I read (part) of a book recently on a car trip (don’t know the title or author - could I possibly be more vague?)about near-death experience experimentation involving LSD given to terminal patients. The whole thing seemed pretty contrived, but it got me thinking about my younger, more adventurous days. I started wondering how it might affect people with certain medical problems other than the life-threatening ones described in the book. Since one of the effects of LSD is visual hallucination, how would it affect the visually impaired, especially someone who had been blind since birth? Does anyone actually know someone who might be able to answer this question from first-hand experience? My father-in-law is blind, but he’s never eaten acid as far as I know.
Where you open it up thinking “Someone answered my question!” but it’s just another guy saying “yeah…that’s a good question…I wonder too.”
So, sorry. But…
It seems to me they wouldn’t. Just because we’re on this board, here’s a link ( http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_310.html )to Cecil’s column on the dreams of the blind. It might apply for this too. If they’ve never experienced sight, it would seem strange for LSD to miraculously grant them the ability, even if it is only the hallucination of the ability. But I bet all the disorientation and logical leaps you feel on LSD are augmented for the lack of sight. Visuals can sometimes get in the way of how the LSD makes you FEEL by making you focus on what ou SEE.
My favorite part was always the laughing. LSD makes you laugh like a madman. I bet that doesn’t change if you’re blind.
Totally a WAG here, but:
I would say probably not, assuming that the blindness was caused by something in the brain and not retnal trauma. IIRC, after hitting the retnal nerves, the neural impluses make their way to the primary visual cortex, where the raster image is decoded into visual primatives such as lines and gradients of color. This is then fed into the second visual cortex where it is synthesized into recognizable objects.
LSD stimulates these two cortexes, bringing to your attention the shapes and colors of the primary as the breathing, shifting patterns of color overlayed on what you see, and sparking the secondary to form geometric closed-eye visuals.
It would seem to me that someone who lacked the use of their visual cortexes would therefore not precieve any visuals. Of course I am certainly no neursurgeon so i wouldn’t put much money on it.
If the person were blind from birth, even if the LSD caused “visual” hallucinations, the person would not be able to report it as such, since they would not “know” that they were “seeing” these things.
I worked with several blind students at one time and found out that they experience the same thing sighted folks do when you close your eyes and press them. You see both colors and shapes. If you have eyes at all you apparently can experience this phenomena, even those blind from birth.
Well if that’s true, than doesn’t that mean they can alomost definitely acheive some kind of visuals? Some of the best ones are the ones you get when you close your eyes…
Janey, Janey, Janey…
Surely you can understand that as a responsible investigator, out of a concern for scientific rigour you owe it to us all to **feed LSD secretly to your father in law **and then watch the fun, er, calmly observe and record the outcomes.
Is there a family get-together coming up? Can I come over and watch? Do you already have a lawyer? Have you served time before?
Actually my bet on this is that given the weak nature of LSD currently available (well in Australia anyway), he would just feel strange and intense for a few hours, and might behave as if he were drunk. People don’t seem to get acid visions anymore. [Does saying that make me sound spoilt and debauched?]
I’ve considered it, Redboss. However, my mother-in-law is an RN who raised three hellishly rebellious boys, so she might kick him out if she thought he’d been partying.
Yah, you kinda sound like my dad, talking about how things were “back in the day”: “You pussies! You’ve never seen real pot. It’d kill you! Why, back in 1972, when I was in the Army, we had smoke that would make you go blind, and grow hair on your backside. And your granny was crippled one time when I came home and she caught a whiff of it on my clothes. I tell you, those were the days…”