You might have heard it from your tripper buddy or read it somewhere (possibly on VICE?) but the stories of those who have dropped acid or done other psychedelics, and then gone on to talk to trees or just gaze at the natural world in wonder, are at once hilarious and intriguing. But in case you’re skeptical about their experience actually amounting to something, a new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health confirms that psychedelics can make you feel closer and more connected to nature.
“We 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,” researchers concluded in a study titled ‘From Egoism to Ecoism: Psychedelics Increase Nature Relatedness in a State-Mediated and Context-Dependent Manner’.
The study conducted by the Imperial College of London essentially says that people who trip on psilocybin mushrooms (or magic mushrooms), LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, mescaline and more tend to form a stronger bond and appreciation for nature, even long after the euphoric effects of the hallucinogenic substance have worn off. This also contributed to their larger sense of psychological well-being, and made people look for happiness in natural environments.
Analysing data collected from 654 people who were planning to trip on psychedelics, the study asked participants how much they agreed with suggestive statements like ‘My ideal vacation spot would be a remote, wilderness area’, ‘My relationship to nature is an important part of who I am’, and ‘I feel very connected to all living things and the earth’ after having taken a psychedelic drug.
Based on their answers, the authors concluded that the participants could be experiencing a “positive-feedback-like effect,” where psychedelic use “led individuals to subsequently seek more exposure to nature,” thus reinforcing connections with the natural world. “Increases in nature relatedness were also found to be mediated by ego-dissolution experiences occurring under the influence of the psychedelic, along with access to natural settings during the acute experience,” the study’s lead author Sam Gandy told psychology news portal PsyPost.
“These findings point to the potential of psychedelics to induce enduring positive changes in the way humans relate to their natural environments,” the authors state in the study. The study also surprisingly found that this appreciation for nature went on for long periods of time, from anywhere between two weeks to two years. “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 study concluded, a connection many have previously suggested could make people care more about climate change. Maybe climate change deniers should drop acid once in a while.
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