How our brains make meaning with LSD


Particular experiences and things, like a favorite song for example trigger something within ourselves that mean much more to us rather than anybody else. Researchers studied how perceptions of meaning change when people take LSD and are able to make that sense of meaningfulness to particular neurochemicals and receptors in the brain.

Findings add key information to the understanding of human experience. The research results potentially make a market for new drugs to treat psychiatric illnesses that come from abnormalities of personal experience such as PTSD.

What Katrin Preller of the University Hospital for Psychiatry can say about the experiment is, “Our results increase our understanding of how personal relevance attribution is enabled in the brain,” and “[We now know] which receptors, neurotransmitters, and brain regions are involved when we perceive our environment as meaningful and relevant.”

Studies in the past showed that LSD alters the cause of meaning and personal relevance to the environment. She states that LSD changes the way self-perception is, that the way we perceive ourselves and the world blurs on while on LSD. Researches are unable to pinpoint exactly what parts of the brain and neurochemicals were responsible for that activity.

After participants took kentanserin that blocked the ability of LSD, they were able to find LSD stimulates the dopamine receptors.

While on both drugs participants were able to pinpoint meaning to songs because they were able to counteract each other. The parts of the brain were activated during this process, the ones that help find sense of self and they are called the 5-HT2A receptors and cortical midline structures.”