Summary: A 2019 study investigated the relationship between psychedelic use and nature-relatedness, finding that psychedelic experiences led to increased connection with nature, mediated by factors like ego-dissolution and natural settings.

These findings suggest that psychedelics may offer a pathway to fostering greater environmental awareness and well-being, potentially supporting the global effort to address ecological challenges.

Since it is largely accepted that we have entered a sixth extinction event following human actions on the planet, this matter should be considered a common and urgent priority for humanity.

Luckily, despite the dearth of interventions for reducing human ecological destruction, psychedelics like Psilocybin and LSD may present a novel pathway to reconnecting humans with Nature and healing the growing sense of alienation from Her.

  • Psychedelics: Nurturing a Natural Connection

    Psychedelic experiences have been linked to heightened nature-relatedness, with factors like ego-dissolution and natural settings playing significant roles. This suggests that psychedelics might offer a unique pathway for individuals to develop a deeper connection with nature, potentially fostering environmental awareness and well-being.

  • Ego-Dissolution: Bridging the Self to Nature

    Ego-dissolution, a hallmark of psychedelic experiences, facilitates an expanded perception of Self/Nature continuity, experienced as an oneness with nature and the world around you. This contributes to increased feelings of nature-relatedness, leading individuals to embrace nature more profoundly and highlighting the interplay between altered states of consciousness and ecological consciousness.

  • Setting Matters: Nature's Influence on Psychedelic Journeys

    Natural settings during psychedelic experiences predict greater connection to nature afterwards. Using nature in psychedelic therapy could improve well-being and encourage eco-friendly behavior, a conclusion that has been echoed in other studies, including a study led by Robin Carhart-Harris the previous year.

A study led by Hannes Kettner and Sam Gandy from the Centre of Psychedelic Research at the Imperial College of London, and supervised by the Psychedelic research pioneer Robin Carhart-Harris, shows that psychedelics like Psilocybin may be used to heal our estranged relationship with Nature, promoting ecological preservation and mental well-being.

Psychedelics as tools for deepening our connection to nature.

The researchers investigated the relationship between nature-relatedness and psychedelic use, namely classical psychedelics like LSD and Psilocybin, to determine whether psychedelics directly cause an increased sense of connection to nature.

Using online surveys and a prospective cohort design, the researchers found that psychedelic experiences, especially in natural settings, were associated with an increased sense of connection post-journey.

Read: 6 Tips for Integrating a Psychedelic Journey

This suggests that integrating natural environments into psychedelic therapy settings has additional benefits for individual well-being and environmental attitudes.

The study also collected online surveys over two years, allowing for a comprehensive look at changes over time. The findings suggest that psychedelic experiences, particularly in natural settings, has a positive and long-term influence on our connection to nature, potentially leading to greater and sustained pro-environmental behaviours.

By highlighting the role of psychedelics in enhancing nature-relatedness, especially in natural settings, the study underscores the importance of reconnecting humans with the natural world.

This has profound implications for combating environmental destruction and promoting sustainable lifestyles.

However, while individual perspectives and actions are crucial and valuable in addressing ecological issues, true ecological justice requires systemic changes and the sincere collective effort of those in positions of power and influence.

By acknowledging the findings of studies like this and incorporating them into policy-making and advocacy efforts, we can collectively work towards a more sustainable and environmentally-conscious future.

And it's up to all of us to make ourselves heard.

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About this psychopharmacology research news.

Authors: Hannes Kettner and Sam Gandy
Source: Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College London
Original Research: Open access.
"From Egoism to Ecoism: Psychedelics Increase Nature Relatedness in a State-Mediated and Context-Dependent Manner" by Hannes Kettner and Sam Gandy et al. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


(1) Background: There appears to be a growing disconnection between humans and their natural environments which has been linked to poor mental health and ecological destruction. Previous research suggests that individual levels of nature relatedness can be increased through the use of classical psychedelic compounds, although a causal link between psychedelic use and nature relatedness has not yet been established.

(2) Methods: Using correlations and generalized linear mixed regression modelling, we investigated the association between psychedelic use and nature relatedness in a prospective online study. Individuals planning to use a psychedelic received questionnaires 1 week before (N = 654), plus one day, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 2 years after a psychedelic experience.

(3) Results: The frequency of lifetime psychedelic use was positively correlated with nature relatedness at baseline. Nature relatedness was significantly increased 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 2 years after the psychedelic experience. This increase was positively correlated with concomitant increases in psychological well-being and was dependent on the extent of ego-dissolution and the perceived influence of natural surroundings during the acute psychedelic state.

(4) Conclusions: 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.

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