Psychedelics: The scientific renaissance of mind-altering drugs


Psychedelics work by fitting into the Serotonin 52A receptor site. LSD fits the site better than Serotonin itself. They increase the receptor activity.

Default Mode Network activity is brought down on drugs. Some function of Default Mode Network are...

  • Self reflection
  • Theory of mind
  • Ability to impute mental states to others
  • Mental time travel - ability to think backward and forward in time
    • This is central to your identity
    • As identity is made of memories.
  • Autobiographical memory : function of creating the story of who we are

If we can say that the ego has a location in the brain, it would be the default mode network.

Its very active when you are doing nothing - its where self talk takes place. Default Mode Network regulates a lot of other parts of the brain - when drugs dials it down the rest of the brain is "let of the leash". Networks in the brain that don't generally communicate directly starts communicating directly. This can have an effect of jolting the brain out of bad habits.

Psychedelic Experience is a period of increased reactivity to external and internal stimuli. There is this increased suggestibility - we dissolve the boundaries that keeps us from being flooded by sensory information. "Programming the Psychedelic Experience", Timothy Leery

For some people, taking a drug is the only way they'll know that the world can be experienced much differently.

Many of the disorders that Psychedelics help solve is the 'stuck-brain'. This is when the brain tells itself stories like "I can't handle this with out a cigarette" - negative looped habitual thinking.

In Psychedelic trips, insights are more stronger - they seem like the revealed truth. This is true in mystical experiences as well - what you learn in such experiences has a higher authority in your mind.