Have you been done LSD and wondered why your brain was creating the trip you were on? Of course you haven’t. You were too busy, you know, being on an acid trip. Well, luckily for the rest of us, researchers at the National Academy of Sciences have been pondering what exactly makes our brains create what it is we think we’re seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting, driving, flying, making pancakes with while Abe Lincoln dances in a thong and nothing else…
Don’t judge me. Everyone’s trip is personal, man.
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At any rate, the NAS published a study today that seems to support an emerging theory that when you fry balls, you’re basically experiencing sensory overload.
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According to the study, in short, a brain on LSD does funky things to its thalamus. What’s a thalamus you say? Don’t make a lame joke about how it’s not something you carry to school in your lunch box, filled with soup, or milk? Okay fine. I’ll just imply the joke through contextual subtext of this paragraph and state plainly:
The thalamus is what makes our brains process the sensory impressions that are necessary to function, and stop the ones that we need to ignore. The thalamus/LSD connection theory dates back about 11 years and posits that if our thalamus stops functioning, our brains quickly have to process far more information and that, well, freaks our brains out, and our trip is what our brains are processing without thalamus filtration.
The PNAS study took a hard look at how LSD and the thalamus play with each other. The study was done in hopes of finding ways to understand things like schizophrenia and depression because they similar effects on our brains as LSD trips. It’s tremendously good news if you ask me that our government is funding LSD research, but it would be nice if that would force another look at the war on drugs in general.
With the current administration, it’s nice that these studies are getting published at all, I suppose. Though, with Sessions out, hopefully more studies like these will force states to release non-violent inmates only serving time for sale or possession of LSD or weed. If we can study it with our tax dollars, we shouldn’t be incarcerating people for using it in their own homes, should we?
It’s all about serotonin.
Dr. Katrin Preller led the PNAS study that took groups who took a dose of LSD and then either blocked the brain’s serotonin receptors with a drug called ketanserin or let the brain go on the trip without any interference. Serotonin is greatly impacted on LSD trip, and Dr. Keller and her team tested the theory that if they kept someone’s thalamus free from serotonin interference, it might have an impact on their trip.
What the study found was that the people they gave the serotonin blockers to didn’t report any typical symptoms of a psychedelic trip. The PNAS study further identified the relationship between the posterior cingulate cortex — or PCC — and the thalamus during an acid trip. When you’re riding the snake, your brain is more heavily influenced by your PCC.
This wasn’t part of the study, but part of me wonders if you take a drug that increased your brain’s creation of serotonin, if that’s how you experience that boat trip scene from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.