Looking for a way to connect with nature? Well, that’s no surprise. This is Colorado, after all—which is home to throngs of nature-loving people (many of whom also love their substances).
And while weed can be a great tool to help you feel one with the planet, you have a few other less legal options, too. So what do we mean by that? Well, we’re talking psychedelics, silly.
Certain psychedelic substances have long been associated with better connection to nature and time spent outdoors, meditating on the self as a seamless part of the natural world rather than an entity separate from it. Peyote, mescaline, LSD and psilocybin have been linked to people who express a feeling of closeness with nature, and recent research has shown it stems from effects these substances have on conscious awareness of the self. Self-reported data reveals that people who use psychedelics are more likely to be environmentally conscious, to engage in volunteer work or other activities related to cleaning up the planet, and to be concerned about the future effects of global warming.
This group has also been found to enjoy spending more time than average in the outdoors, whether it’s hiking through dense forests, swimming in rivers, or desert pilgrimages to the Burning Man festival each year.
Another interesting finding from this study reports that only certain psychedelics have a strong connection to increases in these behaviors. Although many people who instead use cannabis are also environmentally conscious, the numbers aren’t as high as those who use psychedelics.
The better connection to nature comes from the drugs’ suppression of certain subconscious thought processes that normally create a sense of separation between humans and the natural world. These effects are temporary, and their duration depends on the specific psychoactive substance, how much has been ingested and the individual’s metabolism. One psychedelic that’s been of particular interest to researchers is a variety of psilocybin fungi that’s popularly known as “magic mushrooms.”
Along with deeper feelings of connection to nature, magic mushrooms have been tested as one of the safest illicit substances in the world. Overdoses are nearly physically impossible, and the potential for dependency is low compared to other recreational hard drugs. On average, only 0.2% of drug-related emergency room visits have been due to the effects of magic mushrooms. The most common mind-bending effects of this psychedelic include altered senses of time and space, visual hallucinations, and enhanced perception. When trying any psychoactive drugs out in nature, it’s advisable to only do so in a safe area and ideally have a designated friend who will stay aware of the immediate surroundings.
Psychedelics have long been associated with communion with nature, and scientific studies reveal this is due to effects on certain parts of the brain. Mescaline, LSD and psilocybin all belong in this group, and moderate amounts of them can raise awareness of the self as an inseparable part of the natural world.
Magic mushrooms were decriminalized in Denver back in 2019, so certain Colorado residents may have the option to expand their minds without the harsh consequences that can come with indulging in certain types of psychedelics. But if you’re going to indulge, be sure it’s always in a safe environment and with other people in order to avoid getting lost. Ain’t nobody need that type of mess on their hands.