Nature has a treasure trove of medicinal plants which, if exploited in a wise manner, can surpass the medical benefits of even the most researched and developed conventional medicines.

However, these same plants can also be used in other ways, as the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA) discovered when they started to experiment with psychedelics…

Many psychedelic plants contain a conglomerate of substances that are biologically active, and lead to a variety of symptoms when consumed by humans. Furthermore, lab developed drugs like lysergic acid diethyl-amide (LSD) also proved to provide very unique experiences.

LSD was first synthesized by Dr. Albert Hoffman in the year 1938 in Switzerland, but the true effects of LSD were discovered five years later when Hoffman accidentally ingested the chemical. Over the next several years, many different experiments were carried out on a small and secretive scale.

Then, in 1950, the CIA launched their secret program codenamed ‘MKUltra,’ which is also known as the ‘CIA mind control program.’ This project was originally intended to find a way to get spies from enemy states (the Soviet Union at the time) to divulge secretive information, and hopefully defect from their home country.

What began as a small scale project quickly ballooned into a $100 million dollar (in today’s money) massive experiment. Over 80 different institutions, which included universities, hospitals, prisons, and pharmaceutical companies, administered LSD to an unknown number of unsuspecting human test subjects.

Yes, that’s right, the people who were receiving LSD usually had no idea what was being given to them. Furthermore, these same people were also put through a variety of complicated tests and scenarios so the CIA could observe the reactions that different subjects had in different situations.

And it doesn’t stop there… In addition to the thousands of unsuspecting human test patients, animals were also used in the study. One experiment involved the implanting of devices into the body of a dog, then with the combination of psychedelics, the actual movement and decision processes of the animal could be controlled by an outside source.

While the vast majority of the findings from MKUltra are still highly classified, over the past couple of decades new information has been released. In 1977, 20,000 documents were declassified, which provided a preview of what was going on internally. And as recently as 2018, even more information was made public (with certainly much more that we’ll probably never know about).

The degree to which the CIA pushed the limits with the experimentation of psychedelics has scarred the reputation of these drugs for nearly a century. However, with new experiments and use cases being explored for the implementation of psychedelics, that reputation may being to change.

Depression, addiction, PTSD, pain management, and dozens of other ailments that humans and animals can experience all may benefit from the conservative and controlled consumption of certain psychedelics. In the years to come, we may find that there are unbelievably beneficial side effects from the responsible consumption of these once feared psychedelic substances.