Psychedelics and their effect on the brain

What are psychedelic substances? The definition will vary from person to person but from my understanding and experience, I would define psychedelics as substances that have the ability to grow one's consciousness. Don’t take this the wrong way. I am not saying there is a magic substance that will automatically grow your consciousness no matter what. These substances can act like tools to facilitate the growth of one’s consciousness, just like a hammer can be used to nail wood into a board or it can be used to break something. A hammer is just a tool and it really comes down to the person who is using it to determine its true function. This directly applies to psychedelic substances. They are just a tool and it really comes down to the intention of the user and in what setting it is used in, but I would argue that the majority of people who have had experiences with these substances were not using them with the intention of growing their consciousness. They just use it as way to party or a way to escape, which is a way psychedelics can be used. 

So what are psychedelics exactly? The word psychedelic means “mind-manifesting.” Mind manifesting refers to the fact that it is not the substance creating the psychedelic experience, it is all you. The substance just shows you the way or directs you to a certain state of consciousness that you have blocked off or neglected to live normally. This is why psychedelics can be used as tools to grow one's consciousness. So what does it mean to grow your consciousness? This is a very broad and over used term but to me, it means to become more aware of what you actually are, what the world actually is and what is really happening within yourself.

From a scientific standpoint psychedelics directly affect the neuro-chemistry in the brain.  Recent research provides evidence that when a user is under the influence of a psychedelic substance (in this study it was LSD) the brain was making new connections in parts of the brain that were not used when the substance was not present in the body. When you are sober, the neural connection in your brain follow the same path and don’t move from that path much. As the psychedelic substance influences the user, the standard neural network expands and creates new connections all over the brain. This can be a little frightening because our minds are so vast and strange. Being open to these parts of your mind, that you never knew existed, can take you out of your comfort zone. If you look at the picture above you can get an idea of how much of your brain is being used when you’re not under the influence compared to when you are.  To me, this is an astonishing scientific discovery and completely aligns with what happens when I have experienced psychedelics substances. This is why I would argue that psychedelics can make a person more creative and allow a person to think outside the box because literally, you gain the ability to think outside you standard neural network.

Some examples of psychedelics substances are ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, peyote, and LSD. There are a lot more, but be careful. Some substances can exhibit psychedelic properties but I would argue they do not align with what the true definition of what a psychedelic compound is. For example substance such as marijuana, opiates, and ketamine. I am not saying these substances are bad, they definitely have their uses if used properly, but the chances are they won’t give you an experience that allows you to explore areas of the mind like a psychedelic would. If the substance has the potential for abuse or has addictive properties, I would not define them as psychedelics.

I think the true purpose of psychedelics is to give you a glimpse of what your mind is capable of. After you have awakened to new possibilities, it is your job to realize them into existence. There is low potential for abuse and has been seen to help with addiction, stress, anxiety, past trauma and much more. I do not think they are for everyone but I do think if used correctly can be an amazing tool to grow your consciousness and help solve the root cause of the problems that don’t seem to go away.

From my experience, ayahuasca has definitely had the most profound and transformative effects on my life compared to any other psychedelic. You can check out my book “Trip to the Infinite – The Ayahuasca Experience” available on amazon.com to learn more about what ayahuasca is in particular; how it affects your mind, body, and soul; my detailed trip reports explaining what exactly happened to me during each of my ceremonies and the ways in which I transformed afterwards. I also included some ways to prepare if you are looking to have an ayahuasca experience of your own. 

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