Psychoactive Substances and Paranormal Phenomena: A Comprehensive Review

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).


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