LSD, psilocybin and even dissociative ketamine all produce a "superior" state of consciousness
Researchers, psychonauts and abstainers have instead referred to thepsychedelic experience as an "expanded" state of mind. And that for many years ... The terminology of being "High" implies a form of consciousness for a time that is low ... Now, for the first time, researchers have found neurological evidence to support this view. Psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin (the hallucinogenic mushrooms), and dissociative ketamine produce a "higher" state of consciousness.
A state of "higher" consciousness
In a study conducted at the University of Sussex and Imperial College London, scientists found that psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin, and even dissociative ketamine all produce a "higher" state of consciousness. But what does that mean?
Previous research has shown that measures of "neural signal diversity" in the brain change with "level" of consciousness. In other words, the neural network becomes more unpredictable and random as a person becomes more conscious. For example, someone who is awake and alert will display more unpredictable neural patterns than someone who is sleeping. A sleeping brain, in turn, shows greater complexity and randomness than a more unconscious brain. Like someone who has been "high" in general anesthesia (dissociative ketamine).
The new study shows, for the first time, that people undergoing a psychedelic experience exhibit greater neural diversity than people who are awake and sober. Neurologically speaking, hitting yourself a (big) "high" really puts you in a higher state of consciousness. No other class of substances has shown sensitization. At least that way ... Many other drugs can decrease neural diversity, making brain activity easier and more predictable. But none have been known to raise it above the level of sober consciousness.
Changes in neural complexity on three different substances: psilocybin, ketamine and LSD. Yellow, orange, and red indicate regions with increased neural complexity compared to sober consciousness.
An “anniversary” study
The study was published in Scientific Reports April 19. This is exactly 74 years since a Swiss chemist named Albert Hofmann first discovered the properties of LSD. A date marked in the calendar of all LSD enthusiasts. April 19 is known as “Bicycle Day” because Hofmann, overwhelmed with kaleidoscopic visions and strong emotions, had to be helped at home by a colleague of his. A decisive moment in psychedelic history… Bicycle Day is celebrated today with parades, conferences, but also trips to LSD…
Robin Carhart-Harris, one of the study's authors and head of Psychedelic Research at Imperial College, London, is no stranger to groundbreaking psychedelic research. He quotes in The Guardian :
“People tend to associate phrases like 'a higher state of consciousness' with hippie talk and mystical nonsense,” he said - “This is potentially the start of debunking, showing its physiological and biological foundations… Maybe it's a neural signature of the opening of the mind ”.
Scientists once speculated on a 2013 study . In particular, the fact that LSD shows results similar to those of psilocybin. Decreased blood flow to key regions of the neural network increases connectivity. It will also be interesting to see if LSD puts the brain into a state that resembles a 'dream', as the psilocybin (hallucinogenic mushrooms).