In 1967, LSD was briefly labeled a breaker of chromosomes | Science News

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50 Years Ago

In 1967, LSD was briefly labeled a breaker of chromosomes

Excerpt from the April 1, 1967, issue of Science News

By
7:00am, March 23, 2017
psychedelic illustration

LONG, STRANGE TRIP  LSD briefly got tagged as a gene breaker a half century ago before getting a reprieve. Researchers are still trying to figure out how this substance triggers intense, long-lasting hallucinations.

LSD may damage chromosomes

Two New York researchers have found the hallucinogenic drug will markedly increase the rate of abnormal change in chromosomes. [Scientists] tested LSD on cell cultures from the blood of two healthy individuals … [and] also found similar abnormal changes in the blood of a schizophrenic patient who had been treated with [LSD]. The cell cultures showed a two-fold increase in chromosomal breaks over the normal rate. — Science News, April 1, 1967

Update

Psychedelic-era reports that LSD damages chromosomes got lots of press but fell apart within a few years. A review in Science in 1971 concluded that ingesting moderate doses of LSD

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