International Journal of Transpersonal Studies


Anthropologists have studied the use of hallucinogens as a spiritual tool by indigenous

populations since the turn of the 20th century. However, literature is sparse in describing

use by non-indigenous populations. Using a study population of students from a university

in the Southwest United States, the current study investigated the spiritual development and

meaning that college students place on their use of hallucinogenic substances. The spiritual

framework developed by Love and Talbot (1999) and a transpersonal anthropological

approach were used to guide the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with

each participant. Results indicated that participants used hallucinogens for both spiritual

and recreational purposes with hallucinogen use playing an important role in their continued

exploration of spirituality, which was an integral part of their lives. This pilot study could

serve as a primer for future research on the role of hallucinogen use in the spiritual experiences

of contemporary U.S. college students, and other non-indigenous Western populations.