LSD Revealed: the World’s First Images of the Brain on LSD

On Wednesday 13 April 2016, the Beckley/Imperial Research Programme released the world’s first images of the human brain on LSD, collected as part of the first ever brain imaging study to examine the effects of LSD on the human brain. Programme co-directors Amanda Feilding and David Nutt, together with lead-investigator Robin Cathart-Harris, held a press conference at the Royal Society on Monday 11 April to herald the publication of the paper. On Wednesday 13 April, Amanda Feilding and David Nutt hosted a symposium in the Wellcome Trust Lecture Hall at the Royal Society, the UK National Academy of Science.

Read in more detail about our research on LSD.



Robin Carhart-Harris, David Nutt and Amanda Feilding

These first findings from the Beckley/Imperial Research Programme give invaluable insight into how LSD may be used, firstly to help treat some of society’s most intractable illnesses, such as depression, addiction and OCD, and secondly, to further our understanding of the nature of consciousness itself.



Connectivity between the visual cortex (V1 RSFC) and the rest of the brain was examined using functional MRI, while subjects lied awake with eyes closed. Under LSD (middle) the primary visual cortex (violet) showed widespread connectivity across the brain, while under placebo (left) connectivity was mainly restricted to local regions. Increased connectivity is suggestive of greater interaction between brain regions. The magnitude of this effect correlated with participants’ reports of complex, dreamlike visions.

Image gallery from the conference at the Royal Society

"I hope that the results of the current study, presented today, will launch a wave of new research, and lead to the recognition of LSD as the jewel in the crown of psychoactive substances."

-Amanda Feilding

Read the PNAS article

Download the one-page summary (PDF)

LSD Revealed in the media

Amanda’s Talk: “The Coming-of-Age of LSD” (PDF)

Summaries of studies

Press Release (PDF)