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The world remembers celebrity Steve Jobs as the mastermind behind Apple. His creative genius is responsible for both the Mac Computer and the iPhone we love so much. When his official biography was finally published, many were surprised to learn that not only did Steve Jobs use drugs, he credits them with helping him tap into the creativity that prompted him to build his business and revolutionize technology.

While Steve Jobs admits to using drugs, including LSD and marijuana, during the 1970s, it doesn’t appear he was addicted to the drugs, but merely used them to help himself relax and to help open his mind to unique possibilities. These LSD visions helped him invent much of the technology we love and rely on today.

Steve Jobs speaking in front of a black background
Steve Jobs | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The role LSD played in Steve Jobs’ life

Steve Jobs was always honest about his drug use. Not only did had he been arrested for recreational drug use, but he freely talked about it. He even went so far as to credit LSD for being a key factor in unlocking the creativity that enabled him to build a phenomenal computer and develop one of the most successful and recognizable businesses in the world. Jobs said in his biography, according to Goodreads:

“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life … LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important — creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.”

According to Network World, Jobs took LSD from 1972 through 1974. His preferred method for consuming the recreational drug was to add it to a sugar cube or a bit of hard gelatin. Jobs estimated that during those two years, he experimented with LSD 10-15 times. It’s unclear why he stopped taking LSD. 

One of the interesting things about Jobs was that he wanted to surround himself with people that didn’t walk the straight and narrow. Instead of hiring applicants who had a traditional background in technology, he looked for people like himself, including those who dabbled in the drug culture. 

During the period that Jobs was experimenting with recreational drugs, he was already friends with Daniel Kottke, who has the distinction of being the first official employee of Apple. He was also the person who frequently shared in Jobs LSD trips. Kottke told CNN that the pair considered the LSD experience to meditative.

Steve Jobs and cannabis

While Jobs stopped using LSD in 1974, that wasn’t the end of his recreational drug use, nor was LSD the only drug he used. Jobs also had a history of using both cannabis and hashish. Medium reported that Jobs used both of these drugs from 1973-1977. Apparently, Jobs rotated between smoking the drugs and consuming them as brownies.

Why his family is talking about his use of drugs


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While it’s not clear why Steve Job’s family is comfortable talking about his history with drugs, it’s reasonable to assume that since he freely shared the information during interviews with his biographer, that Jobs wasn’t trying to keep the drugs a secret so there’s no reason for his family to do the same. 

What is interesting about Jobs’ openness about his recreational drug use is that his honesty has helped shine a light on how many geniuses have used drugs and still managed to make groundbreaking contributions to science. Leafly reports that Carl Sagan started smoking cannabis when he noticed that his friends who used the drug didn’t exhibit any signs that they were addicted to it. He continued to use cannabis on a recreational basis throughout his entire life.

Not only did Francis Crick regularly use LSD, but according to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychadelic Studies (MAPS), he was actually under the influence at the time he discovered the double-helix structure of DNA. Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis doesn’t know that he would have been able to accomplish groundbreaking work with polymerase chain reaction had he not regularly used LSD.

Steve Jobs and the rest of this group represent just a small sample of the scientific geniuses who used drugs and also managed to change the world. Interestingly, most of them don’t think they would have been fully able to tap into their abilities had they not had access to the drugs.