is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Turku in Finland. He is working on the topic of altered states of consciousness, in particular dreaming, hypnosis, hallucinations and psychedelic drugs. Within the topic of psychedelics, his special areas are online drug-user communities, sacramental and spiritual drug use (i.e. entheogens) and psychedelic harm reduction at parties and festivals. Residing in Budapest, he is the current president of the Hungarian MAPS organisation and a coordinator of the DÁT2 Psy Help psychedelic crisis intervention volunteer group.
Topic 2016: “Voice of the psychonauts: coping, life purpose, and spirituality in psychedelic drug users”
Cultural 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.
leve [ät] utu.fi