Oscar Janiger

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Oscar Janiger

Oscar Janiger (February 8, 1918 – August 14, 2001) was a University of California Irvine Psychiatrist who was best known for his LSD research, which lasted from 1954 to 1962.[1][2]

Nine hundred people took LSD (usually 2 micrograms per kilogram of bodyweight) and recorded their experiences. The participants included college students, a Deputy Marshall, housewives, attorneys, clerical assistants, counselors, medical personnel, dentists, physicians, and engineers.[3]

A substudy within Janiger's research focused specifically on artists and creativity. One patient of Dr. Janiger, bipolar and alcoholic artist Frank Murdoch,[4] was given a controlled, experimental dose of LSD for several months as an attempt to cure his late stage alcoholism (probably a less well-known purpose to his LSD experiments, but very common in the era).[5][6] Janiger had Murdoch paint still-lives both on and off LSD, including a Kachina doll (that he reportedly had 70 other patients also paint).[citation needed]

The artists produced some 250 paintings and drawings after ingesting LSD. Historian Carl Hertel analyzed the art in 1971 and compared it to the artists' non-LSD work. Hertel found while the LSD art was neither superior nor inferior to the artists' other work, it was brighter, more abstract and non-representational, and tended to fill the entire canvas.

Two follow-up studies have been done. The first, done by Janiger around 1968, collected questionnaires from about 200 of the original participants. Much of this data remains unanalyzed and only a limited amount has been published.

A second follow-up study was conducted in 1999 by Rick Doblin, Jerome E. Beck, Kate Chapman and Maureen Alioto, forty years after the original experimental LSD sessions. Taped interviews were completed by 45 of Janiger's original participants, as well as Janiger himself. The study concluded that the experiences were positive overall, but only 1/3 of the follow-up subjects reported long-term benefits from the LSD experiences.[citation needed]

Janiger published a few journal articles and one book entitled "A Different Kind of Healing" in 1993 with Philip Goldberg. The book details physicians' views on the use of alternative medicine within traditional medical practice. Janiger also coauthored a second book with Marlene Dobkin de Rios about his LSD research—which was published (posthumously) in 2003 by Park Street Press—entitled "LSD, Spirituality, and the Creative Process". Janiger was affectionately referred to as Oz by his close friends.


  1. ^ John Whalen (July 3, 1998). LA Weekly: The Trip. 
  2. ^ LA Weekly: The Trip
  3. ^ Cheryl Pellerin (1998). Trips: How Hallucinogens Work in Your Brain. p. 61. ISBN 1-888363-34-7. 
  4. ^ Lynn Svensson (2006). Looking For Frank Murdoch: The LSD Experiments. 
  5. ^ Minogue SJ (May 1948). "Alcoholics Anonymous". Med. J. Aust. 1 (19): 586. PMID 18868217. 
  6. ^ Maclean, J.R.; Macdonald, D.C.; Ogden, F.; Wilby, E., "LSD-25 and mescaline as therapeutic adjuvants." In: Abramson, H., Ed., The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism, Bobbs-Merrill: New York, 1967, pp. 407–426; Ditman, K.S.; Bailey, J.J., "Evaluating LSD as a psychotherapeutic agent," pp.74–80; Hoffer, A., "A program for the treatment of alcoholism: LSD, malvaria, and nicotinic acid," pp. 353–402.