist who coined the word psychedelic for the drugs he introduced to writer and essayist Aldous Huxley, died Feb. 6 at his home in Appleton, Wis.

The cause was cardiac arrhythmia, said his daughter Euphemia Blackburn of Appleton, where Dr. Osmond had lived for the last four years.

He entered the history of the counterculture by supplying hallucinogenic drugs to Huxley, who ascribed mystical significance to them in his widely read book "The Doors of Perception," which the rock group the Doors borrowed in part for its name.

But in his own view and in that of some other scientists, Dr. Osmond was most important for inspiring researchers who saw drugs like LSD and mescaline as potential treatments for psychological ailments.

By the mid-1960s, medical journals had published more than 1,000 papers on the subject, and Dr. Osmond's work using LSD to treat alcoholics drew particular interest.

"Osmond was a pioneer," said Dr. Charles Grob, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. "He published some fascinating data."

In one study, in the late 1950s, when Dr. Osmond gave LSD to alcoholics in Alcoholics Anonymous who had failed to quit drinking, about half had not had a drink after a year.

"No one has ever duplicated the success rate of that study," said Dr. John Halpern, associate director of substance-abuse research at the McLean Hospital Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center in Belmont, Mass., and an instructor at Harvard.

Halpern added that no one had really tried.

Other studies used different methodology, and the combination of flagrant youthful abuse of hallucinogens; the propagation of a flashy, otherworldly drug culture by Timothy Leary; and reports of health dangers from hallucinogens (some of which Halpern said were wrong or overstated) eventually doomed almost all research into psychedelic drugs.

Years later, Dr. Osmond said he disapproved of Leary.

To Dr. Osmond, drugs were "mysterious, dangerous substances and must be treated respectfully."

Huxley's reading about Dr. Osmond's research into similarities between schizophrenia and mescaline intoxication led him to volunteer to try the drug. Dr. Osmond agreed, but later wrote that he "did not relish the possibility, however remote, of being the man who drove Aldous Huxley mad."

Dr. Osmond first offered his new term, psychedelic, at a meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences in 1957. He said the word meant "mind manifesting" and called it "clear, euphonious and uncontaminated by other associations."

Huxley had sent Dr. Osmond a rhyme with his own word choice: "To make this trivial world sublime, take half a gram of phanerothyme." (Thymos means soul in Greek.)

Rejecting that, Dr. Osmond replied, "To fathom Hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic."

Humphry Fortescue Osmond was a native of Surrey, England. He was doing his residency in psychiatry at St. George's Hospital in London when he read about Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann's pioneering work on the effects of LSD. That inspired Dr. Osmond's early work with schizophrenia.

He later worked for institutes and hospitals in New Jersey and Alabama and retired in the early 1990s.

Dr. Osmond also is survived by his wife, Jane; another daughter, Helen Swanson of Surrey; a son, Julian, of New Orleans; a sister, Dorothy Gale of Devon, England; and five grandchildren.


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