Psychedelic experiences linked to improvements in personal development and self-insight

If you’ve been on a psychedelic retreat before, it will come as little surprise. Psychedelic experiences have helped many people emerge from depression, anxiety disorders, and plenty of other mental health issues. Not to mention, many on the path to spiritual enlightenment have chosen psychedelics to broaden their thinking and enhance their developmental practices.

This article will help you understand the connection between the anecdotal reports we have received for years at our retreat center and the revelatory 2022 study by Nicole Amada and Jacob Shane. We’re content to see that scientific research is beginning to bridge the gaps in our understanding of how psychedelic medicine functions.

New Research Provides Insight Into Psychedelic Medicine

A study published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology has put forth evidence that post-psychedelic integration practices are strongly linked to one’s optimal state of being. They noticed that this phenomenon was accompanied by large improvements in self-insight and personal development. This trend persisted across clinical and non-clinical populations.

While both LSD and psilocybin have been known to have a positive impact on treating psychiatric conditions, it appears that these medicines could be beneficial outside a clinical context too.

The Question

In their study, Amada and Shane sought to make sense of how psychedelic experiences could help improve well-being in all types of individuals. This had been a point of interest for these researchers for a long time. Having seen the exciting new research into psychedelics coming from the field of psychology, they were inspired to make their own contribution.

Therefore, Amada decided to, in her words, “test a unified model of the potential relationship between psychedelic experience and well-being.”

Amada intended for this model to become the base for longitudinal studies in the future. After all, it’s still early days for psychedelic science. Plus, the study was not going to be limited to clinical populations, the relationship should be identifiable across both clinical and non-clinical populations.

The Study

The research sample included 748 adults who spoke English hailing from 46 different countries, each of whom had used at least one of LSD or psilocybin in the past. Of the participants, around 26% reported having been diagnosed with a mental health condition in , though they were not actively suffering from it. Meanwhile, 21% mentioned that they were currently suffering from a mental health condition.

Each participant answered a questionnaire that inquired into their integration practices following their past psychedelic experiences. The questionnaire covered questions like:

  • Did you intentionally revisit aspects of your psychedelic experience?
  • Did you incorporate aspects of the experience into your daily life? And to what extent?
  • Did you journal or participate in other forms of writing about your experience?
  • Did you discuss your psychedelic experience with other individuals?
  • Did you research psychedelics and similar topics following the retreat?
  • To what extent do you believe your use of LSD and/or psilocybin led to improvements in personal development and self-insight?

For that final question, the researchers told the participants to rate their development based on the Characteristics of Self-Actualization Scale – a scale that draws from Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

The Results

To limit the effect of variables such as duration and frequency of psychedelic use, the researchers controlled those. In the end, they found that integration practices had a positive relationship with self-actualization characteristics and self-healing. The more these participants integrated their psychedelic experiences, the more they agreed with statements like the following:

  • “I accept all of my quirks and desires without shame or apology,”
  • “I often feel gratitude for the good in my life no matter how many times I encounter it,”
  • “I feel as though I have some important task to fulfill in this lifetime.”

Integration and Self-Actualization

The results were clear, those who practiced integration to the greatest extent reported far more benefits to their LSD and psilocybin use than those who didn’t. That said, these results are less of an endorsement of those medicines and more of an endorsement of self-actualization practices. Amada believes that psychedelic experiences must tap into something deep and fundamental to our well-being and allow us to actualize our best selves.

Opportunity For Further Study

Unfortunately, the nature of the data limits the researchers’ ability to determine causality and the direction of the effects. Rather, the data were cross-sectional. The researchers would have liked to obtain data before and after psychedelic experiences and segment participants into controlled groups. Amada encourages future researchers to test her hypotheses more rigorously by paying attention to other variables such as demographics and setting.

path to personal development

What This Research Means For Other Psychedelics

The insight from the Amada and Shane study opens up a lot of doors for future research in psychedelic science. We would like to see more research on other medicines such as Ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT in a more controlled environment. Psychedelic science is an emerging field, but it can only be advanced if we have the means of studying psychedelics, which are heavily regulated making them impossible to legally obtain to conduct this research.

