Steve Jobs was an American entrepreneur who helped to pioneer the personal computer revolution, giving us the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. He was a visionary inventor, and he was also born in 1955, which means he reached college age during the cultural revolution of the early 1970s, a time when psychedelic use was rampant.
So, did Steve Jobs use LSD and other recreational drugs? Did these drugs influence his career?
The answer might surprise you.
Did Steve Jobs Use LSD?
Not only did Steve Jobs use LSD, but he has been very open and honest about his experiences. In fact, he once said that taking LSD was one of the most important things that he did in his life.
Steve Jobs explained that he used LSD from 1972 to 1974. The drug had been outlawed in the late ‘60s after many years of liberal and legal use, but it was still widely available and popular among the counterculture movement.
Jobs first used LSD in his senior year of high school. He recalled taking the drug in a wheat field and described it as “the most wonderful feeling of my life up to that point”.
Jobs attended Reed College in 1972, only to withdraw the same year. In 1974, he spent some time traveling through India where he studied Zen Buddhism and sought enlightenment, suggesting that a major change occurred in his life during this time.
What Did Steve Jobs Say About Using LSD?
During the late 1980s, Steve Jobs underwent screening for government security clearance and was asked to list reasons why he might be exposed to potential blackmailers. Jobs stated that he had an illegitimate daughter and that a threat could be made against him if she was kidnapped.
This is also where he spoke about his experiences dropping acid. He noted that he used the drug “approximately ten to fifteen times” between 1972 and 1974. He said that the LSD would be added to a sugar cube or consumed in hard form gelatin.
Jobs said of his experiences, “I have no words to explain the effect the LSD had on me, although, I can say it was a positive life-changing experience for me and I am glad I went through that experience.”
He didn’t go into too much detail about his LSD trips, but it has been suggested that his drug use helped to shape him into the pioneering inventor that he became.
Who Did Jobs Use LSD With?
Steve Jobs claimed that he would often consume LSD when he was by himself. That might have been the case for a number of his LSD trips, but some of his old friends have also spoken about their experiences taking LSD with the Apple co-founder.
Daniel Kottke was one of the first employees at Apple and he was also an old friend of Jobs. He once claimed that he would trip with Jobs in a dorm room filled with books on spirituality and the psychedelic tones of Pink Floyd.
Kottke claimed, “We would take psychedelics and whole new vistas opened up,” before adding that they were “monk-wannabes…on a quest to better understand consciousness”.
Daniel Kottke said that he and Jobs would take Orange Sunshine LSD and spend their trips reading, hiking, and visiting the rose gardens at Reed College.
Jobs and Other Recreational Drug Use
Steve Jobs also admitted to smoking and eating marijuana with friends, noting that the drug made him more relaxed and boosted his creativity.
Why Was Steve Jobs Arrested?
During the aforementioned security clearance check, Jobs failed to mention that he had been arrested in 1975. He didn’t think it would be an issue at the time and so he didn’t mention it, but it appeared during a background check.
The arrest didn’t have anything to go with drug use, though.
It occurred in Eugene, Oregon. Jobs was being questioned for suspicion of possessing alcohol as a minor, and the police discovered that there was a warrant out for his arrest. The warrant was for an unpaid parking ticket, which he later paid.
Other Famous People Who Used LSD
It’s no secret that psychedelic drugs had a huge influence on 20th-century music.
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds might not have been about LSD (despite what everyone seems to think and what the song’s title would suggest), but The Beatles did use the drug on many occasions. Jimi Hendrix, The Beach Boys, The Grateful Dead, The Doors, and countless others also admitted to using magic mushrooms and LSD.
It’s not just music, either. You can also find references to psychedelics in many famous poems, novels, and films. Aldous Huxley, who gave us Brave New World, and Philip K. Dick, who wrote the books that eventually became Bladerunner, Minority Report, and Total Recall, were both psychedelic users.
But what about the world of business and entertainment?
Well, comedians George Carlin and Bill Hicks were both fans of psychedelics, and entertainer/podcaster Joe Rogan has also been open about his psychedelic use.
Bill Gates is said to have experimented with psychedelics too, though he hasn’t been as open and positive about his experiences as Steve Jobs was.
During an interview for Playboy magazine, Gates was asked if he had ever taken LSD, to which he replied, “my errant youth ended a long time ago”. When asked to clarify, he added, “… things I did under the age of 25 that I ended up not doing subsequently.”
Gates also clarified that he had “never missed a day of his work” due to his “gooping around” with drugs.
Summary: Steve Jobs Used LSD
To summarize, Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc. used LSD on multiple occasions during the early 1970s. He later admitted to using the drug as late as 1977, with his first experience coming in the early 1970s during his senior year at high school.
Jobs also used other drugs, including marijuana.