Space & Innovation

Could LSD Be Used To Treat Depression?

New research indicates that LSD helps prohibit "mental time travel" allowing us to remain present.

<p>Photo: Volkan Olmez // Unsplash</p>

Before it was outlawed in 1968, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was briefly used in therapy. Although it is still illegal in the U.S., scientists are looking at LSD again for use in mental health treatment, particularly for those suffering from depression, reports Big Think.

People who have a very active default-mode network in their brain are more likely to be depressed because they are constantly thinking about the past and therefore focusing on what's absent from their lives in the present, one study showed. Psychedelics like LSD appear to slow down the default-mode network (DMN), allowing people to stay in and enjoy the present moment.

Another study showed that when the DMN slowed down people were able to more easily let go of their egos and were less aware of their self. They also studied the type of language used by those who were given LSD and compared it to those who had been given a placebo. The participants who had actually taken LSD used less past-tense language, indicating they were focusing more on the present.

We do not yet know how long these effects persist after the drug wears off, but the fact that LSD can help people achieve a present state of mind could be revolutionary in the treatment of depression. Findings from previous studies of the drug indicate that the long-term benefits of being able to stay present in the moment are likely.

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