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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2011 Jul-Sep;43(3):188-98.

Voice of the psychonauts: coping, life purpose, and spirituality in psychedelic drug users.

Author information

1
Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Finland. leve@utu.fi

Abstract

Psychoactive drug use shows great diversity, but due to a disproportionate focus on problematic drug use, predominant nonproblematic drug use remains an understudied phenomenon. Historic and anecdotal evidence shows that natural sources of "psychedelic" drugs (e.g., mescaline and psilocybin) have been used in religious and spiritual settings for centuries, as well as for psychological self-enhancement purposes. Our study assessed a total of 667 psychedelic drug users, other drug users, and drug nonusers by online questionnaires. Coping, life purpose, and spirituality were measured with the Psychological Immune Competence Inventory, the Purpose in Life test, and the Intrinsic Spirituality Scale, respectively. Results indicate that the use of psychedelic drugs with a purpose to enhance self-knowledge is less associated with problems, and correlates positively with coping and spirituality. Albeit the meaning of "spirituality" may be ambiguous, it seems that a spiritually-inclined attitude in drug use may act as a protective factor against drug-related problems. The autognostic use of psychedelic drugs may be thus hypothesized as a "training situation" that promotes self-enhancement by rehearsing personal coping strategies and by gaining self-knowledge. However, to assess the actual efficiency and the speculated long-term benefits of these deliberately provoked exceptional experiences, further qualitative investigations are needed.

PMID:
22111402
DOI:
10.1080/02791072.2011.605661
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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