For the very first time, modern science has caught a glimpse of what LSD does to our brains. Researchers scanned the brains of people who were high on the drug, and compared those images to the brains of participants who had only taken a placebo. The results were “trippy” to say the least, as can be seen in this photo published by researchers with the Imperial College London and the Beckley Foundation.
So what’s going on here? Those images on top show how our brains normally behave. Different parts work independently of each other, depending on what you’re doing or thinking about. On LSD however, they all start running at the same time and in a more cohesive manner. The parts of your brain that were once performing their functions separately, all start working together on the same task. The barriers between these neural networks dissipate, which explains the mind-boggling sensations and hallucinations of an LSD trip, such as synesthesia and feelings of oneness with the universe.
According to the man who led this study, Robin Cahart-Harris, “In many ways, the brain in the LSD state resembles the state our brains were in when we were infants: free and unconstrained. This also makes sense when we consider the hyper-emotional and imaginative nature of an infant’s mind.”
Cahart-Harris believes this could have huge implications for treating mental disorders, such as depression and addictions. Because LSD helps our brain’s neural networks break out of their conventional communication patterns (or put another way, it breaks down your conventional modes of thinking), the drug could help people eliminate the negative thoughts and habits that have become entrenched in their personality. Before the drug was outlawed, research in the 50’s and 60’s showed that it was a promising treatment for alcoholism.
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