In 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman accidentally ingested a compound he developed in his laboratory. 

In his memoir, published years later, Hoffman said he immediately felt that the substance might hold enormous potential in the branches of "pharmacology, in neurology, and especially in psychiatry."

Yet for decades, the full potential of Hoffman's discovery – lysergic acid diethylamide, more popularly known as "LSD" – was largely lost to medical science. Research on psychedelics stagnated as a result of political opposition to the anti-establishment counterculture associated with the drug in the late 20th century.

Now, almost 80 years after Hoffman's unintentional trip, clinical trials of psychedelics – mind-altering compounds including LSD – are flourishing, as pharmaceutical firms race to make up for years of lost opportunity and explore their potential for tackling conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. 

In some cases, scientists and patients are saying that these substances bring more hope of treatment for these conditions than anything else currently on the market. 

Yet, researchers and clinicians caution that, despite the early promise, treatment remains far from straightforward.

To find out whether psychedelics can really work as treatments for PTSD, depression, and other ailments, researchers are testing them in clinical trials. If these trials succeed, they could pave the way for psychedelics to be prescribed as medicines by doctors.

Insider has identified 18 trials that could shape the future of the psychedelics industry by providing crucial information about whether these compounds work.

Click here to see our interactive tracker monitoring these clinical trials. The tracker is available exclusively to Insider subscribers.

Read the original article on Business Insider