Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a synthetic chemical made from a substance found in a fungus that grows on rye and other grains, called ergot.
In 1943, Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann – who was interested in the medicinal properties of plants – altered a molecule in the fungus hoping to create something that would stimulate blood circulation. But by testing the compound on himself, he discovered he had created a hallucinogen instead.
Today, LSD is an illicit substance used recreationally for its hallucinogenic effects.
Authors: Julaine Allan, Senior Research Fellow, Charles Sturt University