From Egoism to Ecoism: Psychedelics Increase Nature Relatedness in a State-Mediated and Context-Dependent Manner
Centre for Psychedelic Research, Department of Brain Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London W12 0NN, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Both authors contributed equally to this manuscript.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245147
Received: 1 November 2019 / Revised: 5 December 2019 / Accepted: 8 December 2019 / Published: 16 December 2019
(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.