drugs Celebs Who Owe Their Careers to Psychedelics

Jacob Shelton
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Whether you’re stone cold sober, or a web-surfing psychedelic monk, this list of famous people who used LSD will peak your interest in numerous ways. Each story not only shows that it’s not just spacey musicians like The Beatles, or gonzo actors like Dennis Hopper expanding their consciousness with LSD, but also that a few actors you probably thought were incredibly vanilla, like Cary Grant, had careers helped by LSD. So if you’ve been asking everyone you know, “is LSD good for you?” this list of celebrities who used psychedelics will sort of give you some answers. We’re not saying you should run out and start eating every magic mushroom you can find, but these famous people who used psychedelics seem to think they were helped in one way or another by chemically expanding their mind.

It’s no secret that there are plenty of celebrity drug users. After all it’s almost de rigueur for famous folks to do something illegal. When applying this concept to psychedelics, it makes you wonder, is LSD good for creativity? After researching all these famous people who used acid it certainly seems like there’s something to the thought that you can reach another artistic state by opening up your consciousness with mind-altering drugs.

But don’t take this list's word for it. See what these celebrities who used LSD have to say about their own experiences with taking LSD, acid, mushrooms, and peyote. Once you’ve expanded your mind with this list of famous people who used acid leave a comment with your own experiences and let’s like, get a dialogue going, man.
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Celebs Who Owe Their Careers to Psychedelics
Photo:  uploaded by Jacob Shelton

The Beatles


It's possible that no group of artists benefitted from experimenting with psychedelics as much as the Beatles, who had, until their first encounters with LSD, been clean-cut lads from Liverpool who played blues-infused teeny-bopper tunes. According to George Harrison, all of the Beatles experimenting with psychedelics was necessary for the group to continue through the '60s. "John and I had decided that Paul and Ringo had to have acid, because we couldn't relate to them any more. Not just on the one level - we couldn't relate to them on any level, because acid had changed us so much. It was such a mammoth experience that it was unexplainable: it was something that had to be experienced, because you could spend the rest of your life trying to explain what it made you feel and think."
Steve Jobs is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Celebs Who Owe Their Careers to Psychedelics
Photo: Matthew Yohe/via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

According to Jobs, the creator of all your aesthetically pleasing iDevices, taking LSD, "was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life." He went on to say that his experience with psychedelics showed him that making beautiful objects was more important making money. Luckily, he did both.

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Age: Died at 56 (1955-2011)

Birthplace: California, United States of America

Profession: Businessperson, Entrepreneur, Inventor, Designer

Credits: Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, The Pixar Story, Toy Story, The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires

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George Carlin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Celebs Who Owe Their Careers to Psychedelics
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA-2.0

Carlin may be one of the most important philosophers of our time, and sea change from straight comic to philosophical force of nature after the use of LSD and peyote should be proof of the mind expanding properties of psychedelics. In an interview with Playboy, he expanded on the concept of psychedelics saying, "I did LSD and peyote in the late sixties... That was concurrent with my change from a straight comic to the album and counterculture period, and those drugs served their purpose. They helped open me up."

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Age: Died at 71 (1937-2008)

Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

Profession: Comedian, Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter Actor, + more

Credits: Dogma, Cars, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, George Carlin: Playin' with Your Head

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Joe Rogan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Celebs Who Owe Their Careers to Psychedelics
Photo:  uploaded by Jacob Shelton

There are so many sides to Joe Rogan that it's hard to pin him down. On one hand he's a tough guy who lOoOooooOooves the UFC, but on the other he's a man who's open to experimenting with is mind, and facilitating similar experiences for his fans. His career began a second (or maybe third?) renaissance when he started talking about his experience with magic mushrooms and how they changed his life.

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Age: 49

Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, USA

Profession: Television presenter, Commentator, Announcer, Film Producer Screenwriter, + more

Credits: Fear Factor, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, NewsRadio, Late Friday

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Dennis Hopper is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Celebs Who Owe Their Careers to Psychedelics
Photo:  uploaded by Jacob Shelton

For better or for worse, Hopper's drug use informed almost the entirety of his career. Whether he was tripping balls with Peter Fonda on the tomb of D.H. Lawrence, or telling David Lynch what kind of drugs his insane gangster character would be taking, he was the true psychedelic king of Hollywood.

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Age: Died at 74 (1936-2010)

Birthplace: Dodge City, Kansas, United States of America

Profession: Screenwriter, Actor, Voice acting, Artist Film Director, + more

Credits: Speed, Apocalypse Now, Easy Rider, True Romance

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Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Celebs Who Owe Their Careers to Psychedelics
Photo:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Before the government decided to criminalize the use of LSD and other psychedelics, they were used as a form of psychotherapy. Oddly enough, one of the biggest proponents of LSD therapy was none other than Mr. Arsenic and Old Lace himself. Of his psychedelic experience he said, “I said to the doctor, ‘Why am I turning around on this sofa?’ and he said ‘Don’t you know why?’ and I said I didn’t have the vaguest idea, but I wondered when it was going to stop. ‘When you stop it,’ he answered. Well, it was like a revelation to me, taking complete responsibility for one’s own actions. I thought ‘I’m unscrewing myself.’ That’s why people use the phrase, ‘all screwed up.’”

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Age: Died at 82 (1904-1986)

Birthplace: Horfield, United Kingdom

Profession: Actor

Credits: His Girl Friday, Notorious, North by Northwest, Charade

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#14 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

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#27 on The Best Actors in Film History

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Jack Nicholson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Celebs Who Owe Their Careers to Psychedelics
Photo: Freebase

At this point, no one really needs to explain Nicholson's reputation as the maniac of Hollywood. But after starring in seminal psychedelic films like Easy Rider, The Shining, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, it makes sense that the actor believes that the first time he took LSD he "saw the face of God."

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Age: 79

Birthplace: Neptune City, New Jersey, United States of America

Profession: Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor, Film Director

Credits: The Shining, The Departed, As Good as It Gets, Chinatown

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Bill Gates is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Celebs Who Owe Their Careers to Psychedelics
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA-2.0

Like his frenemy Steve Jobs, Gates also experimented with psychedelics, although he seems remiss to discuss it (probably out of a keen business sense). In a Playboy interview from the '90s he discussed his "errant youth" a bit and admitted that, "The young mind can deal with certain kinds of gooping around that I don't think at this age I could. I don't think you're as capable of handling lack of sleep or whatever challenges you throw at your body as you get older. However, I never missed a day of work."

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Age: 61

Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States of America

Profession: Programmer, Software Architect, Businessperson, Investor Entrepreneur

Credits: The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires, Freakonomics, Give Us the Money, The Billionaires' Pledge

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