Saturday, May 13, 2023

The Science of Tripping: How Psychedelics Affect the Brain |

The Science of Tripping: How Psychedelics Affect the Brain

Psychedelics have been used for centuries for religious and spiritual purposes. However, it is only in recent years that scientists have started to study how they affect the brain. In this article, we will explore the science of tripping and how psychedelics affect the brain.

What Are Psychedelics?

Psychedelics are a class of drugs that alter perception, mood, and thought. They include substances like LSD, psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms), and DMT (found in ayahuasca).

How Do Psychedelics Affect the Brain?

Psychedelics work by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain, which leads to changes in perception, mood, and thought. Specifically, they bind to the 5-HT2A receptor, which is primarily found in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain involved in cognition, perception, and decision making.

When psychedelics bind to the 5-HT2A receptor, they increase the activity of neurons in the prefrontal cortex, which leads to changes in perception and thought. They also decrease activity in the default mode network, a group of brain regions that are active when we are not focused on the outside world, which leads to a feeling of ego dissolution or a sense of oneness with the universe.

What Are the Effects of Psychedelics?

The effects of psychedelics can vary depending on the dose, the individual, and the setting. Some of the common effects include:

  • Visual hallucinations and distortions
  • Changes in perception of time and space
  • Euphoria and feelings of wellbeing
  • Spiritual experiences and feelings of oneness with the universe
  • Increased creativity and openness to new experiences

What Are the Risks of Psychedelics?

While psychedelics have shown promise for treating mental illness and can be used safely in a controlled setting, they are not without risks. Some of the potential risks include:

  • Bad trips, which can be frightening or traumatic
  • Psychotic episodes, particularly in people with a history of mental illness
  • Flashbacks, which can occur long after using the drug
  • Physical side effects, such as nausea and vomiting

How Can Psychedelics Be Used for Therapy?

Psychedelics are typically used in a therapeutic setting, under the guidance of a trained healthcare professional. The therapy sessions may involve talking with the healthcare professional before and after the psychedelic experience, and may include activities like meditation and art therapy.


The science of tripping and how psychedelics affect the brain is still a new and evolving field. While more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of using psychedelics, the preliminary results are promising. If you are considering using psychedelics for therapeutic purposes, it is important to do so under the guidance of a trained healthcare professional.


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