mandalas, colorful, abstract, Psychedelics

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Click below to listen to this article:


Psychedelics are a class of substances that alter perception, mood, and cognition in profound ways. They have been used for millennia by various cultures and traditions for spiritual and therapeutic purposes. Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in psychedelics as potential tools for enhancing wellbeing, creativity, and personal growth. One of the most intriguing aspects of psychedelic experiences is the possibility of achieving self-transcendence, a state of awareness that transcends the boundaries of the ego and connects one with a larger reality, often via numinous experiences. This article will explore the concept of self-transcendence, its benefits and challenges, and how psychedelics can facilitate it.

What are psychedelics?

Psychedelics are a class of substances that alter perception, mood, cognition, and behaviour by affecting various neurotransmitter systems in the brain. They are also known as hallucinogens because they can induce hallucinations, or sensory distortions, that are not based on reality. Some examples of psychedelics are lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms), mescaline (found in peyote cactus), dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and ayahuasca (a brew made from DMT-containing plants). Psychedelics have been used for centuries by various cultures for religious, spiritual, and therapeutic purposes. However, they are also illegal in most countries and can have adverse effects on mental and physical health, such as anxiety, paranoia, psychosis, and cardiovascular complications. Therefore, they should be used with caution and under medical supervision.

Types of psychedelics

Psychedelics are a class of substances that alter perception, mood, cognition, and behaviour by affecting various neurotransmitter systems in the brain. There are different types of psychedelics, each with its own chemical structure and mode of action. Some of the most common types of psychedelics are:

Sign up for our Newsletter!
We will send you regular updates regarding new articles, as well as hints and tips regarding self-transcendence. We aim to limit this to once per month, though some months we will have additional special editions covering significant articles worthy of being the sole focus of a newsletter. There will be no sales spam or selling your address to third parties.
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD): A synthetic compound derived from ergot, a fungus that grows on rye. LSD is one of the most potent psychedelics, producing vivid visual hallucinations, altered sense of time and space, and profound changes in mood and thought. LSD can also cause anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis in some users.
  • Psilocybin: A natural compound found in certain mushrooms, such as Psilocybe cubensis. Psilocybin is converted to psilocin in the body, which acts on serotonin receptors in the brain. It can induce mystical experiences, enhanced creativity, and emotional insight. Psilocybin can also cause nausea, confusion, and panic attacks in some users.
  • Dimethyltryptamine (DMT): A natural compound found in many plants and animals, such as the ayahuasca vine and the toad Bufo alvarius. DMT is usually smoked or ingested orally with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), which prevents its breakdown in the body. This can produce intense and rapid-onset effects, such as geometric patterns, alien encounters, and out-of-body experiences. DMT can also cause physical discomfort, agitation, and psychological distress in some users.
  • Mescaline: A natural compound found in several cacti, such as Peyote and San Pedro. It acts on serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain. Mescaline can induce euphoria, empathy, and spiritual insight. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, and headache in some users.
  • Ibogaine: A natural compound found in the root bark of the African shrub Tabernanthe iboga. Ibogaine acts on multiple neurotransmitter systems in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, opioid, and glutamate. It can facilitate addiction recovery, personal growth, and psychological healing. Ibogaine can also cause cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, and death in some users.
self-transcendence and psychedelics

Psychedelics are substances that can induce profound changes in one’s state of consciousness, often leading to experiences of transcendence. Transcendence is a term that refers to the ability to go beyond the ordinary limits of perception, cognition, and selfhood, and to access a higher or deeper reality. Psychedelics can facilitate transcendence by affecting various aspects of the brain and mind, such as:

  • neurotransmitter levels: Psychedelics can alter the balance of chemicals in the brain that regulate mood, cognition, and perception. For example, psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) mimics serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is involved in mood regulation, learning, and memory. By stimulating serotonin receptors in the brain, psilocybin can enhance positive emotions, creativity, and openness to new experiences.
  • mystical experiences: Psychedelics can induce mystical experiences, which are characterized by a sense of unity with all things, a loss of ego boundaries, a feeling of awe and wonder, and a conviction of having encountered a sacred or divine reality. mystical experiences can have lasting positive effects on one’s psychological well-being, such as reducing depression, anxiety, and addiction. They can also foster a new perspective on life and a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.
  • Subconscious processes: Psychedelics can access the subconscious layers of the mind, where memories, emotions, and traumas are stored. By bringing these hidden aspects to the surface of awareness, psychedelics can help one confront and heal from past wounds, release negative patterns, and integrate repressed parts of oneself. They can also stimulate the imagination and creativity, allowing one to explore new possibilities and potentials.

In summary, psychedelics can facilitate transcendence by altering the brain chemistry, inducing mystical experiences, and accessing subconscious processes. These effects can help one transcend the limitations of ordinary consciousness and connect with a more profound or higher reality.

