Are Psychedelic Experiences Real?

Are the insights from a psychedelic experience real? Are they true? Can you trust them? Or are they just drug-induced hallucinations?

Matt Gangloff
4 min readMar 9, 2022


Photo by Adryan RA on Unsplash

A psychedelic experience can change you.

One study found 67% of people who had a mystical or religious experience on psilocybin rated it as “one of the five most personally meaningful experiences” of their lives even 14-months later.

In another study that surveyed thousands of psychedelic users, the majority reported lasting positive changes in their psychological health — including life satisfaction, purpose, and meaning. Two-thirds of self-described Atheists shed that label after having a psychedelic-induced mystical experience.

Psychedelics have been used for thousands of years and likely formed the basis of many of the world’s religions, says John’s Hopkins Researcher, Dr. Roland Griffiths. That’s where we derive the basis for morality — how we should and shouldn’t act.

Many psychonauts, myself included, don’t have a religious affiliation but derive our fundamental beliefs about the nature of reality and how we should live our lives based on insights received in psychedelic experience.

This begs the question: should we? Can we trust the psychedelic experience? Are psychedelic experiences “true?” And does that even matter?

Psychedelic Experience Vs Sensory Experience

In a recent podcast interview, Panpsychist Philosopher Phillip Goff, author of Galileo’s Error, made the following comment:

There’s a sort of double standard in saying, ‘It’s okay to trust our ordinary sensory experiences, but it’s not okay for the person on DMT to trust those experiences.’ It’s very philosophically difficult to say ‘Why is it okay to trust one case and not the other.’

Almost everyone trusts their sensory experience — sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who, holding a coffee mug in their hand, doesn’t…



Matt Gangloff

I teach the how-to’s of Post-Traumatic Growth: How to heal and grow, find a new mission, become your best self and build a meaningful life.