LSD Might Be Good For Us

There's a gateway in the middle of your brain that prevents you from fully experiencing every sense that hits you throughout the day. Called the thalamus, it sits on top of the brain stem and decides which sensory information, including what you're hearing, what you're touching, and what you're seeing, is important and which isn't, giving the non-essential stuff the boot. Without the thalamus doing its job, your brain would be completely overloaded. Without it functioning at 100, you're as good as tripping. One of the leading theories about what LSD (a.k.a. lysergic acid diethylamide, a.k.a. acid) does is that it inhibits the thalamus's ability to act as that filter, thus propelling you into that tripping state. A study published in the scientific journal PNAS in February backs that theory up, giving us an even better idea of how LSD works. Researchers led by Katrin H. Preller, Ph.D., of the University of Zurich put 25 people on acid and monitored their brain waves. They found that LSD altered the connectivity between the thalamus and other parts of the brain—in particular, increasing connectivity with cortex areas that handle our senses. “We tested a model that tries to explain how psychedelics work in the brain based on animal studies and that had been around for about 20 years. We showed that this model holds mostly true in humans: The thalamus, which is usually filtering information, sends more information to certain areas in the cortex,” Preller told PsyPost. “This can explain why psychedelics induce the overwhelming feelings that participants report.”