Your brain on LSD is kind of like jazz improvisation.
That’s according to Selen Atasoy, a research fellow at the Center for Brain and Cognition at the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain. She was among the authors of a study published in the journal Scientific Reports that found the psychedelic drug can reorganize your brain in a “harmonizing” way.
“Just like improvising jazz musicians use many more musical notes in a spontaneous and non-random fashion,” she told PsyPost in an interview, “your brain combines many more of the harmonic waves (connectome harmonics) spontaneously yet in a structured way.”
Twelve people were examined for the study, with some taking LSD and some a placebo drug. Researchers examined their brain with an MRI scan both during and after the subjects listened to music.
Researchers said they wanted to study the combined effect of music and LSD because “music is also known for its capacity to elicit emotions, which is found to be emphasized by the effect of psychedelics.
“Exploring the combined effects of music and the psychedelic state induced by LSD provided us an opportunity to reveal not only the LSD-induced dynamical changes in the brain,” they wrote, “but also how these dynamics are affected by the presence of a complex, natural stimuli like music.”
The study found that taking LSD is “harmonizing” because it helps connect different parts of your brain in new ways while “reorganizing” it. The effects were temporary, but Newsweek reports that it’s a positive sign for people with some psychological conditions.
The brain could more efficiently make those new connections while a person listened to music, the study also found.
Atasoy told PsyPost that because changes in a brain with LSD were “structured” instead of random, this “suggests a reorganisation of brain dynamics and the emergence of new type of order in the brain.”