OPEN Foundation

G. Kapócs

Classic psychedelics: the special role of the visual system

Abstract

Here, we briefly overview the various aspects of classic serotonergic hallucinogens reported by a number of studies. One of the key hypotheses of our paper is that the visual effects of psychedelics might play a key role in resetting fears. Namely, we especially focus on visual processes because they are among the most prominent features of hallucinogen-induced hallucinations. We hypothesize that our brain has an ancient visual-based (preverbal) intrinsic cognitive process that, during the transient inhibition of top-down convergent and abstract thinking (mediated by the prefrontal cortex) by psychedelics, can neutralize emotional fears of unconscious and conscious life experiences from the past. In these processes, the decreased functional integrity of the self-referencing processes of the default mode network, the modified multisensory integration (linked to bodily self-consciousness and self-awareness), and the modified amygdala activity may also play key roles. Moreover, the emotional reset (elimination of stress-related emotions) by psychedelics may induce psychological changes and overwrite the stress-related neuroepigenetic information of past unconscious and conscious emotional fears.

Császár-Nagy, N., Kapócs, G., & Bókkon, I. (2019). Classic psychedelics: the special role of the visual system. Reviews in the neurosciences.,  10.1515/revneuro-2018-0092
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Possible role of biochemiluminescent photons for lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-induced phosphenes and visual hallucinations

Abstract

Today, there is an increased interest in research on lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) because it may offer new opportunities in psychotherapy under controlled settings. The more we know about how a drug works in the brain, the more opportunities there will be to exploit it in medicine. Here, based on our previously published papers and investigations, we suggest that LSD-induced visual hallucinations/phosphenes may be due to the transient enhancement of bioluminescent photons in the early retinotopic visual system in blind as well as healthy people.
Kapócs, G., Scholkmann, F., Salari, V., Császár, N., Szőke, H., & Bókkon, I. (2017). Possible role of biochemiluminescent photons for lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-induced phosphenes and visual hallucinations. Reviews in the Neurosciences28(1), 77-86. 10.1515/revneuro-2016-0047
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11 December - Panel discussion on the Metaphysics of Psychedelic Experiences

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