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A South American super-drug really does blow your mind - and could provide clues about the nature of consciousness - new research reveals.
Scientists found that Ayahuasca - a 'psychedelic brew' made from vines and leaves in the Amazon jungle, which is popular with celebrities including Sting and Lindsay Lohan - distorts brain waves to create a vivid 'waking-dream' state.
Drug - Medicine - Dimethyltryptamine - DMT - Drug
The drug, often used as a traditional spiritual medicine, contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a hallucinogenic drug that is illegal in the UK.
Research fellow Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College, said: 'DMT is a particularly intriguing psychedelic.
Vividness - Depth - Immersion - High-doses - Substance
'The visual vividness and depth of immersion produced by high-doses of the substance seems to be on a scale above what is reported with more widely studied psychedelics such as psilocybin or "magic mushrooms".'
The research team infused 13 volunteers with DMT, after fitting them with electroencephalogram (EEG) caps to detect the brain's electrical activity before, during and after their trip.
Experience - Minutes - Volunteers - Alpha - Theta
They found the 'peak psychedelic experience' lasted around ten minutes and affected the volunteers' alpha and theta brain waves.
Researcher Christopher Timmermann said: 'The changes in brain activity that accompany DMT are slightly different from what we see with other psychedelics such as psilocybin or LSD, where we see mainly...
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