Despite the demonization of psychedelic drugs throughout the past two centuries, science is beginning to unearth their true potential. And according to scientists, not only are psychedelic drugs not dangerous, they could be the path to a higher state of consciousness.
During a recent study, researchers measured the activity of the brain’s neuron in otherwise healthy volunteers that were under the influence of LSD, ketamine, and psilocybin. What they found was a ‘sustained increase’ in neural signal diversity, which measured the complexity of brain activity compared to when they were in a completely sober state of mind.
They also noticed a shift in brain activity with other strange sensations among participants including thoughts of disintegrating to floating, as others claimed they had found inner peace. Some claimed that time had been distorted. According to researchers, the most notable effects of the drugs were found in the regions of the brain that governed language and movement.
“What we find is that under each of these psychedelic compounds, this specific measure of global conscious level goes up, so it moves in the other direction. The neural activity becomes more unpredictable,” said Anil Seth, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Sussex. “Until now, we’ve only ever seen decreases compared to the baseline of the normal waking state.”
Their research was published in the journal Scientific Reports just 74 years after Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman had gone on the world’s first LSD trip. During Hoffman’s trip, he took 250 micrograms of lysergic acid and asked his lab assistant to take him home on his bicycle. Once he had been told by a local doctor that he wasn’t going to die, he actually started to enjoy his trip. He even later wrote about the experience detailing imagery including some that were ‘exploding in colored fountains.’
And while these findings may be new in the realm of science, they are absolutely nothing new for the hippies that have been claiming the same notions for years. Robin Carhart-Harris, who worked on the study explained, “People tend to associate phrases like ‘a higher state of consciousness’ with hippy speak and mystical nonsense. This is potentially the beginning of the demystification, showing its physiological and biological underpinnings.”
However, within the past year or two, scientists have finally bought into the idea that psychedelic substances could be used to treat a number of mental illnesses including depression, PTSD, social anxiety, and more. And the more scientists know and understand exactly how these drugs work, the more likely they are to be useful in the medical field. Could it be? Could we one day be able to walk into our local doctor’s office and be prescribed a psychedelic experience? While it may sound a bit far-fetched, I believe that we could.