Since the late 19th century, physicians have used laughing gas as an anesthetic. Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide as it is scientifically known as, was first discovered by Joseph Priestly, an English scientist in 1793. This colorless, odorless and nonflammable gas is known to produce mind-altering experiences when administered in small amounts, similar to states induced by psychedelics such as ketamine and LSD.
New research has looked into how nitrous oxide affects brain activity and how similar its effects are to those of psychedelics. The study was led by Richard Harris and George Mashour of the Michigan Psychedelic Center at the University of Michigan.
For their study, the researchers used fMRI to explore the brain activity of healthy individuals under the influence of nitrous oxide. They then compared their results to data gathered from participants in various studies who received LSD and ketamine in an effort to determine if the neurobiology of the experience was similar.
The researchers also compared this data to a control group made up of participants who received a common anesthesia drug known as propofol. Their objective was to distinguish between changes in the brain not associated with the psychedelic experience.
In their report, the researchers noted that those under the influence of each psychedelic had heightened connectivity across a number of networks but a reduced connectivity within a certain network. They also observed a number of noteworthy differences, observing that each psychedelic increased connectivity between the intraparietal sulcus in both brain hemispheres and the right temporoparietal junction and between the left intraparietal sulcus and the precuneus.
The intraparietal sulcus is found on the parietal lobe’s lateral surface and comprises of a horizontal and oblique portion. On the other hand, the precuneus is involved in memory and imagery as well as self-referential processing. The researchers noted that these nodes were found in the brain’s hot zone, a region said to be important in determining the conscious experience. They explained that this could help better understand the altered states described by individuals who’d consumed these psychedelics.
The researchers added that the overlapping of patterns of activity linked with LSD, nitrous oxide and ketamine suggested common underlying biology. They are currently focused on carrying out more studies to find out more about this biology that could aid scientists in determining how best to administer psychedelics as therapies.
Other researchers involved include Rui Dai, Zirui Huang, Ellen Janke, Tony E. Larkin, Amy McKinney, Vijay Tarnal, Phillip E. Vlisides, Anthony G. Hudetz and Paul Picton.
Many more entities, such as Delic Holdings Corp. (CSE: DELC) (OTCQB: DELCF), are also conducting their own studies aimed at leveraging the immense medicinal potential of psychedelics. As these studies are published, the way the general public and the scientific community look at these substances is likely to keep evolving.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Delic Holdings Corp. (CSE: DELC) (OTCQB: DELCF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/DELCF
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