Articles Published in Media Outlets

A Renaissance in the Forbidden Science of Psychedelics

After decades of being forbidden by law for recreation or research, psychedelics are legally enjoying a renaissance in the scientific community as a potential way of treating a wide variety of ailments including PTSD, treatment-resistant depression, OCD, anxiety, and dependence on alcohol and nicotine.

Michael Pollan on the Science and Sublimity of Psychedelics

Michael Pollan has long been fascinated by nature and the ways we connect and clash with it, with decades of writing covering food, farming, cooking, and architecture. Pollan’s latest fascination? Our widespread and ancient desire to use nature to change our consciousness.

Brimming with X

In his new book How To Change Your Mind: The new science of psychedelics, Michael Pollan sets out the twentieth-century history of the use of “psychedelic” substances with clarity, insight and humour. He does his fieldwork – with appropriate trepidation. He goes mushroom hunting. He consumes four different psychedelic tryptamines under suitably controlled conditions – LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca (active ingredient N, N-dimethyltryptamine, sc DMT), and, with shattering results, 5-MeO-DMT, the smoked venom of the Sonoran Desert toad Incilius alvarius – and tells us, as well as he can, what happens. He ends with two chapters laying out the latest neuro­scientific speculations and describing the extraordinarily fruitful renaissance of the use of psychedelics in psychotherapy in the 1990s.

’Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

In 1938 Albert Hofmann, a chemist at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, created a series of new compounds from lysergic acid. One of them, later marketed as Hydergine, showed great potential for the treatment of cerebral arteriosclerosis. Another salt, the diethylamide (LSD), he put to one side, but he had “a peculiar presentiment,” as he put it in his memoir LSD: My Problem Child (1980), “that this substance could possess properties other than those established in the first investigations.”

A Guide for Psychedelic Virgins and Skeptics?

When Pollan agrees to take psychedelic drugs, he presents himself as a stand-in for the skeptical reader; he is an LSD-virgin turned “psychonaut” for the purposes of journalistic and scientific inquiry.

How to Change Your Mind: Michael Pollan on How the Science of Psychedelics Illuminates Consciousness, Mortality, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

Psychedelics, Pollan argues, eject us from our habitual consciousness to invite a pure experience of reality that calls to mind Jeanette Winterson’s notion of “active surrender” and Emerson’s exultation in “the power to swell the moment from the resources of our own heart until it supersedes sun & moon & solar system in its expanding immensity.” Pollan arrives at this conclusion not only by surveying the history of and research on psychedelics, but by conducting a series of carefully monitored experiments on himself — he travels the world to meet with mycologists, shamans, and trained facilitators, and to experience first-hand the most potent psychedelics nature and the chemistry lab have produced, from the psilocybin mushroom to LSD to the smoked venom of a desert toad.

Michael Pollan: Why I started taking LSD and what it helped me to do

Are psychedelic drugs, like youth, wasted on the young? Could middle age be the ideal time to try some consciousness expanding – to “shake the snow globe” as one neuroscientist puts it.

London Real: Psychedelics — How to Change Your Mind

Pollan’s new book How to Change Your Mind, dives deep into the world of psychedelics, through meetings with shamans, magic mushroom hunts, and using yourself as a guinea-pig, he takes the readers on a journey to the frontiers of the human mind.

The Guardian Books podcast: Michael Pollan on the history, science and experience of taking psychedelic drugs

On this week’s show, we’re talking to Michael Pollan. You may know him from his food writing – books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Botany of Desire, or Cooked, which is also now a Netflix show. His latest focus, however, is something quite different – still something consumable – it’s psychedelic drugs.

Real Time with Bill Maher—Michael Pollan: Psychedelic Science

Professor and author Michael Pollan joins Bill to discuss his latest book: “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.