This is what it's like to be on LSD

Robert Douglas/YouTube

The effects of drugs are hard to image when you're not experiencing them.

Reading a moment by moment description of someone's drunk evening is incredibly dull, especially compared to being drunk yourself.

Film and TV are often the worst offenders.

Sequences when a character are 'on drugs' usually consist of a lot of reverb, blurriness, and the colour hues on random.

Picture: Picture: 21 Jump Street (2012)

So what is it like? LSD has a reputation as a powerful hallucinogenic, and dangerous after effects.

PSHE lessons and spurious anecdotes teach us about bad trips.

Nevertheless, for those unwilling to take the plunge, curiosity about LSD persists.

Searches for LSD on NHS Choices accounted for six per cent of drug related searches

Reddit's dedicated thread revealed one repeated observation. Answers focused on an increased sense of empathy, that endured long after the trip was over, often for life.

My first time I cried because I felt so loved and I think the biggest thing I took away from my first time was I was able to understand things from other's points of views.

I believe that psychedelics have allowed me to realise that people aren't just side characters in my life and everyone has a life just as vivid, full of love and regret as my own.

From my parents to the stranger you held the door open for today.

Gained empathy is a big takeaway from my experiences.

This comment was repeated and confirmed by many.

The idea is summed up as "Sonder"

Other descriptions were more focused on the moment by moment effects of LSD.

You feel it in your stomach first. All loose and almost numb; bubbly. Then it creeps to your head and fingers and you start feeling overwhelmed with something. When you're flush in the face you can either start laughing at little things or being a little uncomfortable at little things. This all depends on your situation. It's pretty important that you don't do LSD on an empty stomach, because that always makes me feel too sick to enjoy myself.

When you're full blown in the trip you'll notice colour vibrancy is through the roof, and things will start 'breathing' visually if you stare long enough. Talking becomes difficult, but understanding is all over the place. A sense of anxiety is normal, and feeling like you have to go outside/inside is part of the process.

Child like state

A pioneering study in 2016 suggested that the feeling of well-being experienced after taking LSD is because it "completes" the brain.

Twenty people took LSD and had their brains scanned. This was the first time LSD had been tested on humans in such a context in 40 years.

The research suggested that barriers between different sections of the brain which develop as we age are broken down when under the influence of LSD.

For instance distinct sections such as vision and movement meld together.

The result is a return to an almost child like state.

Richard Cahart-Harris, who led the study explained further.

Normally our brain consists of independent networks that perform separate specialised functions, such as vision, movement and hearing - as well as more complex things like attention.

However, under LSD the separateness of these networks breaks down and instead you see a more integrated or unified brain.

Analysis of the brain scans taken of the participants when on LSD confirmed the theory.

Our results suggest that this effect underlies the profound altered state of consciousness that people often describe during an LSD experience.

It is also related to what people sometimes call 'ego-dissolution', which means the normal sense of self is broken down and replaced by a sense of reconnection with themselves, others and the natural world.

This experience is sometimes framed in a religious or spiritual way - and seems to be associated with improvements in well-being after the drug's effects have subsided.

After crowd funding £25,000 in order to study the data, the results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in April 2016.

HT Independent

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