A new peer reviewed study in the journal Experimental Neurology has shown that lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD as it is commonly known, can help people suffering with traumatic brain injury, promote cardiac health and further can improve memory and cognitive ability.
The study was conducted by a team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst along with the Federal University of Espirito Santo.
The researchers in this study aimed to understand whether neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to adapt or change as the result of experience) could be harnessed to enhance learning and memory.
They used behavioural examples from rats on LSD, synthetic brain organoids grown from stem cells (brain like structures) and a neural network model to provide evidence for their case.
All three cases show positive results. Previous studies of LSD have shown positive results because they promote neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
76 rats were given small doses of LSD or a placebo and monitored for their interest in “novel objects”. The rats that received the dose of LSD were found to explore these novel objects but it didn’t affect other time exploring objects in general.
For the human study, 25 adults were given LSD in one session and a placebo in another session at random. The researchers found that the participants had a better memory the day after consuming LSD compared with the placebo.
“Psychedelics have been demonized since the 1960s, and in the past decade they have returned to biology and medicine through the front door. However, the utility of psychedelics is not restricted to the treatment of patients with a pathological condition. They can also be very useful to improve the cognition of healthy individuals, i.e., they should be seen not just as medicine, but also as part of human life at large” co-author Sidarta Ribeiro said.