Neuroscience studies show that LSD “frees brain activity from anatomical restrictions”
According to NeuroImage, new research has shown that LSD’s psychedelic effects may cause functional connectivity and brain structure to be less strong. This study also shows that LSD can increase the complexity of segregated brain state.
These findings offer new insight into the relationship between consciousness and brain function.
Studies of consciousness usually focus on the loss of consciousness, such as sleep, anesthesia or coma. We believe that it is possible to gain insights by studying altered states of consciousness such as LSD-induced psychedelic states.
Consciousness is thought to be the integration of multiple brain networks and subnetworks. Researchers sought to understand how these patterns of brain connectivity changed over time with the help of LSD.
Luppi and his associates used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the brain connectivity and structural structure of 15 healthy volunteers in two different sessions. Participants were administered a placebo during one session. They were then given LSD active doses during the second session.
“Neurons that fire together, wire together” is the norm. However, the researchers discovered that LSD caused brain activity to be “less constrained than normal by the presence or lack of an underlying anatomy connection.”
“We know that brain structure can have a significant influence on brain function in normal circumstances. This relationship is weaker when LSD is used. Structure makes function less constrained. Luppi explained that this is almost the exact opposite of anesthesia.
According to the study’s authors, LSD influenced the brain in a way that allowed it to explore functional connectivity patterns beyond the ones imposed by anatomy. This could have led to the unusual beliefs and experiences that were reported by the researchers during the psychedelic experience. It also reflected an increase in functional complexity.
Luppi explained to PsyPost that “Integration of information and segregation are fundamental properties of brain functioning: We found LSD does not effect them equally but has specific effects on each.” These changes in brain integration or segregation also fluctuated over time and were associated with subjective experiences.
One example is the feeling of losing your sense of self in a psychedelic experience. This phenomenon, also known as “ego death” or “ego dissolution”, was linked to a high level of global integration.
Luppi stated that this is a relatively new area in neuroscience and that more research will be required to understand the effects LSD and other psychoactive drugs on brain function. “A better understanding of the effects of LSD and other psychedelics on brain function may help to identify potential clinical applications, such as ongoing research at the Centre for Psychedelic Research (London).
He said that studying psychoactive substances provides a unique opportunity in neuroscience. We can not only study their effects on brain chemistry but also at the level brain function and subjective experiences. “In particular, the mind and brain are never static. We are discovering that the journey is just as important as the destination when it comes to brain function, its evolution over time, and brain function.