Article Details


Evolutionary Considerations on the Emerging Subculture of the E-psychonauts and the Novel Psychoactive Substances: A Comeback to the Shamanism?

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 5 ]

Author(s):

Laura Orsolini, Paul St John-Smith, Daniel McQueen, Duccio Papanti, John Corkery and Fabrizio Schifano   Pages 731 - 737 ( 7 )

Abstract:


Background: Evolutionary research on drug abuse has hitherto been restricted to proximate studies, considering aetiology, mechanism, and ontogeny. However, in order to explain the recent emergency of a new behavioral pattern (e.g. ‘the e-psychonaut style’) of novel psychoactive substances’ (NPS) intake, a complementary evolutionary model may be needed.

Objective: A range of evolutionary interpretations on the ‘psychonaut style’ and the recent emergency of NPS were here considered.

Method: The PubMed database was searched in order to elicit evolutionary theory-based documents commenting on NPS/NPS users/e-psychonauts.

Results: The traditional ‘shamanic style’ use of entheogens/plant-derived compounds may present with a range of similarities with the ‘e-psychonauts’ use of mostly of hallucinogen/psychedelic NPS. These users consider themselves as ‘new/technological’ shamans.

Conclusion: Indeed, a range of evolutionary mechanisms, such as: optimal foraging, costly signaling, and reproduction at the expense of health may all cooperate to explain the recent spread and diffusion of the NPS market, and this may represent a reason of concern.

Keywords:

Evolutionary models, novel psychoactive substances, NPS, entheogens, psychonauts, shamanism, evolution, psychiatry.

Affiliation:

Psychopharmacology, Drug Misuse and Novel Psychoactive Substances Research Unit, School of Life and Medical Sciences, College Lane Campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 1WA, Child and Family Department, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, Child and Family Department – 120 Belsize Lane, London, NW3 5BA & Eating Disorder Unit, Cygnet Hospital Ealing, 22 Corfton Road, Ealing, W5 2HT, Psychopharmacology, Drug Misuse and Novel Psychoactive Substances Research Unit, School of Life and Medical Sciences, College Lane Campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, Psychopharmacology, Drug Misuse and Novel Psychoactive Substances Research Unit, School of Life and Medical Sciences, College Lane Campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, Psychopharmacology, Drug Misuse and Novel Psychoactive Substances Research Unit, School of Life and Medical Sciences, College Lane Campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB

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