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What Happens To Your Brain When You’re On Psychedelics

What Happens To Your Brain When You're On Psychedelics

What Happens To Your Brain When You’re On Psychedelics

What Are Psychedelic Drugs?

Psychedelic drugs, also referred to as hallucinogens, are a class of drugs that affect mood, energy levels, perception, and cognition. They are frequently used by persons seeking spiritual experiences What Happens To Your Brain When You’re On Psychedelics.

They may be plant-based, like DMT, or chemical-based, like ketamine. Although psychedelics are frequently used recreationally, some drugs are being investigated as a potential cure1 for illnesses such post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.

The effects of various psychedelics on a person’s brain differ. The typical immediate and long-term effects of numerous key chemicals are listed here.


The hallucinogen lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which is produced chemically, was originally created in the 1930s.

In the 1950s and 1960s, several psychiatrists looked into it as a potential remedy, and more recently, it has been researched to help with the symptoms of many mental diseases What Happens To Your Brain When You’re On Psychedelics.

How LSD Affects the Brain

According to studies, LSD can lessen the left amygdala’s (the area of the brain that processes emotions) sensitivity to arousing stimuli in the short term. Additionally, it can improve empathy and boost communication between normally disconnected brain regions. The primary visual cortex is connected to other brain regions by LSD, which may be the cause of hallucinations What Happens To Your Brain When You’re On Psychedelics.

16 volunteers took a single dosage of LSD and provided updates one and twelve months later in one long-term study. The participants noted higher levels of happiness, benevolence, and optimism after a year. Ten of the 14 people who were still present said that using LSD was among their most memorable experiences.


These results imply that persistent alterations in perception, emotion, and behaviour may result from sustained alternations in brain connection. However, further research is needed to determine LSD’s precise effects on brain activity.


Anesthetic ketamine is being investigated more and more as a successful treatment for depression that is unresponsive to other forms of therapy.

How Ketamine Affects the Brain

Ketamine has been shown in neuroimaging studies to boost reward-related brain activity and reduce self-monitoring activity.

Ketamine can cause symptoms similar to those of psychosis, according to certain research. One finding involved giving 27 subjects intravenous ketamine and asking them to self-report symptoms resembling psychosis using the Psychotomimetic States Inventory (PSI). Many of them reported increases in measurements like mania, perceptual distortion, and delusional thinking.

Ketamine use may have increased dangers over time. In one study, long-term ketamine usage (both for recreational and medical reasons) was linked to memory and executive functioning problems.


Psilocybin, a naturally occurring hallucinogen, is present in a particular kind of fungus called magic mushrooms.

How Psilocybin Affects the Brain

Psilocybin may help people feel less anxious and happier, according to studies. A 75 mg dose of psilocybin was administered to 12 subjects, and they were evaluated one day, one day after, and one month thereafter. When compared to the starting point, individuals reported more positive feelings and less anxiety after a month. 8

Over time, psilocybin might also be advantageous. In one trial, psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was given to cancer patients, and after 4.5 years, 60% to 80% of the subjects fulfilled the standards for clinically meaningful declines in anxiety and sadness.


Dimethyltryptamine, also referred to as DMT, is a hallucinogenic compound that occurs naturally in both plants and animals, including humans.

The hallucinogen found in the South American plant ayahuasca, which is utilised in rituals, is DMT. Compared to other psychedelics, its effects endure for only approximately an hour.

How DMT Affects the Brain

DMT may provide a range of results in the immediate future. According to one study, DMT has the ability to reduce anxiety and elicit positive emotions when used recreationally. However, DMT can also cause severe cardiovascular distress and, in some people, can cause paranoia.

Many participants in a study that examined the brain scans of regular ayahuasca users reported improvements in spiritual experiences. These results are constrained because they are correlational, and additional study is needed to ascertain DMT’s long-term effects in a controlled environment.


DMT’s long-term effects include structural alterations in the brain regions in charge of paying attention, along with varying accounts of personality changes.


Cacti plants in the southwest of the United States, Mexico, and South America naturally contain mescaline. Native Americans have always utilised it, like DMT, in ceremonial rites and to treat certain health afflictions.

How Mescaline Impacts the Brain

One study that examined the acute effects of mescaline on frequent users discovered that it caused self-reported reductions in anxiety, PTSD, and depressive symptoms.

Low Potential for Abuse

There are few long-term studies on the effects of mescaline use. However, one study noted that mescaline consumption had a minimal potential for misuse and can improve mental health when compared to other psychedelics.


Ecstasy or “molly,” methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a synthetic substance. Since the 1970s, it has gained popularity at music festivals and raves. When compared to other psychedelics, ecstasy has a higher potential for abuse.

How Ecstasy Affects the Brain

The neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin are released by ecstasy which causes an immediate feeling of pleasure.

Serotonin is linked to feelings of happiness and calmness, whereas dopamine is responsible for motivation and rewards.

The effects of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy on PTSD sufferers are being studied by researchers. Findings suggest that participants’ symptoms are still getting better a year after taking two or three doses of 75 mg to 125 mg.

However, some sources have noted that ecstasy use over an extended period of time can result in memory loss and depressed symptoms.

Neuronal Damage Is Possible

Unfortunately, research has shown that the aberrant modulation of brain transmitters that occurs while using ecstasy, along with increased oxidative stress, can cause neuronal damage.

Getting Help

While there is evidence that some psychedelics offer therapeutic benefits, it’s crucial to remember that they have only been shown in clinical settings and at specified dosages.

Long-term misuse or abuse of psychedelics can result in a number of negative effects, such as persistent psychosis, visual hallucinations, paranoia, distorted thinking, and Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, which can cause recurrent hallucinations or flashbacks more than a year after drug use.

Speak to your doctor about getting treatment if you or someone you know is battling with psychedelic usage. This will frequently need both medicine to treat psychological symptoms and cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) to alter thought habits.