A growing body of evidence shows that lysergic acid diethylamide, the psychedelic drug better known as LSD or “acid,” has numerous cognitive benefits.
Previous findings have suggested that psychedelics like LSD can help people with brain damage and even promote heart health, and, provocatively, even improve memory and cognitive flexibility.
Now, new research published in the journal Experimental Neurology they hypothesize that the drug may help improve brain plasticity, improving both learning and memory in mice and humans.
The history of psychedelics is a turbulent one
The team, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, US, and the Federal University of Espirito Santo, Brazil, used behavioral examples from mice given LSD, synthetic brain organoids grown in the lab from human stem cells and even a neural network model to prove their points.
In all three cases, the team saw improvements in cognitive performance. However, the researchers pointed out that the results may have been diminished by the small doses they used, so more research is needed.
Given the history of psychedelics, however, that won’t happen anytime soon, according to one of the scientists who conducted the study.
“Psychedelics have been demonized since the 1960s”
“Psychedelics have been demonized since the 1960s, and in the last decade they have returned to the forefront of biology and medicine. However, the utility of psychedelics is not restricted to the treatment of patients with pathological conditions. Psychedelics can also be very useful to improve cognition in healthy individuals, so they should not only be seen as drugs, but also as part of human life,” added Sidarta Ribeiro, researcher at Espirito Santo and one of the authors of the study.
We already know that people enjoy the therapeutic and spiritual experiences of using psychedelics, so research like this could allow for greater accessibility.