Types Of Psychedelic Retreats

By now, you’re probably aware that integration is a pivotal component of any psychedelic retreat. Let’s take a look at the different types of psychedelic retreats and what you can expect from them. We’re confident that each medicine could suit you well if taken in a controlled environment with experienced guides who facilitate integration.

Psilocybin Retreat

Psilocybin, otherwise known as “magic mushrooms” is a medicine that connects you to the mystical realm. Those who have taken the medicine have used it to facilitate their spiritual journey.

The experience

Psilocybin is an intensely immersive experience. One of the main features of a psilocybin trip is that the medicine makes time appear to slow to a halt. Moreover, the influence of psilocybin leads participants to feel deep love, in which they feel a oneness with everything; a connection, to nature, to others, and the universe as a whole.

As the medicine sets in, your mind will feel more open. Things that are already pleasing without the influence of psilocybin become even more intense. Art, nature, and music all increase in their beauty. Because of this intensification, you should choose to take psilocybin in a context that is removed from intense sensory stressors. Nightclubs and crowds could make you overwhelmed, but a quiet park could be ideal.

about psilocybin mushrooms

Psilocybin mushrooms are naturally occurring and contain psilocybin, which is a psychoactive compound. When you take psilocybin, your body will convert it into psilocin which produces the psychedelic hallucinatory experience that psilocybin is known for.

Since there are over 180 different mushrooms that contain psilocybin, you can find that there is a bit of variance in the experience depending on the mushroom that you select. Some mushroom strains are stronger than others, some are more prevalent in certain geographic locations. For instance, the “liberty cap mushroom” is one of the most widespread in Europe, and is often used during psilocybin retreats in the Netherlands.

psilocybin today

The legality of psilocybin varies from country to country. While the mushrooms are illegal in several Western jurisdictions, there are still areas like California which have become hubs for experimentation with the medicine.

psilocybin benefits

A psilocybin trip generally lasts anywhere between 2 and 6 hours. Throughout the trip, you’ll notice that both your conscious and sensory experience will evolve and change. The larger the dose of mushroom and the stronger the strain, the more intense your trip will be.

Psilocybin often results in its participants thinking in rather unusual and creative ways. New perspectives present themselves to you that would have otherwise been hidden.

psilocybin misconceptions

A lot of people seem to think that the bigger the psilocybin mushroom, the more potency it has. However, this perspective is quite misleading. There are dozens of different mushroom strains, some of which are smaller than average, but far more potent too.

Another misconception is that magic mushrooms lead to ego death. this is the case at very high dosages, but it’s rather unlikely in general. Plus, if you’re a first-time user, it’s recommended that you take a lower dose since you won’t be familiar with the nature of a psilocybin trip.

Ayahuasca Retreat

Ayahuasca is a mixture of sacred plant medicines that contains several psychoactive substances. You might also know it by its more familiar name, “DMT”. Ayahuasca is typically consumed in the form of a beverage.

The experience

Ayahuasca retreats are typically led by a shaman and are conducted in any place where Ayahuasca is not entirely prohibited from consumption. Oftentimes, an Ayahuasca trip is conducted in a group rather than individually.

When you first drink Ayahuasca, you’ll start to feel its effects set in around 20-60 minutes after you drink it. The ceremony itself will last around 4-6 hours. Much like you would during a psilocybin retreat or other psychedelic retreats, you will completely lose track of time.

Your actual experience with the medicine is controlled by your perceptions. Ayahuasca typically shows you whatever you need to see at that moment.

about Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca has been around in South America for at least 1,000 years. However, it’s thought that shamans have been working with this medicine and using it to find the answers to their existential questions for far longer. Far from being limited to DMT, Ayahuasca includes a few other psychoactive medicines that make the medicine perfect for detox.

In the 1950s, doctors began to study Ayahuasca more closely to determine if it was suitable to relieve opiate addiction. As a result, many in the West began to seek out Ayahuasca for its healing capabilities in greater numbers than ever before.

ayahuasca today

Nowadays, you’ll find legions of psychonauts and casuals alike embarking on Ayahuasca retreats in the depths of the Amazon. You’ll find that quite a few people use the medicine to help them with a range of addiction and mental health problems.

