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Tripping Balls in Color for the First Time – Is Psilocybin Helping to Cure Color Blindness One Dose at a Time?

psilocybin color blind

Psychedelics have long been associated with inducing vivid visual experiences, often described as “trips” or “visions.” These mind-altering substances, such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and DMT, have intrigued scientists, philosophers, and artists alike for their profound effects on consciousness.

However, amidst the fascination with their psychoactive properties, an intriguing question arises: Could psychedelics potentially benefit eyesight?

Understanding Psychedelics and Visions

Before delving into the potential effects of psychedelics on eyesight, it’s essential to grasp how these substances interact with the brain to induce altered states of consciousness. Psychedelics primarily target serotonin receptors in the brain, particularly the 5-HT2A receptor. By binding to these receptors, psychedelics alter the functioning of neural circuits, leading to changes in perception, mood, and cognition.

One of the hallmark effects of psychedelics is the induction of visual hallucinations or “visions.” Users often report seeing intricate geometric patterns, vibrant colors, and surreal landscapes during a psychedelic experience. These visions are thought to arise from disrupting the brain’s default mode network, leading to heightened sensory processing and altered perception of reality.

The Potential Link Between Psychedelics and Eyesight

While the psychedelic experience is primarily a product of altered brain activity, some researchers have speculated about the potential effects of these substances on visual perception and eyesight. The hypothesis stems from anecdotal reports of enhanced visual acuity and clarity during psychedelic trips.

Some users claim to perceive details with greater precision, experience heightened color perception, and even report temporary improvements in visual clarity. However, the scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited and mostly anecdotal.

Controlled studies specifically investigating the impact of psychedelics on eyesight are scarce. Additionally, the subjective nature of the psychedelic experience makes it challenging to draw definitive conclusions about their effects on vision.

Research on The Effects of Psychedelics On Color Blindness

Color blindness stems from genetic mutations altering structures within our eyes known as cones. These structures are responsible for detecting light and transmitting signals to the brain. Cones contain pigments sensitive to red, green, or blue light. Some individuals lack one type of cone altogether.

The most prevalent form, deuteranomaly, affects individuals who possess all three cones but with defects in one. This condition, associated with an X-chromosome mutation, disproportionately affects men.

Approximately 1 in 20 men are estimated to have deuteranomaly. Diagnosis typically involves the Ishihara test, which employs patterned and colored plates to reveal numbers. High scores indicate normal vision, while lower scores suggest varying degrees of color blindness.

A case report authored by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Behavioral Health, Neurological Institute in Ohio, looks into the potential benefits of psilocybin for color blindness.

Published in the journal Drug Science, Policy and Law, the report references a self-study by a colleague who noted vision enhancement after psilocybin use. It also underscores the need for deeper exploration into the therapeutic applications of psychedelics, given previous reports hinting at their potential.

The Study

In a recent investigation, an individual with mild red-green color vision deficiency (deuteranomaly) undertook a self-administered Ishihara Test to gauge the extent and duration of color vision enhancement following the ingestion of 5 grams of dried psilocybin magic mushrooms.

According to the subject’s self-reported Ishihara Test findings, there was a partial enhancement in color vision, peaking at eight days and persisting for at least 16 days post-psilocybin intake. This study underscores the imperative of delving deeper into the potential therapeutic applications of psychedelics in addressing color blindness.

The Ishihara Test results reveal the scores on questions 1–21 following psilocybin self-administration, except the final evaluation at 436 days post-administration.

The participant in the study had prior encounters with psychedelics, including one instance of MDMA usage, two instances of psilocybin mushroom usage, five oral LSD ingestions, and seven inhalations of DMT. Following these episodes, the participant noted increased enhancements in color vision for several months.

Before consuming the psilocybin mushrooms, the participant self-administered the Ishihara Test. This test comprises a sequence of graphics composed of a mosaic of colored dots of various sizes and colours.

The cards of the test are designed to conceal images from individuals with color blindness that would be noticeable to those with normal color vision. For instance, a graphic containing red and green dots might show “3” only with red dots, visible to most individuals but not to those with color blindness.

In the initial Ishihara Test, the participant scored 14 on plates 1-21, indicating mild red-green color blindness. Additionally, four cards indicated deuteranomaly, a variant of CVD where greens appear more similar to reds.

After ingesting psilocybin, the participant reported a heightened perception of colors but only exhibited marginal improvement in the Ishihara Test score after 15 at 12 hours post-administration. However, by 24 hours post-administration, the score increased to 18, marginally surpassing the 17 threshold required for normal color vision. The score peaked at 19 on day eight and persisted within the normal range four months later.

The researchers assert that the visual effects induced by psychedelics likely stem from alterations in brain activity rather than a direct impact on the retina or peripheral vision. The observed time lapse between psilocybin consumption and color vision enhancement suggests that the mushroom may have initiated a learning process regarding color interpretation. This potentially influenced the connection between different visual regions of the brain.

The authors highlight that although color blindness typically results from a genetic anomaly, the enduring partial improvements in color vision following a single psilocybin use imply that psilocybin could potentially induce enduring changes in visual processing in specific individuals.

They advocate for future investigations to explore whether psilocybin can elicit similar enhancements in more severe instances of color blindness, analyze the correlation between psilocybin dosage and improvement, and elucidate the underlying mechanism of this intriguing phenomenon.

Conclusion

While psychedelics have long fascinated researchers and enthusiasts for their profound effects on consciousness, the potential link between these substances and eyesight remains intriguing yet understudied. Recent research, particularly on the effects of psilocybin on color blindness, suggests a need for further exploration into the therapeutic applications and mechanisms underlying such a situation.

PSYCHEDELICS IMPROVES EYESIGHT, READ ON…

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