JAN 06, 2020 9:27 AM PST

Psychedelics Linked to Stronger Connection to Nature

WRITTEN BY: Julia Travers

Taking psychedelic drugs, sometimes referred to as “tripping,” was recently shown to increase individuals’ “nature relatedness” or positive association with and connection to the natural world. Researchers from the Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research worked with 654 people planning to take substances like psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, ayahuasca, DMT, mescaline and ibogaine -- which vary widely in chemical make-up and effect. Using statistical analysis of the participants’ self-reported relationship with nature before and after taking the drugs, the study authors found “a strong relationship between the amount of lifetime use of psychedelics and nature relatedness, as well as increases in nature relatedness from before to after psychedelic use.”

The sample population’s baseline nature connection was higher than demographically similar populations, which the researchers stated may have been linked to previous psychedelic experiences. The participants’ nature relatedness was found to significantly increase two weeks, four weeks and two years after taking the substances. An increase in feelings of “well-being” was also recorded when the individuals’ appreciative attitudes toward nature increased.

“The here-presented evidence for a context- and state-dependent causal effect of psychedelic use on nature relatedness bears relevance for psychedelic treatment models in mental health and, in the face of the current ecological crisis, planetary health,” the study’s authors state. Psychedelic experiences are known to be somewhat unpredictable and vary from individual to individual. But “the extent of ego-dissolution and the perceived influence of natural surroundings during the acute psychedelic state” were found to influence the pro-nature and positive effects of the experiences.

Connecting to and spending time in nature has been found to be healthy and beneficial for people in multiple ways. It also can drive people’s interest in eco-friendly practices and conservation.

“Arguably, by meaningfully connecting with nature during a psychedelic experience (especially so if the experience is within the context of pleasing natural surroundings), otherwise healthy individuals may be enticed to spend more time in nature in the future, thereby adopting healthier, more nature-related lifestyles,” the authors wrote.

While cannabis legalization continues to advance across the U.S. at a fairly steady clip, a national movement to decriminalize psychedelics is also picking up steam, as Marijuana Movement reported.

Sources:

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Marijuana Movement

About the Author
Julia Travers is a writer, artist and teacher. She frequently covers science, tech, conservation and the arts. She enjoys solutions journalism. Find more of her work at jtravers.journoportfolio.com.
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