The correlation betweem music and being tripped out on LSD

LSD and music are two incredibly potent tools, naturally blended into one overall experience by many enthusiastic psychonauts, a much-uncharted territory in the realm of scientific research when it comes to the effects of music combined with LSD and what it does to the brain. Arguably, the field in its current form is less than a decade old. One will have to go back to the 1950s and 1960s before the last ten years to find anything academically substantial; due to the decades-long war on drugs and the social stigma against these substances.

Though, for this post, I will stick to the current research as a point of reference; to gauge where the science currently stands.

One study from 2016 shows that music and LSD combined induce certain connections in the parahippocampus that could be useful in therapeutic settings. [1]

Another study makes a vague assertion that LSD induces an increased emotional state while under the influence in conjunction with listening to music. [2]

In this study, patients ingested Psilocybin mushrooms. What I find a bit more intriguing is not the report but that there was; empirically reported to be a positive effect for at least a week after the trip had concluded for some of the patients, which took the form of reduced depression.[3] Indicating that psychedelics, in conjunction with music, can potentially have a more profound lasting impact on the life and overall outlook that a person can take with them when the trip has concluded. Whether these positive effects can persist beyond one week may depend on the individual and how they do or don’t reintegrate with their normal lives. Anyone should be wary of how it may not always be positive, as indicated in the above study. Bad trips tend to happen, which can also link to developing PTSD and/or anxiety. Even if you have a “mystical experience” it can sometimes be terrifying and disorienting to the psyche, and a great deal of caution’s always warranted before experimenting.

While I believe a step in the right direction where science is once again interested in taking a professional study in regards to these powerful substances, especially in the aims for an eventual more standardized use in psychotherapy, I don’t feel yet that these studies are introducing any new or novel insights, but are just reaffirming or objectifying what anyone who has undergone a psychedelic experience already subjectively knows. Nevertheless, this data is vital for the skeptic or cynic who sees no use in psychedelics and has never undergone the usage of LSD; these new studies are the building blocks.

With that said, what I think overall is the most important is the empirical evidence based on user experience in those psychedelics combined with music can help to invoke a “mystical connection” with the cosmos. If a “mystical connection with the cosmos” sounds too fanciful, then a “greater connection to life” might be more on point. Users have also reported how LSD made them feel like the music goes within them, giving them a sway on their trip. Listening to music when high on cannabis VS when tripped out by LSD, the clear winner is LSD; the trips feel much more euphoric than being high on cannabis.

There are not any studies that I could find linking psychedelic music to the brain on LSD or Psilocybin, however. I point this out because I believe that music influenced by or created while under the influence of psychedelics may lead to a greater chance of a “mystical union” experience in the listener than music that has nothing to do with psychedelia.

One point is that many different bands and artists could fall under the “psychedelic” umbrella. The Doors and the Black Angels are more purely psychedelic rock, but bands such as Led Zeppelin, TOOL, Mastodon and Meshuggah also have some musical elements considered psychedelic. And yet, Brian Eno and other electronic musicians have elements that one could consider psychedelic. What can be classified as a good song or genre for a user to have a good trip with? It depends on what the person likes, commonly songs that sound ‘flexible’ with the tune and the speed of the songs not being totally reliant, it makes them perfect for a trip as trips are also ‘flexible.’ People sometimes advice users to trip on instrumentals rather than lyrical songs as it sounds more controlled and less ‘flexible.’ Visual images can also be a catalyst to trips which bands such as meshuggah has mastered perfectly with the release “They Move Below” which has been complimented by many LSD users, including myself.

A composer could take LSD and create a classical music masterpiece while under the influence. Does this then constitute to “psychedelic music?” It then begs the question on whether it matters what type of music plays when creating or listening to music; while under the influence. In regards to the effect it has on you empirically and scientifically. In general, I can only rely on my own direct experience when it comes to these matters, which is why I feel that any music influenced by or taken under the influence of psychedelic substances has a greater probability of creating that psychic connection to the surroundings of the listener, or that ego-loss experience, or that significant penetrating philosophical insight.

Ultimately everyone is unique, making everyone have a subjective taste musically, and everyone has varied psychological reactions to psychedelic drugs. It will be interesting to see where research takes us moving forward. Much more compelling insights varying from scientific evidence to anecdotal evidence, they both will contribute to the ever-so progressing research about LSD.





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