Psychedelic drugs have been a curious subject for many researchers, especially when it was banned in the 1960s. After that period, however, studies on LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) started looking into the potential of the drug, its effects and therapeutic benefits in treating addiction and mental illnesses.
Researchers from Imperial College London have released brain scans showing neural activity of people who used LSD. The brain images of people high on the psychedelic drug reveal the possible beneficial use of LSD in therapies.
The research showed what happens to the brain of a person experiencing the effects of LSD. It also used vital brain scanners to track the blood flow in the brain of the participants.
'Seeing With Eyes Shut': Communication Between Visual Cortex And Other Brain Areas
There is communication taking place between the visual cortex and other areas of the brain of a person under the influence of LSD, the findings showed. This is also the part responsible for vivid hallucinations and altered emotional states.
"We observed brain changes under LSD that suggested our volunteers were 'seeing with their eyes shut' – albeit they were seeing things from their imagination rather than from the outside world," said Robin Carhart-Harris, one of the authors of the study from Imperial.
"We saw that many more areas of the brain than normal were contributing to visual processing under LSD – even though the volunteers' eyes were closed. Furthermore, the size of this effect correlated with volunteers' ratings of complex, dreamlike visions," Carhart-Harris added.
Music And Visual Imagery
In addition to these findings, Mendel Kaelen, also from Imperial, had an earlier study suggesting the effects of music on people who took LSD.
This study showed that the virtual cortex receives information from the parahippocampus while listening to music. This creates even more visual imagery and reminds the individual of experiences even when his or her eyes are closed.
Kaelen added that the major focus of the study is to develop more therapeutic approaches for treating depression with the help of music and a dose of LSD given properly.
"This could have great implications for psychiatry, and helping patients overcome conditions such as depression," said David Nutt, the study's senior researcher.
Further experiments will be conducted on LSD's effect on creativity and dreams.
The experts published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.