Researchers report they have uncovered remarkable new effects of the potent psychedelic drug lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) on human cognition, according to findings detailed in a new study.
Published in Psychological Medicine, the study sheds light on LSD’s ability to accelerate learning when coupled with feedback and promote exploratory behavior.
Researchers say the findings may hold the key to unraveling the enigmatic cognitive mechanisms that underlie the potential therapeutic benefits of LSD.
Many recent studies have shown LSD-assisted psychotherapy to offer promising results in treating mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Though LSD remains illegal in many countries when administered in a controlled setting under the guidance of a trained therapist, the psychedelic drug has shown the potential to enhance individuals’ capacity to explore and process challenging emotions and experiences. Studies have found that this process can often lead to profound insights and lasting breakthroughs in therapy.
Jonathan Kanen, the lead author of the study and a Gates Cambridge Scholar, postulates that the potential therapeutic effects of LSD may stem from the drug’s ability to foster new beneficial patterns of learning about the world by forming new mental associations.