Study: Brains on LSD Mimic Mind of a Baby


Scientists at Imperial College London have proven what LSD users have long suspected: the psychedelic drug “frees the brain to become less compartmentalized and more like the mind of a baby.” Their findings were published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.

“In many ways, the brain in the LSD state resembles the state our brains were in when we were infants: free and unconstrained,” said Robin Cahart-Harris, the scientist who led the study. “This also makes sense when we consider the hyper-emotional and imaginative nature of an infant’s mind.”

The brains of subjects lying awake with their eyes closed, under a placebo (L) and the drug LSD (R), are seen when being examined using functional MRI, in this handout image from Imperial College London and The Beckley Foundation. Scientists have for the first time scanned the brains of people using LSD and found the psychedelic drug frees the brain to become less compartmentalised and more like the mind of a baby. REUTERS/Imperial College London-The Beckley Foundation/Handout via Reuters
The brains of subjects lying awake with their eyes closed, under a placebo (L) and the drug LSD (R), are seen when being examined using functional MRI, in this handout image from Imperial College London and The Beckley Foundation. Scientists have for the first time scanned the brains of people using LSD and found the psychedelic drug frees the brain to become less compartmentalised and more like the mind of a baby. (REUTERS/Imperial College London-The Beckley Foundation/Handout via Reuters)

“For the first time, we can really see what’s happening in the brain during the psychedelic state, and can better understand why LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) had such a profound impact on self-awareness,” said David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology who worked with Carhart-Harris on the project.

“This could have great implications for psychiatry.”

The study “involved 20 healthy volunteers, each of whom received both LSD and a placebo, and all of whom were deemed psychologically and physically healthy. All the volunteers had previously taken some type of psychedelic drug.”

During controlled experiments, the volunteers were either given an injection of 75 micrograms of LSD or a placebo. Gee, imagine how much it would suck to be part of this study and get the placebo. Then, their brains were scanned using various techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG).


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Timothy Bertrand
Writer and journalist living in the Houston, Texas area. Follow me for breaking news, editorials, pictures of cats doing human activities, and other such content from around the web.

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