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A major study out today by Imperial College London confirmed what many psychonauts already knew—that listening to music will tripping out on acid heightens the experience. Scientists found that it does so by causing people to have more complex visions involving eyes-closed imagery (imagination-based visuals) and personal memories.Summarizing the study one of its lead authors, the esteemed neuropsychopharmacologist professor and champion of sensible speak about drug-taking, David Nutt confirmed that listening to music while on LSD "enhances the experience."
Using scanning technologies, such as fMRI and magnetoencephalography (MEG), the scientists found altered visual cortex activity in participants' brains while they were on the drug. On top of that, they found that listening to music while on LSD caused the visual cortex to receive more information from the parahippocampus, a region of the brain that is important in memory storage.This confluence of factors had an interesting result: the more the parahippocampus communicated with the visual cortex, "the more people reported experiencing complex visions, such as seeing scenes from their lives," according to the report."This is the first time we have witnessed the interaction of a psychedelic compound and music with the brain's biology," Mendel Kaelen, lead author of the study and PhD student from the Department of Medicine at Imperial, said in an interview with Imperial College London.Recalling work being done connecting MDMA to the possible treatment of PTSD patients, Kaelen further argued that this research could have some helpful benefits for people struggling with mental disorders. "A major focus for future research is how we can use the knowledge gained from our current research to develop more effective therapeutic approaches for treatments such as depression; for example, music-listening and LSD may be a powerful therapeutic combination if provided in the right way," he said.Also speaking to Imperial College, David Nutt added: "Scientists have waited 50 years for this moment - the revealing of how LSD alters our brain biology," he explained. "For the first time we can really see what's happening in the brain during the psychedelic state, and can better understand why LSD had such a profound impact on self-awareness in users and on music and art."Their research involved 20 volunteers—deemed "psychologically and physically healthy"—who had previously taken some type of psychedelic drug, and who each received both LSD and placebo; the study was published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.Have you ever wondered what LSD, GHB, MDMA, and DMT looked like under a microscope?Follow Alexander on Twitter.