A team of Swedish researchers found that the presence of a receptor that regulates general serotonin activity in the brain correlates with people’s capacity for transcendence, the ability to apprehend phenomena that cannot be explained objectively. Scientists have for long suspected that serotonin influences spirituality. They found that drugs known to alter serotonin such as LSD also induce mystical experiences. If this neurotransmitter is released in huge quantities into the body, the individual will reach a higher state of consciousness. An immense feeling of joy and happiness takes over (4).
Have you ever come across the term LSD? Well, I’m sure you have. LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide is a powerful drug that can make or mar. While it can churn out millions for the peddler it can ruin the one who ingests it. So notorious is this one that the mere possession of it can see you to the gallows. Now what offence can LSD commit? Why are the ones introduced to it ready to throw away every penny they have just to buy it? Let’s find out.
In 1938 Albert Hoffman a Swiss Scientist, synthesized LSD while researching lysergic acid derivatives, from the ergot fungus that grows on rye. While re-synthesizing LSD he accidentally absorbed a small quantity of the same through his fingertips. He experienced something unfamiliar, something strong. It was the strong effects of LSD (1).
Later on in the 1940s, LSD made its entry in the health market under the name Delysid. It was marketed to psychiatrists as a tool for understanding psychosis and for facilitating psychotherapy. A patient administered Delysid could capture repressed memories. The psychiatrist could get an insight into the patient’s mind via a primary process induced by the hallucinogen. The drug found widespread acceptance. Timothy Leary, a lecturer in Psychology at Harvard University in the 1950s, was a great advocate of LSD. But in 1965 it was banned in the US. Timothy Leary was tried for unlawful possession of marijuana cigarettes and put behind bars. He was sentenced to 30 years (1).
What actually happens when you ingest LSD?
When ingested LSD acts on specific receptors in the body and binds with them. A feeling akin to pleasure and ecstasy sweeps through the being. But what has LSD got to do with serotonin? Well, the specific receptors are none other than serotonin receptors themselves. 5HT type 2 receptors are the receptors where the entire serotonin binds. These receptors are there within all and the correct peptide that ought to bind there is serotonin itself. The power of serotonin peptide is so great that LSD is no match for it. But to experience it one needs to reach a point called unconditional love. Serotonin unlike other peptides has the power to hold sway over the human mind and body. Made up of tryptophan amino acid, serotonin peptide is a potent mood booster. It is a powerful antidepressant and anti- anxiety peptide. At the physical level it has amazing anti-aging properties. It eliminates the free radicals that accelerate the aging process. A low-level of the peptide can result in eating disorders and obesity (2,3).
Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine is a monoamine neurotransmitter that was initially believed to be produced in just one location in the body i.e. the brain. However as research on the topic advanced, it was found that 95% of the total serotonin in the human body is produced in the gut, in the enterochromaffin cells. The rest of the serotonin is synthesized in the serotonergic neurons of the central nervous system. The brain cannot depend upon serotonin supply from outside sources i.e. the gut because it i.e. serotonin, is incapable of crossing the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain from external invasions. Hence, the brain has to source its requirement of the neurotransmitter from within (3).
Serotonin contributes to the feeling of well-being and hence, is often referred to as the ‘happiness hormone’. The gut bacteria aid in the production of this neurotransmitter. It imparts a sense of love within the gut in an individual and is also actively involved in preventing depression and regulating sleep, appetite and body temperature. However its influence is not limited to the gut alone (3).
Studies have revealed that serotonin is a potent accelerator critical to maturation of the brain. It has a powerful influence on the brain neurons responsible for mood, sexual desire and functioning, appetite, memory, learning and social behavior. Deficiency of the peptide can lead to autism and Down syndrome (3)
When serotonin is produced in a balanced amount an immense spiritual feeling takes over. Serotonin is the hormone and the neurotransmitter that makes one feel the spiritual bliss and wellbeing.
(1) Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond- Martin A lee
(2) LSD: Doorway to the Numinous: The Groundbreaking Psychedelic Research into Realms of the Human Unconscious – Stanislav Grof MD
(3) 5-HTP: Nature’s Serotonin Solution – Ray Sahelian
(4) The Science of Emotions: Dr Fahad Basheer
About the author
Dr. Fahad Basheer is an author, writer and a trainer. He is a highly influential independent researcher of consciousness, mind body continuum system and its applications in medicine.He has specialized in NLP psycho therapeutics. He is the author of the book “The Science of Emotions”. He has published numerous articles to different magazines and Medical Journals. Follow Dr.Fahad Basheer on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dr.fahadbasheer/ & Twitter.