The Effects Of LSD On Language

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The Effects Of LSD On Language

LSD has long been used to seek knowledge and wisdom beyond our senses. A recent study of the effects of LSD on language have shown that it has significant impact on our use of language.

LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide, is a powerful psychedelic which is largely responsible for triggering many of the social movements of the nineteen-sixties. It also responsible for the decades old psychedelic movement which embraced the use of substances to expand the workings of the human mind. For anyone who has ever experienced a psychedelic LSD trip it should come as no surprise that the extra-sensory information that makes its way into your consciousness is not of mere fantasy. LSD connects parts of the brain that usually keep to themselves. This intertwining of brain function can allow people to smell sounds and taste colors. Besides from the intangible, LSD has been found to have many uses in treating psychological conditions, as it fundamentally re-wire's the neural pathways of the brain. In addition to use in psychological conditions, researchers have recently discovered an unintended consequence of consuming LSD: it has significant impact on the language center of the brain and appears to activate new semantic pathways. In other words, it has the potential to trigger linguistic development.

In a recent study conducted by Dr. Neiloufar Family published in the Journal of Language, Cognition and Neuroscience titled, Semantic Activation in LSD: Evidence From Picture Naming, Dr. Family attempted to further understand the connection between LSD and language. Purveyors of psychedelia have long turned to LSD or mushrooms to trigger artistic creativity or to break through a case of writer's block. Making a scientific connection between increased activity in the language center of the brain and LSD consumption would have enormous implications for the future use of LSD to trigger creativity and perhaps even help some overcome developmental language issues. In Dr. Family's study, she found that those under the influence of LSD appear to have “easier access to related words,” which would indicate that LSD causes an increase in activity in the language center of the brain. Basically, according to Family, “This indicates that their semantic networks might be activated more strongly. More words are highlighted and competing for production.”

In the study, Dr. Family gathered a group of ten participants. On one visit they were given a small dose of LSD while on the second they were given a placebo. Each participant was then shown a series of pictures and asked to say what they were. If one was shown the picture of a car, they might have responded with 'bus' or 'truck', a close but not quite accurate answer, if under the influence of LSD. This occurred more often when the participants were under the influence of LSD as opposed to the placebo. The implication is that LSD consumption “can result in a cascade of associations that allow quicker access to far away concepts stored in the mind,” according to Dr. Family. Ultimately this "thesaurus" type effect through the use of LSD, helps the brain access lesser used corners of the mind. Aside from language, the implications of having the ability to reach into unseen depths of the mind could have large scale effects on the treatment of amnesia or other memory related disorders.

“Language is one of the only ways we can describe what’s happening in our minds and one of the tools we can use to understand the psychedelic experience. Using LSD, you can find out more about the brain, the same way that a medical researcher may look at a dysfunction of an internal organ to better understand its healthy functioning,” Family stated. Although the experiment showed an increase in activity in the language center of the brain, there were a few unintended observations. When a subject who had taken LSD responded to a picture card, even though the initial answer was not always correct, they corrected it quickly. The fact that the subjects were willing to blurt out a wrong answer to such basic questions, showed a lack of self-monitoring. Perhaps as we meld with the environment around us and lose grasp of this reality, concepts of 'self-consciousness” go out the window.

Although LSD has been in the public consciousness for half a century, due to strict regulation, access to the drug for research has been very limited. Only a handful of studies, like Dr. Family's have come to pass. However, the little information we have gathered shows the future for LSD in medical research to be very promising. Researchers are also calling LSD treatments a potential 'paradigm shift' in treating mental illness. The drug itself is just a key and has no inherent benefits medically. It is what's behind the door that LSD unlocks that holds the answers. The dissociative nature of LSD disconnects the patient from the illness, whether, anxiety, PTSD, or even addictions. It is this disconnection that allows the patient to begin the healing process. The effects of LSD therapies appear to also be long lasting and not short term fixes either. One of the more exciting aspects of LSD therapies is that they appear to help with conditions that had little to no available treatments before.

It is unfortunate that the rules of our free and open society don't allow for the advanced study of LSD and other psychedelics to truly uncover what potential medicinal value they hold. With the information that we have gathered so far, it would appear that the mystic properties of LSD are becoming far less mystic. With the knowledge that LSD has a significant effect on the language center of the brain and appears to have a direct impact on ailments once thought untreatable, it would be in the world's best interest to continue to this path of research and finally discover what doors LSD can unlock.