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Published: LSD inventor's letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs


In an offbeat but somewhat fascinating article published by the Huffington Post this week, it's revealed that LSD inventor Albert Hofmann penned a letter to Steve Jobs shortly before his passing, in which he asked the Apple co-founder for help in transforming his problematic psychedelic into a "wonderchild."

Jobs' experimentation with psychedelics as a young man is well documented in books, movies, and media reports covering Apple's early years. As part of his search for spiritual enlightenment during the mid-70s, he was known to have dropped LSD, and has since recalled it as "one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life."

Aware of the positive effects in which the experience had on Jobs' contributions to the world of technology, Hofmann — who was an age-defying 101 years old a the time of the letter in 2007 — reached out to the Apple luminary at the request of his friend Rick Doblin, who runs MAPS, an organization dedicated to studying the medical and psychiatric benefits of psychedelic drugs.

Once thought to be a promising psychiatric research medicine, LSD would ultimately follow a path that would see it transform into recreational drug sparking hysteria and prohibition. This disheartened Hofmann, who from then on was known to refer to the drug as his "problem child."

"I hope you will help in the transformation of my problem child into a wonder child," Hoffman wrote in his letter to Jobs, roughly 14 months before he passed away in April of 2008. Specifically, he request that Jobs contribute to Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Peter Gasser's proposed study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with anxiety associated with life-threatening illness — said to be the first LSD-assisted psychotherapy study in over 35 years.

According to the Post, the letter would lead to a 30-minute conversation between Doblin and Jobs but no contribution to the cause. "He was still thinking, 'Let's put it in the water supply and turn everybody on,'" Doblin told the publication. Still, Doblin hasn't given up hope that Jobs will someday decide to contribute to the study.

A copy of Hoffman's letter and more on the role of psychedelic in the tech industry can be seen in the full report.