Over the past 30 years, in numerous food- and farm-related articles, and in his five best-selling books, including “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “Food Rules,” Michael Pollan has always retained a degree of journalistic detachment as he’s teased out the complexities of modern food production and consumption — namely why we eat what we eat, and the environmental and health consequences of our choices.

But when Pollan reported on a subject far more controversial than GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and Big Ag — the current renaissance in psychedelics research — for a 2015 New Yorker article “The Trip Treatment,” he realized he had “just scratched the surface” of a subject that only amped up his fascination the more he learned.

While interviewing clinicians and patients at New York University and Johns Hopkins about the exciting therapeutic potential of LSD and psilocybin to treat acute depression, anxiety, addiction and end-of-life “existential distress,” “I was hearing reports of mystical experiences, and about these underground trip guides (a large concentration of them in the Bay Area), this whole world I didn’t know about,” Pollan, 63, said on a recent afternoon while sipping green tea in the quiet bay-view living room of his Berkeley hills home.

 

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Michael Pollan takes a trip in his latest book, “How to Change Your Mind”

Michael Pollan takes a trip in his latest book, “How to Change Your Mind”