(en) Voice of the psychonauts: coping, life purpose, and spirituality in psychedelic drug users – Levente Móró

Levente-150Cultural studies and anecdotal evidence indicate that purposes of psychoactive drug use – both legal and illegal – may also include the pursuit of increased personal well-being. Psychoactive substances, especially psychedelics have been used in relation to religious and spiritual practices, creative processes, social cohesion, and autognostic purposes (increasing self-knowledge). The meaningful interpretation of exceptional life events – which could include psychedelic experiences as well – may lead to a better psychological functioning and an improved quality of life. In our on-line survey study, we assessed 667 drug users and non-users regarding their life quality, coping, and spirituality. Our target “psychonaut” group was matched against drug user and non-user control groups. Results from a cross-table of 23 psychoactive drugs and 14 drug use purposes show a strong connection between psychedelic drugs and autognostic purposes. Moreover, we found support for the initial hypothesis about a positive relationship between psychedelics and self-evaluated life quality. Contradictory to suggestions of previous studies about spirituality as a protective factor against drug use, we also found a positive correlation between spirituality and autognostic purposes of psychedelic drug use. In light of our results, the autognostic use of psychedelics may play a kind of role in mental well-being that cannot be interpreted within psychopathological or social-deviance models of drug abuse.