Field research co-led by the University of Manchester has discovered how psychedelic drugs can directly affect the communication-system of the human brain.
The discovery, published in Neuron, could mark a new era in the understanding of the way brain circuits are affected by mental and physical altered states.
Using fMRI brain scans researchers were able to observe changes (experiences) in the brain patterns related to visual processing in the context of the psychedelic experience. This included subjective reports such as ‘sense of self’ and ‘being in the moment’.”We think this will have significant implications in the ongoing political climate since the increased level of evidence indicates that psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, are present in a similar way in the brain but with a different mechanism of action. They may provide a new target for the development of anti-psychedelic drugs.
Most drugs for the treatment or prevention of alcoholism or drug dependence are central nervous system controlled acts (or ‘cocaine’), with highly addictive compounds primarily used for the duration of an intoxication,” said lead author Dr Sean Coulthard from the Centre for Psychiatric Research and Treatment Prevention at the University of Manchester.
He said: “We anticipate that the brainwave phenomenon reported in this study will be used to better understand psychedelic drugs.”β-blockers are highly addictive drugs so these drugs could be a highly popular line of treatment for those who refuse rehab, and other types of addiction. We also hope to demonstrate the way the powerful effects of psychedelics directly impact on the brain, with distinctive cognitive decreases in frontal-temporal and working memory when studying people who have used them recreationally.”However, the direct impact of psychedelic substances on neural signals in both healthy people and those with substance-use disorders is not yet clear.””We are therefore investigating the way in which hallucinogens directly impact the brain’s communication-systems in a way that is far from the purely biochemical effects of such drugs, but also with the caution of side-effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.”