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Free Your Mind?: Your Brain on LSD
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Free Your Mind?: Your Brain on LSD

  • LSD was first manufactured in 1938 to treat psychiatric disorders
    • Scientists in the 50s and 60s used the drug to investigate treatments for mental illnesses and basic neuroscience purposes
    • As recreational use boomed and soon most countries were pushing to criminalize the drug
    • The Controlled Substances Act of 1970
      • Declared that LSD and other psychoactive drugs off limits for medical use in the US
      • Classifying LSD as a schedule 1 drug in the US and UK, aka, the most restrictive drug class

What’s Happening Inside Your Brain on an LSD Trip?

  • LSD makes your brain a lot more active
    • Normal Brain Conditions
    • Info from eyes is processed in the visual cortex at the back of the brain
    • Brain on LSD
      • Hallucinogenic state showed that almost the entire brain lit up with activity
  • LSD allowed volunteers to see inside their imagination with their eyes shut
    • Physically: Causes regions of the brain to become further connected
      • Visual cortex is much more active with the rest of the brain
      • Blood flow to visual regions is increased
      • Results show that increased blood flow directly correlates with complex hallucinations and an altered state of consciousness
  • Mentally: Increases the connection between two regions of the brain that deal with
    • How we perceive ourselves
    • How we perceive our environment
    • Researchers believe that this connection causes “ego-dissolution” or a shift of consciousness from the self towards the surrounding universe

Scientists have waited 50 years to see how LSD is actually altering our brain’s biology

Can LSD Free Your MindLiterally?
Scientists believe that these findings will pave the way to treating illnesses
where negative thought patterns have become embedded

  • Psychedelic means “mind revealing”
    • Psychedelic drugs can naturally reveal aspects of the mind that are normally hidden in our subconscious
  • Groundbreaking treatments for patients with depression, PTSD, and addiction
    • Rigid, inflexible patterns of thinking are associated with many mental illnesses
    • LSD allows the brain to communicate in an open, flexible, and more unified manner
  • Holistic approach to LSD therapy
    • Establish trust between patient/therapist beforehand
    • Prepare patient with realistic expectations before drug treatment
    • Guide patient through treatment experience
    • Discuss insights that arose during the LSD experience
  • Music coupled with LSD may be a powerful therapeutic combination
    • Studies show that listening to music while taking LSD stimulated brain areas involved in mental imagery and
    • People reported seeing complex eyes-closed visions and scenes from their lives

Researchers believe a synergy between LSD drug treatment and assisted psychotherapy exists that could have great implications for psychiatric world.

Psychedelic Drugs Have Already Shown
Positive Therapeutic Effects for Cancer Patients

  • In 2014, scientists used LSD talk therapy to decrease anxiety in cancer patients about death
    • 10 hour supervised therapy sessions or “trips” were performed 30 times over the course of two months
    • Patients were able to address their memories and emotions evoked by the drug treatment
    • 20% improvement of anxiety levels was recorded in patients who had received a full dose of LSD (200 micrograms) one year later

Will more work in this area help us understand how LSD use has impacted music, art, and self-awareness?  You decide.

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