The word psychedelic roughly translates to “mind revealing”. It is derived from the Greek words “psyche” and “deloun”. It is a term used to refer to any phenomena that alters a man’s state of consciousness, cognition or perception. The psychedelics we reference in this article are psychedelic drugs/ substances.
A psychedelic drug is a hallucinogenic substance whose primary action is to alter cognition and perception, typically as a serotonin receptor agonist, causing thought and visual/auditory changes and heightened state of consciousness. Major psychedelic drugs include LSD, mescaline (peyote’s active ingredient), DMT and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Psychedelics tend to qualitatively alter the ordinary conscious experience. Whereas stimulants cause energized feelings and opioids produce a relaxed euphoric state, the psychedelic experience is often compared to non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as trance, meditation, yoga, religious ecstasy, dreaming and even near-death experiences.
The effects are usually hallucinations, vivid images, intense sounds and often greater self-awareness. Those are the hallmark effects associated with the world’s four most popular psychedelic drugs. Most psychedelic drugs fall into one of the three families of chemical compounds: tryptamines, phenethylamines, or lysergamides.
Psychedelics were wrongly classified with addictive drugs such as crack cocaine, crystal meth etc. It was banned and is only just being considered for previously ignored benefits it might possess. The benefits are below:
TREATING MENTAL DISORDERS/ TRAUMA
Psychedelics have shown promise in the treatment of mood and mental disorders such as self-destructive behavior, substance addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions. etc. The experience of a “trip” can help individuals suffering from traumas to confront their painful pasts, self-destructive behavior and fears without closing up or drawing back into their shells emotionally. The trip often leaves people in a meditative state where they can be more objective about these fears MDMA because of the complex interaction between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. They’re not emotionally numb. There are clinical trials for the controlled use of psychedelics in the treatment of these disorders.
HELP WITH ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Psychedelics have been suggested as a therapy tool to treat depression, anxiety as well as aid with self-improvement and discovery. In fact, many studies have discovered psychedelics, in one way or another, have the potential to treat depression and anxiety due to their effect on moods. It can change the mood of depressed patients and the effects can last for a long time even when the “trip” is over.
HEIGHTENED CONSCIOUSNESS AND AWARENESS
Brain imaging studies have shown that psychedelics have profound effects on neural activity. Brain function is less constrained while under the influence, which means individuals feel emotions more intensely. And the networks in the brain are far more connected, which allows for a higher state of consciousness and introspection. Ayahuasca, DMT, MDMA and psilocybin mushrooms can all take users through a wild mind-bending ride that can open up your senses and deepen your connection to the spirit world.
Research has shown that psychedelics cause a stronger communication between the parts of the brain that are normally disconnected from each other. Scientists reviewing fMRI brain scans of people under the influence discovered that psychedelics can trigger a different connectivity pattern in the brain that’s only present in a hallucinogenic state. In this condition, the brain’s functioning with less constraint and more intercommunication occurs. This is very similar to the observed pattern when the brain comes up with ideas and creative thoughts. Even famous Americans have linked their use of psychedelics to major creative breakthroughs. Steve Jobs, Tim Ferriss, Oliver Sacks to name a few. There are psychedelic films, literature, art works etc. that prove this point.
GET HIGH – LITERALLY
When under the influence, the brain is more flexible and allows people to break out of views and rigid mindsets. Participants in a study a few years back reported prolonged positive changes in attitude and mood, feelings that lasted for at least 14 months. In follow-up research, scientists determined that many of the volunteers from both studies had undergone a change in personality, something that is supposed to remain relatively fixed after 30. Participants had become more open-minded, tolerant and interested in fantasy and imagination. In another study, participants said they felt more optimistic, open-minded and intellectually curious. Beyond the studies, there is a small community of people who are using LSD to self-medicate through micro-dosing or consuming tiny portions of the drug. There’s no scientific rigor to their work. But in articles and on Internet message boards, these users claim to have experienced some success in using LSD to improve focus, concentration, memory, and creativity, helped them work harder and smarter.
While these benefits have been found, much more are still being considered. However, scientist warns that the use should be for therapeutic purposes only. Though there is no confirmed addiction to psychedelics, Scientist still caution that its use should be controlled and in micro-doses.