Benefits and challenges of psychedelics

Psychedelics are a group of psychoactive drugs that can induce hallucinations and feelings of euphoria. They can also alter one’s perception of reality, sense of self, and mood. Some people use psychedelics for recreational purposes, while others use them for spiritual or therapeutic reasons. However, psychedelics also pose some challenges and risks that need to be considered.

Some of the benefits of psychedelics may include:

  • Improving mood and well-being. Some studies have suggested that psychedelics can have lasting positive effects on mood, anxiety, depression, and psychological distress. For example, psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in people with life-threatening illnesses.
  • Enhancing creativity and cognition. Some anecdotal reports claim that micro-dosing psychedelics, which involves taking very low doses of a psychedelic substance, can boost creativity, focus, and problem-solving skills. However, empirical evidence for this claim is limited and inconsistent.
  • Treating substance use disorders. Some research has indicated that psychedelics can help people overcome addiction to alcohol, tobacco, or opioids. For instance, LSD and psilocybin have been found to reduce cravings and relapse rates in people with alcohol dependence.

Some of the challenges of psychedelics may include:

  • Physiological discomfort. Some common side effects of psychedelics are nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. These effects can vary depending on the type, dose, and purity of the substance, as well as the individual’s physiology and expectations.
  • Psychological distress. Some people may experience negative psychological reactions to psychedelics, such as anxiety, paranoia, confusion, panic, or psychosis. These reactions can be influenced by the setting, mood, personality, and history of mental illness of the user. Some people may also have unpleasant or disturbing hallucinations or flashbacks.
  • Legal and social consequences. Many psychedelic substances are illegal in most countries and can result in criminal charges or penalties if possessed or consumed. Moreover, some people may face stigma or discrimination for using psychedelics or disclosing their use to others.

In conclusion, psychedelics are a diverse class of drugs that can have both benefits and challenges for users. They may offer some potential therapeutic applications for various mental health conditions, but they also carry some risks and uncertainties that need to be weighed carefully. More research is needed to understand the mechanisms, effects, and optimal dosages of psychedelics for different purposes and populations.

New article alerts!
We will notify you of new articles as soon as they are published. There will be no sales spam or selling your address to third parties.
State of research

The use of psychedelics for self-transcendence has been a topic of interest for many researchers and seekers of personal change. self-transcendence refers to the experience of going beyond one’s ordinary sense of self and feeling connected to a larger reality, often described as mystical, spiritual, or awe-inspiring. Psychedelics are substances that can induce altered states of consciousness, such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, and ayahuasca.

According to recent studies, psychedelics can facilitate self-transcendence by altering metaphysical beliefs, enhancing openness to experience, increasing awe-proneness, and inducing mystical experiences. These effects can have lasting impacts on personality adjustment and growth, mental health, and wellbeing. However, these outcomes may depend on factors such as the intention, setting, and integration of the psychedelic experience.

Some examples of current research on psychedelics and self-transcendence are:

  • A study that investigated the synergistic effects of meditation and psychedelics on self-transcendence and personal change in 75 participants.
  • A study that explored how psychedelics alter metaphysical beliefs about the nature of reality, consciousness, and free will in 684 online respondents.
  • A study that examined the role of psychedelics as catalysts of spiritual development and ego dissolution in 75 healthy volunteers.
  • A study that compared the effects of VR and psychedelics on inducing Self-transcendent experiences in 30 participants.

These studies suggest that psychedelics can be used as tools to enhance self-transcendence and positive adult development, but more research is needed to understand the mechanisms, moderators, and implications of this phenomenon.

Further reading

Here is a list of weblinks to research articles covering the use of psychedelics for transcendence:

Transcending and Transforming Psychedelics | Harvard divinity School (HDS)
This article explores how psychedelics intersect with religion and spirituality, and how they can facilitate mystical-type experiences that have therapeutic outcomes for patients with depression and substance use disorder. It also discusses the challenges and limitations of studying psychedelics scientifically, and the need for more humanities perspectives on this topic.

Opening to Awe: Psychedelic-Assisted Self-Transcendence and Positive Adult Development | SpringerLink
This article examines how psychedelic use can promote positive adult development, especially when used with self-expansive intentions and actively reflected upon and integrated post use. It also shows how psychedelic use can increase openness to experience, awe-proneness, and mystical experiences, which are mediators of personality adjustment and growth.

Psychedelics alter metaphysical beliefs | Scientific Reports – Nature
This article reports that psychedelic experiences can induce shifts away from positions of hard physicalism and materialism, and towards positions of idealism and panpsychism. It also suggests that these shifts are related to the intensity of the psychedelic experience, the degree of ego dissolution, and the perceived meaningfulness of the experience.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content