How to Change your Mind

How to Change your Mind

What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

Book - 2018
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When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third. Thus began a singular adventure into the experience of various altered states of consciousness, along with a dive deep into both the latest brain science and the thriving underground community of psychedelic therapists.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2018
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781594204227
Characteristics: xii, 465 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Jun 11, 2018

Pollan has written a thorough, balanced and utterly fascinating account of psychedelics (psilocybin, LSD, and a little-known toad venom! ) in North America. He covers the recent history which includes many other people than the best known "faces" of earlier days, e.g., Timothy Leary at Harvard, Ken Kesey in California and Abram Hoffer in Saskatchewan. Pollan talks to present-day scientists, medical practitioners, psychotherapists and "trip guides", some of whom are exploring and scientically documenting the use of these drugs to help people with terrible illnesses like PTSD, depression and severe anxiety, and also in palliative care. He experiments himself with psychedelics, and writes in a thoughtful and beautiful way (as always) about these experiences. He explains the neuroscience of the brain and the effects of these drugs in a way that a non-scientist can understand.

I have admired all of Pollan's work since I read "Botany of Desire", and his food books have been celebrated for changing how many people think about what we grow and what we eat, but this book is his best and most important book yet.

PimaLib_MattL Jun 08, 2018

Michael Pollan does an excellent job tracing the history of psychedelic research, from its inception in the 1940’s and 50’s to its demise in the 60’s and its resurrection recently as a treatment for addiction, depression, and the existential fear of death in cancer patients. Psychedelics can induce mystical experiences, which Pollan tries valiantly to describe, despite their ineffability.

May 24, 2018

Mostly a dull laborious read that goes over the same stuff from every angle imaginable. References to online materials may be more enlightening?


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