For decades, psychedelics have evoked a freewheeling past, calling to mind images of hippie counterculture and swirly neon patterns. Recently, however, psychedelics have become synonymous with serious, forward-looking science. Researchers at renowned institutions are researching the mental-health effects of pairing psychedelics with psychotherapy, and with the promising research has come a surge of investment in new psychedelic start-up companies.
Few people have done more to return psychedelics to the popular imagination—while lending them a dose of credibility—than author Michael Pollan. In his bestselling 2018 book, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, Pollan introduced a wide audience to the scientific promise of psychedelic drugs. He also described his own life-changing experiences with the drugs. Since then, Pollan has become one of the world’s most prominent advocates for expanding research into psychedelic drugs, and he co-founded the new UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics, which launched in 2020. Now, Pollan has partnered with Netflix to adapt his book into a four-part docuseries called How to Change Your Mind, which premiered July 12.
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