Of course, there are also several Ayahuasca-related scams. When you’re choosing a retreat center, you should be cautious to ensure that you don’t fall victim to one and do your research beforehand.

ayahuasca Benefits

To benefit from the healing power of Ayahuasca, you’ll need to put the work in to be true to your inner self. If you do the requisite inner work, you’ll be able to use it to cope with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and drug addiction. Moreover, we believe that it will be far more helpful than most pharmaceutical drugs in this regard too.

One of the main reasons why people take Ayahuasca is to help them resolve their past trauma. People report having a new and empowered mindset after making peace with events that happened in childhood as a result of their use of Ayahuasca.

ayahuasca Misconceptions

First of all, we should be clear that DMT (Ayahuasca) and 5-MeO are completely different substances. Their only similarity is in their chemical structure. The experience with these two medicines is completely different.

Some people also take issue with the fact that Ayahuasca is used for detox. I.e., there is a lot of purging involved when you take the medicine. They would say that this purging invalidates the experience entirely. However, we would beg to differ.

5-MeO-DMT Retreat

5-MeO-DMT retreat is probably one of the most reinvigorating psychedelic retreats you could partake in. The medicine itself is known to produce a deeply mystical experience in all those who partake in it. The 5-MeO experience perhaps isn’t as vivid or hallucinatory as the other 2 medicines we mentioned. However, it is often far more rewarding. Especially when taken at a retreat with a few like-minded individuals.

The experience

A 5-MeO-DMT ceremony only lasts around 10-45 minutes. As a result, you can often expect to take 5-MeO by yourself, even if you take it as part of a group retreat. Despite such a short duration, the experience feels as though it lasts much longer.

During your 5-MeO session, a retreat facilitator should lie you down flat on a pad and keep you relaxed. Hence, the medicine will take effect and spread through your body. The facilitators should be professionally trained and only intervene in the event of an energy blockage or medical problem.

about 5-MeO-Dmt

As a medicine, 5-MeO comes from a variety of sources. People usually call 5-MeO “the toad” since the medicine comes from the Sonoran Desert Toad. However, indigenous cultures in South America have been experimenting with 5-MeO in the form of plant medicine for far longer, typically in the form of crushed seeds.

5-meo-dmt today

Nowadays, the toad populations that produce 5-MeO have been depleted by overly eager psychonauts. In the interest of sustainability, conservationists have encouraged the consumption of synthetic 5-MeO. Certainly, we use synthetic 5-MeO at Tandava because the toad medicine seems rather unethical. Moreover, it’s easier to administer doses of synthetic 5-MeO anyways.

5-meo-dmt benefits

Scientists have observed quite a few benefits to 5-MeO. It’s commonly thought that this medicine helps foster mental health. A 2019 study helped give some more evidence to this hypothesis reporting that those who worked with 5-MeO felt far greater life satisfaction after taking the medicine than they did prior. We often attribute this result to the increased neuroplasticity that 5-MeO gives you. It allows you to quickly form new pathways in your brain thus making it easier for you to learn and adopt new perspectives.

5-meo-dmt misconceptions

Some people erroneously believe that the 5-MeO that comes from the Sonoran Desert Toad is far more effective than that which comes from synthetic sources. We’ve taken both and we’ve noticed no difference in the quality of the session whether we used the toad medicine or the synthetic one.

Experience 5-MeO With Tandava

At the moment, we at Tandava exclusively host 5-MeO-DMT retreats. While the other psychedelic medicines we discussed are useful for spiritual growth, none offer the opportunity for spiritual renaissance that 5-MeO does. When you’re guided by experienced specialists like ours, you can make far more of the experience than you would have otherwise. If you’re feeling called to experience a specialty retreat at our center, we have plenty of options.

We put a lot of effort into integration at our center. Our commitment starts from our first discovery call where we begin to create a container for your experience. This container becomes the lens through which you view your experience and accounts for your personal journey as well as cultural preferences if you have any. We also have 4 follow-up integration calls after the retreat is over to help you apply the lessons from 5-MeO to your daily life.

Reach out to us for an introductory consultation or if you have questions about 5-MeO and our upcoming retreat dates.

 

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