This is what's going on in the brain during an LSD hallucination

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This Is What's Going On in the Brain During an LSD Hallucination

Scientists have gotten an early glimpse at how LSD hallucinations really work.

Researchers at Imperial College London took brain scans of 20 volunteers who took the drug, and as one of the researchers put it, they were "seeing with their eyes shut."

Literally, the participants' eyes were closed during the testing.

But the specific area in the back of the brain normally responsible for vision was still lighting up. And when the volunteers were hallucinating from the LSD, many other areas of the brain were adding to the visual processing.

RELATED: These states have the highest overdose rate:

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This is what's going on in the brain during an LSD hallucination

#20. North Carolina

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 17.11%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 27.00%
Population: 9,651,380
Number of Counties in State: 100

(Photo: Murray Cohen, Getty)

#19. Ohio

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 17.32%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 15.91%
Population: 11,549,590
Number of Counties in State: 88

(Photo: Bryan Busovicki via Getty)

#18. Missouri

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 19.05%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 14.78%
Population: 6,007,182
Number of Counties in State: 115

(Photo via Getty)

#17. Alaska 

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 21.54%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 13.79%
Population: 720,316
Number of Counties in State: 29

(Photo via Getty)

#16. Oregon 

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 21.68%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 11.11%
Population: 3,868,721
Number of Counties in State: 36

(Photo via Alamy)

#15. Massachusetts

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 22.73%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 21.43%
Population: 6,605,058
Number of Counties in State: 14

#14. Louisiana

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 25.51%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 12.50%
Population: 4,567,968
Number of Counties in State: 64

#13. Colorado

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 25.76%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 18.75%
Population: 5,119,329
Number of Counties in State: 64

(Photo: Peter Kunasz, Shutterstock)

#12. Maryland 

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 26.31%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 12.50%
Population: 5,834,299
Number of Counties in State: 24

(Photo via Getty)

#11. Tennessee 

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 32.00%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 46.32%
Population: 6,402,387
Number of Counties in State: 95(

Photo credit: Alamy)

#10. Pennsylvania

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 36.57%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 14.93%
Population:
 12,731,381
Number of Counties in State: 67

(Photo: Henryk Sadura, Getty)

#9. Kentucky 

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 38.71%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 51.67%
Population: 4,361,333
Number of Counties in State: 120

(Photo via Shutterstock)

#8. Florida

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 43.40%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 35.82%
Population: 
19,091,156
Number of Counties in State: 67

(Photo: Ilene MacDonald, Alamy)

#7. West Virginia 

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 61.53%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 49.09%
Population:
 1,853,619
Number of Counties in State: 55

(Photo via Getty)

#6. Oklahoma 

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 62.73%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 51.95%
Population: 
3,785,742
Number of Counties in State: 77

(Photo via Getty)

#5. New Mexico 

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 63.48%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 63.64%
Population:
 2,069,706
Number of Counties in State: 33

(Photo via Shutterstock)

#4. Rhode Island

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 75.41%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 40.00%
Population: 
1,051,695
Number of Counties in State: 5

(Photo via Getty)

#3. Utah

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 78.45%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 58.62%
Population:
 2,813,673
Number of Counties in State: 29

(Photo via Getty)

#2. Arizona

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 84.43%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 46.67%
Population:
 6,479,703
Number of Counties in State: 15

(Photo via Getty)

#1. Nevada 

Percent of Population Living in Counties with High Overdose Death Rates: 91.22%
Percent of Counties With High Overdose Rates: 41.18%
Population: 2,730,066
Number of Counties in State: 17

(Photo via Shutterstock)

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Under normal, sober circumstances, several functions like vision, speech and movement are rooted in separate networks of the brain.

Yet the researchers found LSD made the brain work more as a whole. They said this structural change leads to losing one's sense of self –– which, in turn, has in cases been linked to sensing religious or spiritual experiences.

The researchers said in a lot of ways, being on LSD is like making the brain go back to the way it was when you were an infant. The brain becomes rigidly organized with time, but an infant's mind is more emotional and imaginative.

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