Friday, January 18, 2013

Psychoactive Substances and Paranormal Phenomena: A Comprehensive Review

Long read, but if you're interested after reading the abstract, the paper can be found here.


This paper investigates the relationship between psychoactive substances and so-called paranormal 
phenomena falling within the study of parapsychology. It is primarily concerned with extrasensory 
perception (ESP)—telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance—as well as out-of-body experiences 
(OBEs) and near-death experiences (NDEs). Psychokinesis (PK), aura vision, encounter experiences, 
and sleep paralysis only make a very limited contribution to this review as they are seldom related 
to psychoactive drugs within the parapsychological literature. The paper borrows widely, but by no 
means exhaustively, from parapsychology as well as transpersonal studies, anthropology, ethnobotany, 
phytochemistry, psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and neurobiology, particularly 
neurochemistry. It is organized into neurochemical models of paranormal experience (section 1), 
field reports of intentional and spontaneous phenomena incorporating anthropological, historical 
and clinical cases, and personal accounts (section 2), surveys of paranormal belief and experience 
(section 3), experimental research (section 4), and a methodological critique of the experimental 
research with recommendations for further work (section 5).