Ahhhh drugs… Where would we be without those little liquids, herbs, pills, and powders that make our world a little more interesting? They’ve inspired some of our greatest music, laid the roots to some of our most prolific art, and even brought us to some history-changing discoveries. Everything from incredible sports feats to earth-shattering neurobiological breakthroughs—drugs have helped us blaze the path for all of it.
Here are the 8 greatest moments in drug history:
Dock Ellis’ Acidic No-Hitter
No-hitters in baseball aren’t impossible, they’re just really rare. So when Dock Ellis took the mound one misty day in June of 1970 and threw what many would believe to be a career-defining nine innings, it isn’t exactly something we should take lightly. But this one was a little different. Nobody tells the story better than Dock, but basically, he stayed up and ate so much acid he forgot he had a game to get to. When he finally showed up to the game, he was tripping balls. He’s told reporters that he literally didn’t remember seeing the catcher at different points in the game. So today we learned, if you’re a pitcher at any level, whip yourself up a psychotropic cocktail and get yourself on the mound. You’re about to have the best game of your career.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Coked Out Dream
Before he sat down to write one of the most widely read and referenced novels of the 19th century, Robert Louis Stevenson was sleeping. But not just any sleep. Oh, no. This sleep was after using medicinally prescribed cocaine (yeah, that kind of shit used to happen in this wonderful world of ours). The crazy coke dream Stevenson had that evening directly inspired The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is also said that Stevenson woke up and immediately started writing, and literally didn’t stop until it was done 3 to 6 days later. It actually makes total sense. One minute you’re sleeping peacefully, and the next you’re an insanely motivated monster. Although, Stevenson didn’t murder anyone while he was writing. Probably.
An Acid Fueled Francis Crick Discovers DNA
Francis Crick was a British molecular biologist, neuroscientist, biophysicist, and Grade A righteous dude. When he wasn’t in the lab looking at molecules and shit, he was often partying the hardest. His all-night LSD parties were almost as legendary as his genetic research. As the story goes, one night he came smashing through the door of his Cambridge home, and made his wife, Odile (an artist), draw what he described. She didn’t know it at the time, but she was drawing the first-ever illustration of deoxyribonucleic acid, better known as DNA. As it turns out, Crick was on an acid bender when the famous discovery just came to him. Rock and roll, ladies and gentlemen. Rock. And. Roll.
Kary Mullis’ Nobel Prize For Acid Thoughts
Kary Mullis is perhaps most known for his discovery of PCR and, well, molecular biologists must have a thing for LSD, because Kary Mullis made his breakthrough tripping balls. PCR is a technique used in molecular biology that helps amplify copies of DNA, and is used in all types of gene research, including paternity testing, fingerprinting, infectious disease detection, diagnosing hereditary diseases, and overall genetic analysis. One of the most prolific biological discoveries of modern mankind was discovered because of acid. Take that, D.A.R.E.!
Sigmund Freud Lays the Foundation for Psychoanalysis on Cocaine
Listen guys… Sigmund Freud was a weird dude. He was convinced that we were all trying to fuck our mothers (or vice versa), he studied the sex lives of eels, and he wrote an entire book about how great cocaine is. Literally. An entire book. Its title? Über Coca. Which translates to On Cocaine. Which he was. He really, really liked the booger sugar. He prescribed it to everyone he knew for symptoms ranging from headaches and general fatigue, to pale cheeks, and used it extensively himself. All that said, Freud’s most profound (and controversial) work on Psychoanalysis was due largely in part to his extensive use of cocaine. He thought it to be a general cure-all for all of life’s ailments.
Lou Reed Writes One of the Best Goddamn Albums of All Time
You want to talk about the mesmerizing and horrific power of good drugs? Look no further than Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. Reed and his music changed the pock-marked, lipstick-stained face of rock and roll forever, and when he passed away in 2013 (from liver disease, naturally), everyone paid tribute to his incredible legacy.
To this day, The Velvet Underground & Nico is one of the most influential rock and roll albums of all time. This album—and Reed’s entire life, quite frankly—is a true testament to drug use and rock and roll music. The Velvet Underground & Nico pre-date’s punk rock music by almost a decade, yet look at how incredibly powerful it really is. To say that it wasn’t influenced by dope (there’s literally a song on the record called “Heroin”), bathed in booze, and aged in bourbon-filled barrels of filth, would be to whitewash all the beautiful and terrible things about rock and roll music—and the culture that comes along with it. This is the album that started it all.
President Barack Obama Smokes Weed and Inhales Because “That Was The Whole Point”
When Barrack Obama was asked about his past experience with marijuana, particularly about whether or not he inhaled, he answered with, “When I was a kid, I inhaled… Frequently. That, uh, that was the point.” Historically, presidents–including Bill Clinton, George Bush, and even John F. Kennedy–who do admit to partaking in the Devil’s lettuce always say they never inhaled. That’s like, the thing they all say. Well, Obama DID inhale, and doesn’t mind admitting it. So for all those bastard teachers who said stoners grow up to be nothing, LOOK AT US NOW. EAT A DICK, MRS. BRASEL!
Hunter Thompson Takes Everything and Re-Invents Journalism
It isn’t a stretch in the least to say that Hunter S. Thompson was one of the most influential journalists and writers of the 20th century. Think of a Beat Generation-meets-Walter-Cronkite kind of deal, and you’ll have Gonzo, the brand of first-person narrative journalism that Thompson pioneered and perfected. The best part is that Thompson’s narratives were often—perhaps too often—fueled by drugs of all colors, shapes, and sizes. His style and experience was a veritable smorgasbord of booze and drugs, garnished by just the right amount of madness and reckless abandon. He never won a Pulitzer, but who gives a shit about a Pulitzer when you’ve got DMT to smoke, am I right?