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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2017 Jul;234(13):2031-2046. doi: 10.1007/s00213-017-4610-0. Epub 2017 Apr 7.

Dreamlike effects of LSD on waking imagery in humans depend on serotonin 2A receptor activation.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Psychiatric Hospital, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. r.kraehenmann@bli.uzh.ch.
2
Neuropsychopharmacology and Brain Imaging, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Psychiatric Hospital, University of Zurich, Lenggstrasse 31, 8032, Zurich, Switzerland. r.kraehenmann@bli.uzh.ch.
3
Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.
4
Neuropsychopharmacology and Brain Imaging, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Psychiatric Hospital, University of Zurich, Lenggstrasse 31, 8032, Zurich, Switzerland.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Psychiatric Hospital, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Accumulating evidence indicates that the mixed serotonin and dopamine receptor agonist lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) induces an altered state of consciousness that resembles dreaming.

OBJECTIVES:

This study aimed to test the hypotheses that LSD produces dreamlike waking imagery and that this imagery depends on 5-HT2A receptor activation and is related to subjective drug effects.

METHODS:

Twenty-five healthy subjects performed an audiorecorded guided mental imagery task 7 h after drug administration during three drug conditions: placebo, LSD (100 mcg orally) and LSD together with the 5-HT2A receptor antagonist ketanserin (40 mg orally). Cognitive bizarreness of guided mental imagery reports was quantified as a standardised formal measure of dream mentation. State of consciousness was evaluated using the Altered State of Consciousness (5D-ASC) questionnaire.

RESULTS:

LSD, compared with placebo, significantly increased cognitive bizarreness (p < 0.001). The LSD-induced increase in cognitive bizarreness was positively correlated with the LSD-induced loss of self-boundaries and cognitive control (p < 0.05). Both LSD-induced increases in cognitive bizarreness and changes in state of consciousness were fully blocked by ketanserin.

CONCLUSIONS:

LSD produced mental imagery similar to dreaming, primarily via activation of the 5-HT2A receptor and in relation to loss of self-boundaries and cognitive control. Future psychopharmacological studies should assess the differential contribution of the D2/D1 and 5-HT1A receptors to cognitive bizarreness.

KEYWORDS:

5-HT2A receptor; Cognitive bizarreness; Dreams; Guided mental imagery; Healthy subjects; Ketanserin; LSD; Self-boundaries and cognitive control; Visual hallucinations

PMID:
28386699
DOI:
10.1007/s00213-017-4610-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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