For those who do not know, LSD is a famous psychedelic drug that was accidentally created in the 1940’s by a European scientist named Albert Hoffman. He went on a bike ride and experienced the world’s first LSD experience as “an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After about two hours this condition faded away”.
In recent years, psychedelic research has exploded and investigations on the relationship between music and psychedelic are ongoing. Specifically, music during a psychedelic experience can stimulate imagination, enhance social bonds, create spiritual experiences and induce emotional responses (i.e., excitement, fear, etc).
Music is often paired with drug taking; enhancing the already magical experience.
Music is often used as an additive, or catalyst to one’s environment or current mood to achieve a certain outcome. For instance, weddings, sweet 16’s and dance festivals are celebratory events that are paired with the appropriate positive and uplifting music.
In this study, scientists wanted to know whether taking LSD vs. not taking LSD whilst listening to music caused a difference in emotional responses.
10 participants took 99.4% pure LSD on one day and placebo another day. They listened to five music songs during the sessions of placebo and LSD, spaced 5 days apart.
The question “How emotionally affected were you by the music?” was asked immediately after each track and served as the study’s primary outcome.
The average score for the musical response to all questions were significantly higher during the LSD condition compared to the placebo sessions. Additionally, LSD sessions were significantly higher in the ratings of emotions related to transcendence, power, wonder; in comparison to the placebo session for the same individual. In other words, when participants took LSD they were able to feel the music more and with greater emotional intensity.
Overall, this research supports the idea that taking LSD enhances one’s musical experience and our emotional response to it. For those of you that already assumed or had a realization of this during one of your experiences, now your hunches are confirmed.