The brain is a complex organ within the human body which researchers constantly study. There’s always new findings about how humans use their brains and how the brain functions. In a recent study conducted at the University of Sussex and Imperial College, London, researchers studied how the use of psychedelic drugs could heighten consciousness within the brain.
Researchers tested this by examining healthy volunteers who received LSD, ketamine, or psilocybin. From these drugs, there seemed to be more random brain activity under the influence. These researchers also measured the activity of neurons in the volunteers’ brains as the drugs went into effect. It should be noted that when people were asleep or under anaesthetics, the neurons measured tended to be less random and more predictable. In addition to researching the effects of the drugs on the brain and neurons, the scans also found that the drugs also affected perception rather than language and movement which was no surprise to the researchers. However, it’s unclear on how exactly the brain activity affects consciousness.
One researcher, Robin Carhart-Harris, says that although there’s an increase in randomness in brain activity, the activity itself reflected a deeper and richer conscious state. Don’t let a ‘richer conscious state’ be mistaken for a hippy mystical kind of trip. What Carhart-Harris means by a higher state of consciousness is that there’s now evidence to show that there are neural signatures of the mind opening. Hopefully, these new studies based on physiological and biological traits will dispel or demystify the negative stigma that these drugs may have in society.
With further research and studies being conducted on how these drugs may hold beneficial qualities, researchers hope that in the near future they will be able to conclude how neural activity correlates with varying levels of consciousness. Through this, perhaps psychiatrists and doctors will be able to predict how these psychedelic drugs will take effect in each patient thus treating mental disorders like depression.