Kacey Musgraves is a rare sparkle glistening in the sea of country music. She cites pop-weirdos Imogen Heap, Weezer, and Cake as some of her biggest influences. And despite the genre’s staunchly conservative audience, she has successfully infused her music with LGBTQ+ themes, religious skepticism, and a heavy helping of weed. Now, we can add LSD to Musgraves’ list of inspirations.
In an interview with W Magazine, Musgraves said that at least two of her songs, “Oh, What a World” and “Slow Burn,” materialized in her head after tripping on LSD, otherwise known as acid.
“It opens your mind in a lot of ways,” she told W. “It doesn’t have to be scary. People in the professional worlds are using it, and it’s starting to become an option for therapy. Isn’t that crazy?”
It’s not crazy, though. Earlier this year, a Swiss study discovered how LSD opens the mind. Using brain imaging scans, the researchers found that the brain normally compartmentalizes its duties. For instance, one section handles logical thought while another processes emotions. But when someone gets dosed on LSD, new connections form among these brain regions, and suddenly parts of the brain that usually never communicate with another begin chattering non-stop. Previous research shows that this “unified brain” pattern better resembles the pliable minds of children than those of rigidly-thinking adults.
This LSD-induced hyperconnectivity may explain why some LSD users experience synesthesia, when senses overlap and merge into surreal combinations. It may also explain why LSD users often undergo sudden, mind-blowing insights that can solve tricky problems or lead to artistic breakthroughs.
While Musgraves was waxing figuratively about LSD’s artistic powers being “crazy,” she’s certainly correct regarding the drug’s increasingly popular use in the “professional worlds,” as well as it slowly becoming an “option for therapy.”
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Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and whiz-kids have reported microdosing on LSD for years. Microsoding is taking a small amount of a psychedelic to experience some of the drug’s cognitive benefits while avoiding a full-blown trip. Scientists are still studying microdosing psychedelics to see if it’s actually doing anything or if it’s merely another placebo. But given the wild financial successes of tech companies in recent years, the computer nerds at Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. may be onto something.
In addition to its clandestine use among white-collar professionals, LSD is being investigated as a treatment for anxiety, addiction, PTSD, chronic depression, and a host of other psychological maladies that are resistant to conventional treatments, too. Although MDMA and psilocybin from mushrooms are getting most of the research (and media) attention right now, some doctors are experimenting with LSD to see if the psychedelic molecule can move beyond long-held social stigmas to become tried-and-true medicine, as well.
The DEA and FDA consider LSD a Schedule I drug, meaning the federal government views LSD as a highly dangerous and addictive substance with “no accepted medical use.”
Regardless of the government’s views, LSD use hasn’t slowed Musgraves’ roll one bit. To date, she has won six Grammys, including “Best Country Album” for Same Trailer Different Park and “Album of the Year” for Golden Hour. Her 2013 single “Follow Your Arrow” was certified platinum in 2015, and Rolling Stone listed the song as one of the “100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time” that same year.
“Performing is this big energy exchange between someone onstage and the audience,” she said to W regarding her first headlining arena tour, which is currently ongoing. “If I step back and look at it, it’s a really trippy thing to think about.”
A really trippy thing, indeed.
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