Top 5 Inventions and Discoveries Made by People High on Drugs

Credits: Joshua Karpati Phoebe De Jeu

Script written by Nathan Sharp

Well… they do say that inspiration strikes at the strangest times. These inventions and discoveries weren’t any less revolutionary despite the fact that… well… the people who made them were high. WatchMojo counts down the Top 5 Inventions and Discoveries Made by People High on Drugs.

Special thanks to our user roxy for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Inventions+and+Discoveries+Made+By+People+High+on+Drugs.

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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 5 Inventions and Discoveries Made by People High on Drugs

Well… they do say that inspiration strikes at the strangest times. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top five inventions and discoveries made by people high on drugs.

For this list, we’ll be looking at various inventions, medical breakthroughs, and/or discoveries that were made by people while they were high on drugs. These stories must have either been proven or are considered extremely likely to have occurred. Since it’s only a rumor (and, according to his biographer, a false rumor) that Francis Crick discovered the double helix while on LSD, he won’t be included in this list.

#5: Timothy Leary Conducts Research into Psychedelics While on Them Himself

Timothy Leary was a psychologist who was prominent throughout the ‘60s for advocating the use and benefits of psychedelic drugs. Leary began a study at Harvard in 1960 called the “Harvard Psilocybin Project,” which was meant to research the use of psychedelics under the right conditions. This included not only controlled experiments, but also rigorous personal use - often at the same time. In Leary’s opinion, psychedelics could help people where regular therapy could not, a hypothesis seemingly proven by his alcoholic and criminal subjects. While he may have gotten a little carried away later in life, his Harvard experiments remain influential research into the effects of psychedelics.

#4: William Halsted Makes Breakthroughs in Medical Practices While High on Cocaine & Morphine

Known as the “Father of Modern Surgery”, William Halsted is remembered for his exceptional medical talents and breakthroughs, including the advocacy of anesthetics, the importance of clean operating tools (weird, right?), and the invention of the radical mastectomy, a revolutionary procedure that combated breast cancer. And it was pretty much all done while Halsted was filled with cocaine and morphine. He became addicted to cocaine after testing its properties as an aesthetic, and morphine after it was used to treat his addiction to cocaine. Despite battling addiction, he went on to revolutionize medicine and is now regarded as one of the most important and influential surgeons in history.

#3: Kary Mullis Invents the Polymerase Chain Reaction While on LSD

While Kary Mullis has been a bit of a controversial figure in the early 21st century, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993 for inventing the polymerase chain reaction, a process that generates multiple copies of a specific DNA sequence. This is used in multiple fields, including forensics and biomedicine. And this Nobel Prize-winning concept was developed using LSD. At a symposium for LSD pioneer Albert Hofmann, it was revealed that Mullis had once told Hofmann that LSD was a major contributing factor for the development of the polymerase chain reaction.

#2: Sigmund Freud Invents Psychoanalysis While on Cocaine

Psychoanalysis was established by notable Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud in the early 1890s, and while its validity and use are hotly contested within academic circles, it has nevertheless been a major source of discussion and influence in the practice of psychiatry for more than a century. AndFreud loved him some cocaine. Freud’s medical reputation was somewhat ruined once it was reported that cocaine caused overdoses and addiction, but Freud still remained a user of the drug to treat his depression and headaches. He finally stopped using the drug in 1896, one year after the publication of “Studies on Hysteria,” which is often considered to be a formative work on psychoanalysis.

#1: John Pemberton Invents Coca-Cola on Cocaine & Morphine

The story of Coca-Cola begins with debilitating morphine addiction. Coke’s creator, John Pemberton, was seriously injured during the Civil War and subsequently became addicted to morphine, which was used to treat his pain. Seeking a less-addictive replacement, Pemberton started experimenting with coca and coca wines and created Pemberton’s French Wine Coca - a drink consisting of French wine and a unique mixture of cocaine and alcohol called cocaethylene. However, Pemberton was forced to tweak the recipe amid the temperance movement in the late 19th century. He removed the alcohol and created a little drink called Coca-Cola. You might’ve heard of it.

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