Let’s step back in time for a moment: It’s the 1950s, and LSD research is exploding. Scientists are fascinated by this mind-tripping compound and conducting experiments to explore its effects on the brain and body. 

But perplexing findings begin to emerge. In some studies, participants experience anxiety-soaked paranoia, while in others, participants feel a sense of radiant wholeness and peace. Some subjects say their thought processes are blocked, while others say their cognitive faculties are sharper. Some can’t wait to repeat the experience, and others swear they’ll never touch it again. 

How can one compound trigger such a spectrum of responses?

Psychedelic scientists of this era put these stark differences down to set and setting—your…

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