A neuroscientist reviews Michael Pollan’s “How to Change Your Mind”

The book shines new light on the revitalized field of psychedelic medicine

It’s safe to say that very few book advances have been spent the way Michael Pollan spent his most recent one: traipsing around the country sampling psychedelic drugs under the guise of “research.”

Fortunately for them, and for us, his travels culminated in the newly released book, How to Change Your Mind, in which he recounts both physical and spiritual excursions in order to shine new light on the revitalized field of psychedelic medicine. The book is strikingly personal and, even without using psychedelics to treat any specific disease, by the end Pollan has adopted the same awed tones used by patients, researchers, and advocates he interviews who believe that these hallucinogens are the keys to understanding and salvation. However you may personally define that tricky piece of business, he does do a remarkable job convincing us these devotees may be on to something, interweaving their modern success stories with the history and science of this class of substances.

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