When I hear the word “psychedelic,” multiple things come to mind: hippies, free love, and, of course, drugs. But increasingly there is a trend in research showing that psychedelic drugs can actually have positive effects on mental health and can be used to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. If this piques your interest, check out one of the four books below by authors who explore this new area of medicine, both from the third-person perspective and from the slightly more trippy first-person point of view.
1. How to Change Your Mind: Exploring the New Science of Psychedelics by Michael Pollan
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Better known for his books on food, Michael Pollan was inspired to write this book after reading an article in The New York Times about terminally ill patients who were given psychedelics in order to deal with their anxiety about death. In this book, Pollan explores both the science and history behind psychedelic therapy and even tries some of these psychoactive substances for himself. It’s a personal but exciting look into the subject of human consciousness and how we might best treat suffering and find meaning in life.
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Ayelet Walman is known for her mysteries, but her most recent book is instead the story of her experiences using microdoses of LSD to treat her unstable moods. Within this context, she explores the history, policies, and research surrounding LSD and its therapeutic value.
3. Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy by Don Lattin
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Written by Don Lattin, a journalist, this book chronicles multiple stories of the “revolution” in our culture’s relationship with psychedelic substances. He describes the efforts of psychotherapists, neuroscientists, and even spiritual guides who are using psychoactive drugs to treat patients with everything from alcoholism to existential distress caused by life-threatening illnesses.
4. Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca by Dr. Richard Louis Miller
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Since this book is written by Dr. Richard Louis Miller, a clinical psychologist, it should not be surprising that it takes a more technical approach to its analysis of psychedelic drugs. It covers the history of psychedelic research, the most recent research into the field of psychedelic therapy, and the possible future for this area of medicine.
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