Experts have the first solid evidence that drugs such as LSD can help one obtain a higher level of consciousness.
LSD, ketamine and the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, psilocybin, increased neural signal diversity in the magnetic fields of the brain.
Professor Anil Seth, co-director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at Sussex University, said: “This finding shows that the brain on psychedelics behaves very differently from normal.
“During the psychedelic state, the electrical activity of the brain is less predictable and less ‘integrated’ than during normal conscious wakefulness – as measured by ‘global signal diversity’.
“Since this measure has already shown its value as a measure of ‘conscious level’, we can say that the psychedelic state appears as a higher ‘level’ of consciousness than normal – but only with respect to this specific mathematical measure.”
Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, from the University of Auckland, said: “That similar changes in signal diversity were found for all three drugs, despite their quite different pharmacology, is both very striking and also reassuring that the results are robust and repeatable.”
The experts hope, according to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, that the discovery could be used help treat conditions such as depression.
Dr Robin Cahart-Harris, of Imperial College London, said: “Rigorous research into psychedelics is gaining increasing attention, not least because of the therapeutic potential that these drugs may have when used sensibly and under medical supervision.
“The present study’s findings help us understand what happens in people’s brains when they experience an expansion of their consciousness under psychedelics.
“People often say they experience insight under these drugs – and when this occurs in a therapeutic context, it can predict positive outcomes.
“The present findings may help us understand how this can happen.”
Source : EXPRESS