LSD Patent Tracker

Powered by

In 1938, Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann first synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide as the 25th in a series of lysergic acid derivatives (hence the name, LSD-25). Hofmann was investigating alkaloids in ergot, a fungus known to infect rye and other grains. Ergot had traditionally been used by midwives to induce childbirth, and Hofmann was hoping to develop another analeptic compound with circulatory and respiratory stimulant effects. However, initial animal research failed to identify any benefits (although laboratory notes mention that the animals became “restless”), and investigation was discontinued. 

Five years later, a “peculiar presentiment” prompted Hofmann to revisit LSD-25 (Hofmann, LSD–My Problem Child). On April 16, 1943, Hofmann was resynthesizing it for further study, when he accidentally ingested an unknown amount:

“I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed…I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.”

Three days later, on April 19, 1943—now immortalized as Bicycle Day—Albert Hofmann intentionally ingested 250 µg, which he believed would be a threshold dose. He later wrote:

“By now it was already clear to me that LSD had been the cause of the remarkable experience of the previous Friday, for the altered perceptions were of the same type as before, only much more intense. I had to struggle to speak intelligibly. I asked my laboratory assistant, who was informed of the self-experiment, to escort me home. We went by bicycle, no automobile being available because of wartime restrictions on their use.”

Before the end of the month, the first LSD patent application was filed, on “new d-lysergic acid dialkyl amides which are valuable therapeutical products and to a process for their preparation.” Naming both Albert Hofmann and Arthur Stoll as co-inventors, the application was issued in the U.S. to Sandoz on March 23, 1948, as U.S. Patent No. 2,438,259.

During the 1950s and into the early 1960s, LSD (provided by Sandoz under the brand name Delysid) was used to treat some 40,000 patients, and written about in over 1,000 medical and scientific publications. Additional LSD patents were granted to Sandoz, as well as to Eli Lilly. By the mid-1960s however, research into LSD had come to a halt, “largely because it had become synonymous with countercultural activities, hedonism and drug abuse” (Dyck, 2015). And by Fall of 1970, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was signed into law by President Richard Nixon, and continued work with LSD fell victim to the so-called war on drugs. Although underground use continued, it wasn’t until 2014 when the first modern research with LSD demonstrated favorable results treating anxiety in terminally ill patients, and noted that “further study is warranted into the potential of LSD-assisted psychotherapy” (Gasser, 2014). 

Nevertheless, a few patent applications on LSD and related compounds were filed in the interim. For example, in 1985 a U.S. patent claiming methods of using LSD to treat neurological damage in stroke patients was granted to Justin Zivin (U.S. Pat. No. 4,524,072). Bayer Pharma AG received a patent in 1994 on processes for the production of ergoline derivatives (U.S. Pat. No. 5,371,000). In 1997, Vivus LLC (later profiled in the documentary film “Orgasm Inc.”) received U.S. Patent No. 6,228,864 on methods to treat premature ejaculation with a serotonin agonist, including LSD.

Beginning around 2012, the volume of LSD-related patent filings increased dramatically, and dozens have now been published. Currently pending patent applications cover therapeutic uses of LSD for a variety of conditions, combinations of LSD with other compounds such as MDMA and 5-MeO-DMT, delivery and dosing methods, manufacturing processes, and LSD analogs and derivatives. 

Below, we have gathered all of the LSD-related patents and published patent applications that were filed in the U.S. or able to be filed in the U.S. and become a U.S. patent. These start with Sandoz’s 1948 patent and go up through the most recent applications to publish.

It’s important to note that patent applications are kept secret for at least 18 months after filing. So if you came looking for one of the many applications recently announced by a company in the space, it won’t be reflected here. But keep checking back—we’ll update this table whenever new DMT-related applications become public, and we’ll continue to add new tables for other psychedelic compounds (along with our existing psilocybinMDMA5-MeO-DMTketamineDMT, and ibogaine tables), and post new articles discussing IP in the psychedelics space in the months to come.

Join Our Free Newsletter

Get a weekly round-up of news on psychedelics, as well as the occasional article, by joining our free newsletter. For more, including our monthly patent analysis and tracker, join Pα+.

Note: The applications and patents in the table include all U.S. and PCT filings with substantive claims to LSD compositions, formulations, and methods of use or production (including to certain LSD analogs and derivatives, such as 2-bromo-LSD). Applications or patents filed in other jurisdictions, or those where LSD is only referenced incidentally (such as related to drug testing), are not included. Where a PCT application has already entered prosecution in the U.S., typically the U.S. application is included. Only one of a family of multiple applications is generally listed, unless the others have separate significance. “Priority date” refers to the earliest filing date on which an applicant can rely (typically, the filing date of a U.S. provisional); it is used to determine who filed first and what public information is “prior art.”