The Early, State-Sanctioned LSD Experiments in Communist Bulgaria

Bulgarians were turning on, tuning in, and dropping out long before hippies.

lsd trials in commie bulgaria

Prof. Marina Boyadjieva (first row, second right)
(All Photos: Jordan Todorov)

AtlasObscura: LSD is usually associated with the hippie counterculture of the late 1960s. What has not been known until recently is that dozens of experiments involving the psychedelic drug were carried out in Communist Bulgaria, from 1962 to 1968, by the Bulgarian psychiatrist Marina Boyadjieva. Among the human guinea pigs were doctors, artists, miners, truck drivers, and even prisoners and mentally ill patients. These research subjects were involved in some 140 trials.

Years before Timothy Leary’s famous 1966 exhortation to “Turn on, tune in, drop out” and the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” LSD experiments were taking place in Bulgaria in the early years of the Cold War, where recreational drugs were completely unknown. Mind you, this was all happening legally and with the state’s blessing.  MORE

3 Comments on The Early, State-Sanctioned LSD Experiments in Communist Bulgaria

  1. I once watched a film of GIs high on LSD trying to march in formation (I think on 60 minutes).
    It was part of a DOD research project.

    It was probably a better time than standing in the Nevada desert for above ground nuclear tests.

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