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Zeff, Leo | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Name: Zeff, Leo

Historical Note: Before Leo J. Zeff (May 14, 1912 – April 13, 1988) graduated with his PhD and began his private practice in Oakland, California, he proudly served in the army as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was one of the first psychologists to be licensed as a PhD, and he specialized in Jungian psychology. In 1961, Zeff was introduced to MDMA by Alexander Shulgin. His plans for retirement immediately ceased once he discovered the possible therapeutic benefits of using the drug in some of his patients’ sessions. Zeff named MDMA “Adam” and when LSD and like drugs were made illegal, Zeff made the difficult decision to go underground and keep treating his patients with the drugs. Due to this unorthodox practice, Zeff operated under pseudonyms when mentioned in other researchers’ works. It is not until 2004 when Zeff’s real name was used. He firmly believed that LSD along with other drugs such as psilocybin, MDA, harmaline, ibogaine, and MDMA was of benefit to several of his patients if administered properly. He invented a specific protocol and a basic set of rules for administering the drug, and music was played during the session. In The Secret Chief Revealed: Conversations with Leo Zeff, Pioneer in the Underground Psychedelic Therapy Movement Myron J. Stolaroff states: “Zeff believed this [playing music] to be very important. This is one area in which I wish the conversation-text had delved more deeply. The music which was considered so important is barely discussed, other than to say that it was always on.” Zeff is noted as a pioneer in his field and made many contributions and advancements in psychoactive substances research. The Council on Spiritual Practices has the Zeff Memorial Library, which contains books, anthologies, papers, and newsletters about entheogens.

“Dr. Leo Zeff.” Utopian Pharmacology. September 23, 2011. http://www.mdma.net/leo-zeff/index.html

“The Erowid Review.” The Vaults of Erowid. Septebmer 23, 2011. http://www.erowid.org/library/review/review.php?ID=195

“Zeff Memorial Library.” Council of Spiritual Practices. September 23, 2011. http://csp.org/practices/entheogens/docs/zeff_cat.html

Note Author: Kristin Leaman

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