Psychedelic drugs can positively affect people’s relationship with nature and promote eco-friendly behaviors, according to research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
“In light of these findings, the present results once more raise the question whether a continuing prohibition of these experiences is indeed a worthwhile pursuit,” study authors Matthias Forstmann and Christina Sagioglou said in their article.
The experiences they’re talking about are produced by the so-called “classic” psychedelic drugs, which include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), “magic” psilocybe mushrooms, peyote, dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and ayahuasca.
In their study, the researchers surveyed 1,487 about their past drug use, relationship to nature, personality traits, and a number of other demographic variables.
They found that people who had used classic psychedelics were more likely to report that they enjoyed spending time in nature and were more likely to see themselves as a part of nature. This effect was independent of personality and political orientation.
The heightened level of nature relatedness was not found among people who had consumed other types of recreational drugs like alcohol or stimulants.
Psychedelic users who felt their self-identity was embedded in nature, in turn, were more likely to report engaging in everyday pro-environmental behaviors, such as recycling and buying environmentally friendly products.
“That is, the perception of being part of the natural world — rather than being separate from it — that is heightened for people who have experience with classic psychedelics, is largely responsible for the increased pro-environmental behavior that these people report,” the researchers explained in their study.
The study employed a cross-sectional design, which prevents the researchers from making firm conclusions about cause and effect.
Rather than psychedelics promoting nature relatedness, for example, it could be that people who feel more connected to nature are more likely to consume psychedelic drugs. But the researchers do not beleive that this is the case.
“As the relationship we found remained significant after controlling for demographic variables and personality traits such as openness to experience, conscientiousness, or political attitudes, it is unlikely that the association we found can be entirely explained by a collection of personality traits stereotypically associated with psychedelic users (e.g. being of the ‘hippie’ type).”