The Beatles On Marijuana & LSD (In Their Own Words)

As anyone who is at all familiar with The Beatles knows; all four Beatles smoked marijuana and used LSD and as you can imagine they have been quoted many times on how they feel about these drugs over the years. In this post I attempt to collect as many of those quotes as I can.

Some of these quotes are directly about their experiences while using marijuana & LSD, others are about how they feel about these drugs, and others are about how the use of these drugs influenced their music.

Ringo: Grass was really influential in a lot of our changes, especially with the writers. And because they were writing different material, we were playing differently. We were expanding in all ares of our lives, opening up to a lot of different attitudes.

Paul: One thing that he did introduce us to was pot… Bob came round to our hotel, and he said to us, “Here, try a bit of this.” It is very indiscreet to say this, because I don’t know whether Bob is telling people he turned The Beatles on to marijuana. But it was funny.

(the Bob Paul is referring to is, of course, Bob Dylan.)

John: Rubber Soul was the pot album, and Revolver the acid.

George: The first time we took LSD was an accident. It happened sometime in 1965, between albums and tours. We were innocent victims of the wicked dentist whom we’d met and had dinner with a few times.

John: Bob Dylan had heard one of our records where we said, “I can’t hide,” and he had understood, “I get high.” He came running sand said to us, “Right, guys, I’ve got some really good grass.” How could you not dig a bloke like that? He thought we were used to drugs. We smoked and laughed all night. He kept answering our phone, saying, “This is Beatlemania here.” It was ridiculous.

(the song he’s referring to is “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”)

John: We were smoking marijuana for breakfast during that period. Nobody could communicate with us; it was all glazed eyes and giggling all the time. In our own world.

(he’s referring to when they were filming the Help! movie.)

George: Suddenly I felt the most incredible feeling come over me. It was something like a very concentrated version of the best feeling I’d ever had in my whole life. It was fantastic. I felt in love, not with anything or anybody in particular, but with everything. Everything was perfect, in a perfect light, and I had an overwhelming desire to go round the club telling everybody how much I loved them – people I’d never seen before.

George: It felt as if the elevator was on fire and we were going to hell (and it was and we were), but at the same we were all in hysteric and crazy.

(in the above two quotes George was talking about the first time he did LSD.)

John: A dentist in London laid acid on George, me, and our wives. He just put it in our coffee or something… He gave us it, and he was saying, “I advise you not to leave.” We thought he was trying to keep us for an orgy in his house.

Ringo: I was actually there in the club when John and George got there shouting, “The lift’s on fire!” Acid was the best thing we could take after that!

John: George’s house seemed to be just like a big submarine I was driving.

Ringo: I’d take anything. A couple of guys came to visit us in LA, and it was them that said, “Man you’ve got to try this.” They had it in a bottle with an eye dropper and they dropped it on sugar cubes and gave it to us. That was my first trip. It was with John and George and Neil and Mal.

(that’s Neil Aspinall & Mal Evans.)

George: The first time I had acid, a light bulb went on in my head and I began to have realizations which were not simply, “I think I’ll do this,” or “I think that must be because of that.” The question and answer disappeared into each other. An illumination goes on inside: in ten minutes I lived a thousand years. My brain and my consciousness and my awareness were pushed so far out that the only way I could begin to describe it is like an astronaut on the moon, or in his space ship, looking back at the Earth. I was looking back to the Earth from my awareness.

Paul: Pot and LSD were the two other major influences. Instead of getting totally out of it and falling over, as we would have done on Scotch, we’d end up talking very seriously and having a good time till three in the morning.

John: I got home from the studio stoned out of my mind on marijuana, and, as I usually do, I listened to what I’d recorded that day. Somehow I got it on backwards and I sat there, transfixed, with the earphones on, with a big hash joint. I ran in the next day and said, “I know what to do with it, I know… Listen to this!” So I made them all play it backwards.

(he’s referring to “Rain.”)

John: We must always remember to thank the CIA and the army for LSD, by the way. Everything is the opposite of what it is, isn’t it? They brought out LSD to control people, and what they did was give us freedom.

George: If I had half a chance, I’d put acid in the Government’s tea.

Ringo: I think LSD changes everybody. It certainly makes you look at things differently. It makes you look at yourself and your feelings and emotions. And it brought me closer to nature, in a way – the force of nature and its beauty. You realize it’s not just a tree; it’s a living thing. My outlook certainly changed – and you dress differently, too!

John: I must have had a thousand trips. I just used to eat it all the time. I stopped taking it because of bad trips. I just couldn’t stand it. I dropped it for I don’t know how long, and I started taking it again just before I met Yoko.

George: I don’t think John had a thousand trips; that’s a slight exaggeration. But there was a period when we took acid a lot… After taking acid together, John and I had a very interesting relationship… John and I spent a lot of time together from then on and I felt closer to him than all the others, right through until his death. As Yoko came into the picture, I lost a lot of personal contact with John; but on the odd occasion I did see him, just by the look in his eyes I felt we were connected.

