Acid Revival: The Psychedelic Renaissance and the Quest for Medical Legitimacy

Danielle Giffort (Author)


A vivid analysis of the history and revival of clinical psychedelic science

Psychedelic drugs are making a comeback. In the mid-twentieth century, scientists actively studied the potential of drugs like LSD and psilocybin for treating mental health problems. After a decades-long hiatus, researchers are once again testing how effective these drugs are in relieving symptoms for a wide variety of psychiatric conditions, from depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder to posttraumatic stress disorder and substance addiction. In Acid Revival, Danielle Giffort examines how this new generation of researchers and their allies are working to rehabilitate psychedelic drugs and to usher in a new era of psychedelic medicine.

As this team of researchers and mental health professionals revive the field of psychedelic science, they are haunted by the past and by one person in particular: psychedelic evangelist Timothy Leary. Drawing on extensive archival research and interviews with people working on scientific psychedelia, Giffort shows how today's researchers tell stories about Leary as an "impure" scientist and perform his antithesis to address a series of lingering dilemmas that threaten to rupture their budding legitimacy. Acid Revival presents new information about the so-called psychedelic renaissance and highlights the cultural work involved with the reassembly of dormant areas of medical science.

This colorful and accessible history of the rise, fall, and reemergence of psychedelic medicine is infused with intriguing narratives and personalities--a story for popular science aficionados as well as for scholars of the history of science and medicine.

Product Details

University of Minnesota Press
Publish Date
July 21, 2020
5.5 X 0.7 X 8.4 inches | 0.88 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Danielle Giffort is assistant professor of medical sociology at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.


"How does science plow forward in the face of stigma and skepticism? In this captivating account brimming with fascinating episodes, Danielle Giffort shows how a new generation of mental health researchers seeks to bring psychedelic drugs out of the shadows as respectable therapies--and how they ward off the specters of the countercultural past."--Steven Epstein, author of Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge

"Psychedelic medicine has the potential to transform psychiatry, but its advancement is threatened by unique social and legal challenges. Acid Revival provides an inside look at how the researchers conducting this controversial work present themselves as legitimate scientists. In a series of colorful stories, Danielle Giffort explains the role that cultural narrative and performance play in the production of expertise. Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding which drugs are deemed medically useful and why."--Joanna Kempner, author of Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health