Carrie Arnold in The Daily Beast:
Last week, a pair of new studies revealed some of the first images of neural activity in people who had taken LSD. A far cry from the “This is your brain on drugs” ads of the 1980s, this new research shows that your brain on LSD actually involves a breakdown of the factors that normally keep neural circuits separate. The result? That stereotypical feeling of feeling “at one” with the world and part of something larger than yourself.
…Other research on psychedelic drugs given to dying cancer patients struggling with anxiety over their impending deaths has shown that this type of experience can be very helpful in relieving the sense of over-arching doom. Building on evidence from more than half a century ago, other studies are showing that these drugs may be helpful in relieving anxiety more broadly. For neuroscientists like Tagliazucchi, however, these drugs provide a novel way to simply understand how the brain goes about its everyday duties. “We think that what we experience normally is reality, but the truth is our brains are just constructing reality for us,” Tagliazucchi said.