This is what happens to your brain on LSD

This is what happens to your brain on LSD

A good trip can make users feel relaxed and happy, but a bad trip can make you feel agitated and confused, with unpleasant and scary hallucinations.

But what really happens to your brain when you take hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD?

LSD affects multiple brain receptors including the dopamine, adrenergic and glutamate receptor and the serotonin receptor (that's the one that affects happiness levels). LSD hits the receptor at an unexpected angle, forcing it to create a lid and "trapping" the LSD in, leading to continual hallucination for up to 12 hours.

LSD was first synthesised in 1938 by Swiss chemist, Albert Hoffman, from a fungus that grew on rye. He accidentally got high when he absorbed a small amount of the drug through his finger tips - and became the first person in the world to research the drug.

Research became widespread in the 1960s but slowed down after the drug was made illegal.

Recent studies using neuro-imaging techniques have shown that LSD makes parts of the brain communicate in unique ways. In the visual cortex especially, which leads to strong changes in visual consciousness known as "ego-dissolution" or the feeling that user is disconnected to the world.

Users also can see long-term affects, two weeks after being dosed, they scored higher for the traits of optimism, openness, creativity and imagination. Other positive side affects can be reducing anxiety and increasing alertness, which is a reason why a trend of 'micro-dosing' is emerging. Micro-dosing involves users taking tiny doses of the drugs in order to get the positive side affects without the "trip".

It's an incredibly powerful drug, whereas most drugs as measured in grams, LSD is measured in 1/100,000th of a gram, the equivalent of 1/10th of the mass of a grain of sand.

Permanent hallucinations are a possible and life-altering effect of the drug’s use. Hallucinogen Persisting Perceptive Disorder is considered to be a complex hallucinogen-induced psychosis that feels like a "permanent trip".

According to Talk To Frank both good and bad trips occur on the drug.

Bad trips gives some users feelings of panic, confusion, sadness, and scary images. It’s nearly impossible to predict who will experience a good trip and who will experience a bad trip, but every person will experience physical bodily changes. Dilated pupils, increased heart rate and blood pressure, trembling, uncontrollable shaking, sweating, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite are all frequently reported effects.

For more information visit NHS Choices or Talk to Frank.

More: This man on LSD saved a dog from an imaginary fire

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