MAR 07, 2016 9:33 AM PST

What Does LSD Do To Your Brain?

WRITTEN BY: Julianne Chiaet

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a powerful hallucinogenic. It was first synthesized in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman. Hoffman based the drug off compounds found in the ergot fungus, which grows on rye and related plants and grains. Ergot can produce horrifying symptoms, including psychosis and gangrene.

After taking LSD, a person usually feels the effects after 30 to 90 minutes. The effects on the brain are somewhat unpredictable, depending on the dose taken. If a large dose is taken, the drug could produce hallucinations and delusions. The drug can also cause a person to perceive time as slowing down, have impaired depth perception, and have distorted perceptions of objects.

The drug affects numerous nerve receptors, including dopamine, adrenergic, and serotonin. Serotonin appears in many places in the body, including the gastrointestinal tract and in blood platelets. However, as a neurotransmitter, serotonin is involved in your mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, sexual desire, and feelings. The specific serotonin receptor involved in making you hallucinate is 5-HT2A. These receptors play a large role in the visual cortex. Scientists are unsure how LSD affects receptors, but they know 5-HT2A is affected.
About the Author
Julianne (@JuliChiaet) covers health and medicine for LabRoots. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, Scientific American, and MailOnline. While primarily a science journalist, she has also covered culture and Japanese organized crime. She is the New York Board Representative for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). • To read more of her writing, or to send her a message, go to Jchiaet.com
You May Also Like
NOV 06, 2020
Space & Astronomy
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
NOV 06, 2020
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
Researchers have found that there could be at least 300 million habitable worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. This could mea ...
NOV 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
NOV 07, 2020
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
Researchers have identified an exoplanet that appears to have an atmosphere composed of vaporized rock and oceans runnin ...
DEC 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Superhighways in Space Enable Super Fast Travel Between Planets
DEC 12, 2020
Superhighways in Space Enable Super Fast Travel Between Planets
Astronomers from Serbia have found that invisible structures created by gravitational interaction in our Solar System ge ...
JAN 08, 2021
Neuroscience
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
JAN 08, 2021
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
Comedy-news shows such as those by Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee on the rise and are especially popular amo ...
MAR 26, 2021
Plants & Animals
A Massive 17-Year Cicada Swarm will Emerge Soon
MAR 26, 2021
A Massive 17-Year Cicada Swarm will Emerge Soon
The east coast is preparing for one of nature’s greatest spectacles. A gigantic swarm of periodical cicadas is due ...
OCT 15, 2021
Health & Medicine
The Art of the Smize: Study Shows Eyes are More Active in Smiling Behind a Mask
OCT 15, 2021
The Art of the Smize: Study Shows Eyes are More Active in Smiling Behind a Mask
Mask wearing has become a part of our everyday lives. Something that we have all adapted to because of this is expressin ...
Loading Comments...