Scientists Show What LSD Does to Your Consciousness

Major results have been published in reference to LSD, ultimately affecting our consciousness. A thorough imagery examination of the brain during the psychedelic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide, displayed an increased connectivity between the brain’s visual cortex and other brain regions.

For any study to be relevant, placebo subjects were involved and their brain imagery revealed as anticipated, noticeably lower regional cerebral connectivity. This experiment focuses on the biological phenomenon of consciousness.

David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London had precedently investigated the neural effects of psychedelic drugs, like the psilocybin found in magic mushrooms, which represents one of Nutt’s main researches. Following the study on LSD and psilocybin alike, he confirmed the psychedelic drugs’ benefits over therapeutic appliances, by altering the initial state of the brain.

low_LSD visual hal imahe

Under the influence of LSD, the brain’s visual cortex has increased connectivity with other brain regions (right) than when imaged under placebo (left).

The use of LSD for therapy takes us back to 1950-1960s, when thousands of patients were treated for alcoholism, which recorded an overall success with no future recidivism. A recollective analysis of some of these studies sustained LSD’s efficiency in overcome alcohol addiction, yet since 1970s, only animal trials were conducted, which is ironical since only humans face the ravaging effects of alcoholism.

LSD’s potential in therapeutical applications had been studied along with other hallucinogens, but because of the unjustified hysteria, resulting in world wide restrictions and severe politics concerning the possession and consumption. Adding up to the already difficult situation, LSD was classified in most countries as having no medical value.

National laws and United Nations conventions stipulate that as long as the drug is not used for its therapeutic properties, LSD research studies can be carried with minimal restraints.

In 2014, Safra Foundation and Beckley Foundation funded a study in Cardiff, UK, where volunteers acquainted with LSD had their brains scanned for eight hours straight, while under the influence of the substance. During the full psychedelic effects of LSD, the partakers were put through an extensive series of tests.

The most remarkable result was the communication between brain regions that usually do not behave so, playing a major role in the vivid and complex visual hallucinations along with the emotional state during the high of LSD.

Other research projects have the possibility of conducting tests using magic mushroom’s psilocybinsince it is certain to have similar effects, but half the high duration of maximum 4 hours, which seems a fair trade. Also, it is confirmed that psilocybin is an excellent cure for depression, on the other hand, the areas of the brain that work by default in constant synchronization, on both LSD and psilocybin was observed a reversed reaction, correlated to the disintegration of the participants’ sense of self – also known “ego dissolution”: a profound feeling of spiritual merging with the surrounding people and things.

As a proof of the society’s bigotry, this experiment took place after 9 months of waiting for approval from an ethics committee.

Music is another factor that highly enhances LSD’s psychedelic experience. Mendel Kaelen, PhD student at Imperial College London, recently published a study in European Neuropsychopharmacology focusing on the decreased communication between the parahippocampus and the visual cortex, while under LSD. However, music is proved to greatly improve the relation between the memory storage region and the visual data processor from the eyes.

Despite the severe politics on LSD and psilocybin world wide, the only known group to be officially approved to work with LSD in human test subjects, lead by Franz Vollenweider, at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Vollenweider clarified the pharmacological targets of LSD by the means of antagonists that blocked the drug’s psychedelic behavior.


  1. nature



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