Researchers Find that Psychedelic Drugs Could Change Your Brain, For The Better

LSD, Psilocybin (magic mushrooms), Peyote, DMT, and Ayahuasca are all considered psychedelic drugs – hallucinogens that produce mind-altering effects. Psychedelic drugs have been said to date back to around 10,000 years ago; humans were evidenced to have used these drugs primarily for ritual ceremonies and general testing. Some research, such as that highlighted in a 2017 review titled, “Psychedelic Drug Use in Healthy Individuals: A Review of the Benefits, Costs, and Implications for Drug Policy” suggests that psychedelic drugs could indeed be beneficial for treating some mental illnesses or even improving the condition of a naturally healthy person; however, research contradicts this idea by also addressing critical concerns with drug use including alarming short and long-term side effects. There is no doubt, however, the psychedelic drugs change the brain over time.

Psychedelic drugs work specifically by acting on neurons that use serotonin – particularly in the brain’s region of the prefrontal cortex. This region is responsible for a person’s mood, cognition, and perception, which explains why all of these areas become altered when the drugs are taken. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) emphasizes that while short term effects such as intensified sensory experiences, increased heart rate and nausea can occur, long-term effects such as persistent psychosis and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) may arise.

As with any drug, psychedelic drugs can also become addictive as a person takes them more and more over time, increasing their dependence to the drug and consuming in larger doses and more frequently in order to achieve the desired effect. According to Live Science, psychedelic drugs may have the propensity to alter neuronal structure – possibly changing brain structure for the better in individuals with mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and other mood-related disorders. Psychedelic drugs are illegal, and for a good reason – scientists are still determining whether they are completely safe to use or not, and in what capacities. Stay tuned as research becomes more evident of the exact effects psychedelics can have on the human brain.

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