John: I think that was one of his best songs too, because the lyrics were good – and I didn’t write them…. It actually describes his experience taking acid. I think that’s what he’s talking about.

Paul: It was a song about pot, actually.

(the song that John & Paul were talking about in the above two quotes is “Got To Get You Into My Life.”)

John: I never took it in the studio. Once I did, actually. I thought I was taking some uppers and I was not in the state of handling it. I took it and I suddenly got so cared on the mic. I said, “what is it? I feel ill.” I thought I felt ill and I thought I was going cracked. I said I must go and get some air. They all took me upstairs on the roof, and George Martin was looking at me funny, and then it dawned on me that I must have taken some acid.

George: I was only 23 when we made Sgt. Pepper, and I’d already been through India and LSD and was on the road to transcendentalism. After having such an intense period of growing up much success in The Beatles and realizing that this wasn’t the answer to everything, the question came: What is it all about?” And then, purely because of the force-fed LSD experience, I had the realization of God.

Paul: I think the “Just say no” mentality is so crazed. I saw a thing in a women’s magazine the other day. “He smokes cannabis, what am I to do? He laughs it off when I try to tell him, he says it’s not really harmful…” Of course you’re half hoping the advice will be, “Well, you know it’s not that harmful; if you love him, if you talk to him about it, tell him maybe keep it in the garden shed or something,” you know, a reasonable point of view. But of course it was, “No, no, all drugs are bad. All drugs are bad. Librium’s good, Valium’s good, ciggies are good, vodka’s good. But cannabis, ooooh!” I hate that unreasoned attitude. I really can’t believe it’s 30 years since the ’60s. I find it staggering. It’s like the future, the ’60s to me, it’s like it hasn’t happened. I feel the ’60s are about to arrive. And we’re in some sort of time warp and it’s still going to happen.

BTW: As of this writing, both of The Beatles box sets are sold out on Amazon, but there is an alternative: Try

40 thoughts on “The Beatles On Marijuana & LSD (In Their Own Words)

  1. Realitysurfer

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    Features the CIA LSD Brothel in San Francisco (MK ULTRA), Groucho Marx’s LSD Trip….Doc Ellis pitches his no-hitter while high.

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  2. t.rex

    I’ve eaten handfuls of acid in my day and NEVER had a bad trip.Personally I think EVERY man and woman should take acid at least once.I feel doing so would break down many of the obstacles we as a people and as a society, put up against our fears and uncertainties.And in doing so, would make the world a much calmer, safer place to live in. An acid trip will give you more insight into the universe and God and good and evil than even the most fervent and charismatic preacher.

  3. rush

    seriously LSD did change my perspective of everything so much…sometimes i wish i never did it because it made my life so complicated…i was going somewhere and was satisfied with my direction then suddenly boom i need to go a completely differnet way…i feel though despite that it was what made me true so it was good…
    anyhow though i think George explains acid beautifully

  4. Wild Bill

    I was always amazed how open and honest John Lennon (as the rest of the Beatles) were about taking LSD but nobody would believe him when he disputed the story that Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was about LSD.

  5. Max Green

    I miss MaryJane she made me feel better-less tense and more open, but I must earn a living for my family in an an increasingly hard world,one that does not like older workers either. So I must keep myself pure for my idiot bosses. Some day it will be legal ,but now we are worried about the war and economy freedoms just another word for nothin left to lose.

  6. anonymous

    Were no strangers to love
    You know the rules and so do i
    A full commitments what Im thinking of
    You wouldnt get this from any other guy

    I just wanna tell you how Im feeling
    Gotta make you understand

    * never gonna give you up
    Never gonna let you down
    Never gonna run around and desert you
    Never gonna make you cry
    Never gonna say goodbye
    Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

    Weve know each other for so long
    Your hearts been aching
    But youre too shy to say it
    Inside we both know whats been going on
    We know the game and were gonna play it

    And if you ask me how Im feeling
    Dont tell me youre too blind to see

    (* repeat)

    Give you up. give you up
    Give you up, give you up
    Never gonna give
    Never gonna give, give you up
    Never gonna give
    Never gonna give, five you up

    I just wanna tell you how Im feeling
    Gotta make you understand

  7. Terrence

    LEGALIZE MARY JANE. Who is the government to tell me I can’t do something that I want to do? It’s none of there godamned business; same goes for Acid. God I wish I lived in the good times.

  8. Mercy

    i’m a die hard beatles fan, my friends and i have tattoos that are dedicated to the beatles. whenever we get stoned we always listen to them, or watch the movies, or even play beatles rockband! ringo is my favorite, i’m glad he’s still alive!!! but i miss george and john terribly. this page is awesome to whoever did it, kudos.

  9. We are all One.

    Oh, child. Do you know anything of the sixties other than Cannabis and LSD? Yes, both beautiful things. But, it was about peace, love, equality, and so much more. But, it was the most difficult time, riots. Crazy, scary, wild riots. And all of the rebels against happiness hurt, they hurt everyone emotionally, physicaly, mentally.

