London – Scientists at the Imperial College London found lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to reveal some insight into how the brain works under its effects. The new study published on Wednesday helped researchers break down the brain’s mechanism when LSD is consumed.

Researchers at Imperial College London named the experience following the consumption of LSD as ego dissolution. After researchers scanned the brains of a control group in comparison with the group who took LSD, the results shocked the team of scientists involved in the study. The research published on Wednesday in the journal Current Biology was based on a study involving 15 volunteers who consumed the psychedelic drug.

Scientists from the Imperial College London were able to observe for the first time the brain’s mechanism when LSD is consumed. Credit: Wikipedia

Oddly enough for volunteers, they lend themselves to be scanned after the drug made effect and patients were on a “trip.” According to the study, researchers used fMRI to investigate both global and local alterations in the brain’s functional connectivity.

This allowed scientists get useful insight on how the human brain actually works when under the effects of LSD. Interestingly enough for LSD users, the findings showed the brain enhances it’s neurons’ synapses between regions of the brain that are usually separated from each other.

In other words, these effects make the user’s brain break down the barriers of his or her sense of self, said co-author of the study Enzo Tagliazucchi. Ego dissolution can take a higher toll on many people, or as it’s commonly known, “bad trip,” as it can lead to panic and anxiety, said Enzo. However, most people using LSD has a satisfying experience with the illegal drug which is banned in the United States, as it leads them to a positive outlook on life and gives them a new perspective. Yet, the study now provides a scientific explanation of the sense of universal connection experienced when taking LSD.

Deeper into LSD’s properties

According to the study co-authored by Tagliazucchi, LSD selectively increases the global functional connectivity of higher-level integrative Cortical and Subcortical regions’. This means that regions of the brain in charge of thoughts about oneself communicate better with those brain regions involved in the perception of the outer world when on LSD.

A neuroscientist from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam, Tagliazucchi said people don’t recognize themselves as an individual, but as one with the universe. Which would help explain the sensation of freedom and peace people demonstrated when LSD was taken.

The image shows the difference in active areas between volunteers who took the placebo and others who consumed LSD. Credit: NewScientist

There’s no telling if Albert Hofmann, the first to discover and experiment with LSD, had any clue about what parts of the brain triggered the ego dissolution. However, he claimed that the world would surely benefit from using LSD on a global scale.

“A portion of the self-overflows into the outer world, into objects, which begin to live, to have another, deeper meaning,” wrote Hofmann in his book, LSD: My Problem Child.

Source: Current Biology