The 1960s was a decade of political and social upheaval. The counterculture, which was what the decade was called, became disappointed with all the restrictions and conventions of the straight society. The Summer of Love did not occur until 1967, but the decade was inspired by the Bohemian spirit which was already present in the 1950s; known as the Beat generation. The counterculture gained significant influence in liberal cities such as Berkley and San Francisco. In 1967, Scott McKenzie released his song San Francisco and with this song came rumors of a huge love-in in the summer. This is what fueled the Summer of Love. Leaders of the counterculture in the Haight-Ashbury district were anxious to start planning an event that would fit in with the Summer of Love hype. Their hope was that musicians and other artists would just naturally travel over to the Haight-Ashbury. The Summer of Love would not have been the same without the usage of LSD and marijuana, free love, and the all famous rock and roll music.
Drugs seemed to be the way of life for the hippies; they were using all kinds of drugs throughout the decade but the two drugs that were most associated with the Summer of Love were LSD and Marijuana. To the hippies they used the term “dope” instead of “drugs” because dope was good; but drugs included both good and bad substances. Miller stated, “Substances that were perceived as expanding consciousness were good; things which made the user dumb were bad” (Miller 2).
Another drug that was used in the Summer of Love was marijuana. It was not as huge as LSD, but it was still used throughout the decade. Marijuana was first introduced in America during the Jazz Age and became one of the central fixtures of the 1960s counterculture. Baugess wrote, “It was intrinsic to the jazz music scene; many musicians used marijuana for its perceived ability to boost creativity and as a way to find relief from racial oppression” (Baugess 400). It grew popular among the blacks and was used to basically boost your creativity. It later became very popular to the beatniks, in which they would later change the meaning of the drug, a way to deepen intellectual understanding and used to rebel against the society. The hippies would use it for the pleasurable side effects, but also to heal the body and soul. Smoking marijuana was an act of rebellion against puritanical Americans. It was known to expand the mind, just like LSD did. Not only did hippies use the drug, but it was also consumed by the political radicals and Vietnam soldiers. Marijuana was grown in plenty in Vietnam and supplied soldiers with a mass of relief from the experience of war. Marijuana left a huge impact on the counterculture; it had a connection to music, musicians like Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and others would write songs that reflected the centrality of it.
The main drug that would be known throughout the Summer of Love and most recognizable to the decade would be LSD. This would later be known on the street as “acid” which was a hallucinogenic drug able to induce altered mental states in its users. LSD was created in a Swiss pharmaceutical laboratory in the 1930s and discovered in 1938 by Swiss chemist, Albert Hoffman. In the decades before, it was used as a treatment drug and alcohol addiction. Miller wrote, “Also in the Cold War struggles with the Soviet Union (the Central Intelligence Agency monitored early LSD research closely, seeing the chemical as a potential tool for espionage or perhaps for disabling a large enemy population)” (Miller 4). On April 19, 1943, Albert Hoffman synthesized another batch of LSD-25 and created a version that would be able to dissolve in water and had pleasant hallucinations. Later, he had perfect recall of the hallucinations saying that his mind was conscious throughout the experiment. It was created for three main purposes; it was fun, revolutionary, and good for the body and soul. Miller stated, The belief of...