The spirituality of psychedelic drug users
“Only high-dose psychedelic drug users were included, as high doses are required to induce mystical states. Low dose usage is popular with people who primarily enjoy the perceptual effects such as enhancement of music during raves.”
These findings do suggest that people who use psychedelic drugs consider themselves more spiritual, and perhaps less materialistic, than people who prefer other drugs or who do not use illegal drugs at all. A more difficult question to answer is whether taking psychedelic drugs induces people to become more open to spiritual beliefs and values, or whether people who already have these beliefs and values are more inclined than others to use these drugs. Lerner and Lyvers suggest that the answer is probably a combination of both as persons on a spiritual quest are more likely to take these drugs and their subsequent experiences may strengthen and deepen their spiritual values and beliefs. There does seem to be evidence that there may be a two-way relationship between psychedelic drug use and having spiritual and mystical beliefs. A study on psilocybin by Griffiths et al. (2011) found that people who had never used psychedelic drugs before reported long-term (assessed over a period of 14 months) increases in “death transcendence”. That is, participants expressed an increased belief that there is continuity after death, e.g. belief that death is not an ending but a transition to something even greater than this life. One of the core features of mystical experience is “an intuitive belief that the experience is a source of objective truth about the nature of reality”.