It’s always fascinating to look back in history and see where drugs have come from and how they have been used.

One of the most interesting stories as far as drug history is concerned relates to LSD and the CIA. LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide) is a powerful hallucinogen which can produce significant changes in perception, mood and thought.

Only a very small amount is needed to cause visual hallucinations and distortions. These experiences are known as trips.

In the late 1940s the CIA began a program which examined the possibility of the use of interrogation drugs and truth serums by the US military.

They experimented with a wide range of substances including caffeine, barbiturates, peyote and cannabis. Part of this program actually involved trying to get subjects to kill while under hypnosis, much like what was depicted in the 1960s movie The Manchurian Candidate.

By 1953 a project named MK-ULTRA was authorised by the CIA to perfect mind-control drugs.

One of the most controversial components of the program was Operation Midnight Climax. This involved using LSD surreptitiously on the street to gauge its effects.

The CIA employed drug-dependent prostitutes to pick up men from bars and then take them back to a CIA-financed brothel. Unknowing customers were given drinks laced with LSD while officers watched and documented every moment behind two-way mirrors.

At the time, LSD was seen as one of the best possible weapons for the future with the Army Chemicals Corps believing that spiking a city’s water supply with acid and taking over would be far more humane that dropping an atom bomb on it.

Following on from LSD, the American army developed a new drug, quinuclidinyl benzilate, or BZ, which was named a super hallucinogen.

This drug sounds really out there as it affected those who used it for three days, with some symptoms such as headaches, giddiness, auditory and visual hallucinations, and maniacal behaviour reported to have lasted for as long as six weeks.

It is believed that 2,800 soldiers were exposed to BZ through the duration of the program, most of them knowingly.

We appear to be seeing a resurgence of interest in LSD, with people using tabs, sugar cubes and even liquid LSD. In the 1960s the potency of the drug was extremely high, each trip containing approximately 250 micrograms of LSD.

Nowadays the acid experience is far more manageable, with the average potency of a tab being roughly 50 micrograms, although we are now hearing of far higher doses being available.

Hallucinogenic drugs are not for everyone -“ many fear the loss of control and the length of intoxication that are part of this often extreme experience. Once you go tripping, you’re really in for the long haul -“ if you have a bad trip you will just have to ride it out.

Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug and, no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?

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