This is how LSD creates sleep states while awake
Psychedelic substances such as LSD They have always been involved in the controversy about its use, but there is no doubt that its effect on the organism reveals interesting aspects about the human brain.
Many people who habitually use these drugs, in fact, assure that under their influence they notice that they access other planes of reality. It's not just that they see strange things, impossible things; is that they really believe that, in their own way, the world they can see, touch and hear exists, and remains hidden when they do not use these substances.
This phenomenon is very similar to what happens when we dream. At the end of the day, the dream events, however surreal they may seem objectively, at the time seem valid to us, and we rarely question them just when we perceive them. But a recent investigation has revealed that the similarity between the effect of LSD and dreams goes beyond of this similarity.
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The effects of psychedelics
The use of the psychedelic drug LSD, well known for its recreational use in areas such as concerts or music clubs, it makes the world of those who consume it change completely for several hours at a time. It changes everything that is seen around, but they also change the beliefs and ideas that one has about oneself (that is, self-concept).
This powerful effect on the minds of people is, in part, a mystery to be unveiled. The interaction between drugs and the human brain is a very complex process, and it is very difficult to distinguish what exactly what is happening in our brain when LSD is used .
Fortunately, a study carried out by a team of scientists from the University of Zurich has found the causes behind the states of consciousness similar to the dreams that appear after the consumption of LSD.
This group of researchers has been working to know the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances known to generate hallucinations, that is, that they cause altered states of consciousness . Specifically, they focused on the effects of LSD, which last between 12 and 17 hours, and those of psilocybin, another similar substance whose effects are noted for about 4, 5 or 6 hours.
And although we use the term "drugs" to refer to several substances, their mechanisms of action are often very different, and those of psychedelic substances, in particular, are easily distinguishable from those of consumables such as cannabis or alcohol. Now ... what is it exactly that makes wakeful dreams appear after taking LSD?
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The therapeutic potential of LSD
The study conducted by these Swiss researchers was carried out with the participation of 25 volunteers, some of whom received only a placebo. Generating the phenomenon to be studied in laboratory conditions (the effect of LSD on the nervous system, these scientists analyzed the data obtained and published their conclusions in the scientific journal Psychopharmacology.
Rainer Kraehenmann, a member of the team of researchers who conducted the study, points out that the measurement of altered states of consciousness, comparable to the dream episodes that we experience when dreaming , were measured from the marker called cognitive surrealism from descriptions in real time about what is experienced.
But what people who have taken LSD live does not simply consist of strange events. These experiences are much more vivid that what an adult without diagnosed mental disorders lives without the effects of a drug, and also a clear pattern of thought appears less relational, in a way creative and less restricted to rigid schemes.
Precisely these last properties are what make LSD a potentially useful tool in some therapies , especially with those in which a pattern of thought is fought in which perceived limits generate anxiety.
How do dream states appear with LSD?
It's been known for years that LSD it acts by potentiating the effect in the brain of a neurotransmitter called serotonin . Neurotransmitters are microscopic elements that neurons use to communicate with each other, and LSD causes the receptors of these nerve cells to capture a greater number of these tiny particles.
Kraehenmann and his colleagues have made this hypothesis about the functioning of LSD in neurons more detailed, noting that a drug called ketanserin blocks the oneiric potential of LSD. Ketanserin cancels the working capacity of serotonin 2A receptors , so that it prevents the possibility that external substances magnify the effects of the neurotransmitter.
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