  10. LC

    It’s really sad how people must turn to drugs to feel the ways people above have described. I thankfully can without any mind alteration. Depend on drugs to feel/be free? Laughable, really.

  11. Jess

    WHat is wrong with you people? “I miss Mary Jane”? “Every man and women should take acid”
    Oh my God.
    “There’s nothing wrong with it.”

  12. Marvin Marks Post author

    What’s wrong with you Jess? What do you know about it?

    Most people who are strongly “just say no to drugs” are the people most ignorant on the subject.

  13. Joseph

    It’s funny how all these people come in here bashing drugs. Do you get sick? Do you seek medical attention? Guess what they give you? Drugs. All I have to say is try it when you’re young. I’m 20 now, 19 when I first tripped acid. The message we came out with? Do what you want. As long as it makes you happy. You don’t need to be successful. The key is happiness. Success helps, sure. But happiness… No one can take that from you. I guess it was the situation. Mood can change so quickly on LSD, so me and a good buddy of mine made sure every one got what they wanted. The most used phrase of our acid trip.. “Is that what you want?” “Do it.” LSD is fun when done right. I finished at about 17 hits of acid in a 48 hour period. Towards the end our words were straight gibberish. But I assure you we ALL understood each other clear as day. If anyone would like to chat or hear more about my psychedelic experiences feel free to email me. I’d love to swap stories with fellow trippers. Happy (and above all, safe) Tripping!

  14. LARRY

    LSD is a serious psychiatric tool and if it is being dismissed as such then such a dismissal is based on ignorance. Its main fault is that people are still relying on a pill to get themselves well.It is however extremely positive in therapy.
    The drug was banned because it wakes people up and only rarely are persons delusional. Many scientists took it, including the discoverer of DNA sequencing. Take it despite the law. It is an unjust law and we should disobey it.

  15. LARRY

    i recall the 60′s really well
    there was full employment
    you had space to do your own thing
    you could get away

    the beatles could be related to and also their creativity and experimentation was sincere and authentic
    they were never crackpots
    so i got heaps from them
    god bless john and george

  16. Led By Floyd

    Great compilation of quotes!
    I would have loved to have tripped out with The Beatles in Goerge’s house while John, The Captain, drives us into the Deep with Goerge’s Yellow Sub. Crazy 60′s.

  17. zoing33

    “I think EVERY man and woman should take acid at least once” – once again demonstrating how delusional some lsd users can be…

  18. zoing33

    I agree they were some of the most creative artists ever, but I don’t believe they needed drugs to accomplish it all. Perhaps the drugs did influence some of it, but it’s been shown time and time ago that a persons imagination can be stimulated without drugs. All of my most creative moments came when I hadn’t taken a single thing. And when I did, it was interesting, but wasn’t that amazingly great. Just amazingly weird.

  19. Mark

    Thanks to the Beatles for introducing LSD to me. I only took it a handful of times, and that was enough. It changed me for the better and made me look at the world in a different, positive way. I became more intellectually curious and spiritually aware. Like most psychedelic experiences, when the drug wears off, all you retain is the memory. But if your experience was good, it can send you on a path that doesn’t depend on drugs. In the hands of a highly trained psychiatrist, LSD could be used to treat any number of psychological disorders.

  20. GoodLife

    I am 21 years of age and have tried numerous drugs in recent years. In high school the most i did was drink and smoke pot, and i am fine with that. Upon entering college i have tried LSD, mushrooms, molly (MDMA), ecstacy, and an occasion dab of coke. I can honestly say that the last 3 are much worse for you and make you feel horrible post-usage. As for the pot, LSD, and mushrooms there was no such after-effects from usage. I never used them an excessive number of times, but to anyone who bashes, disrespects, or has never tried them i do recommend them. I will be graduating next spring with a 3.4 GPA and a mathematics degree. I am also a heavy drinker and i have found that despite all of the negative connotations towards these drugs the only negative thought that goes in my head is to those who bash them before they have tried them. Some people have their reasons why they will not try them, and that is fine. I still think that the only way to talk badly about something is to try it for yourself.

    Oh, and just for the record, still blazing, tripping and drinking to this day. Long live the Beatles and their opinions are spot on, some people need to keep their opinions to themselves especially when this is a tribute to some of the greatest musicians of all time who are just showing how successful you can be despite occasionally altering one’s mind state.

  21. kathy kj

    So glad i found this article, very interesting. Nice to hear the Beatles view on this subject…

    Sure miss the music. My fav was John Lennon, He was so deep and wanted peace.

    R.I.P John

  22. dave

    I smoke weed and listen to the Beatles every weekend or so, alone or with friends. There is simply no better band to listen to sober or not, and everyone who smokes pot should listen to The Beatles. A Hard Day’s Night, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, Help!…the greatest band ever.

  23. D

    Reading this gives me this nostalgic feeling, despite only being 19 years old. It’s so weird, I just wish I had the experience of being one of their friends, or just knowing them on a personal sort of level.

    I feel connected with them, despite not even being alive while they were around. Just thought i’d share.


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