Hofmann’s Potion traces D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) from its initial discovery in 1943 by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann, through its heyday in the 1960s counterculture, to its present status as a banned or controlled substance in many Western countries. The film offers a sensitive and sympathetic portrayal of the chemists, biochemists, psychiatrists, and psychologists in the 1940s and ’50s who privileged the model of mental illness based on brain chemistry over and above the psychoanalytic model in vogue at that time. Stationed in Canada, the United States, England, and Czechoslovakia, these pioneers made unprecedented advancements in treating various mental illnesses with LSD. Yet despite the rigorous standards the researchers adhered to, their groundbreaking work was choked out by the negative publicity that cropped up around amateurish thrill-seekers on LSD in the 1960s.
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