LSD has a rocky history since it's invention in 1938 by a Swiss chemist named Albert Hoffman. It's been demonized as a terribly dangerous drug, and praised as an invaluable tool in spiritual and psychotherapeutic practice.

The incredibly powerful effects of LSD are widely documented, but there has always been a lack of scientific understanding regarding exactly what causes the profoundly altered perceptions and hallucinations. David Nutt, a former drugs advisor to the British government, recently authored a study wherein participants underwent Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) scans while under the influence of the drug.

The scans reveal changes in the activity and connectivity across regions of the brain, leading the researchers to new theories about the reasons behind the complex visual hallucinations and feelings of cosmic oneness many users experience on LSD.

Nutt describes the discoveries in this study as truly groundbreaking:

“This is to neuroscience what the Higgs boson was to particle physics. We didn’t know how these profound effects were produced. It was too difficult to do. Scientists were either scared or couldn’t be bothered to overcome the enormous hurdles to get this done.”

Read more about the study and the history of LSD over at The Guardian.

Image: Wikimedia

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Chris Cox

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