Tag: Michael Pollan

Guided: Michael Pollan shrooming

UCal Professor and food journalist Michael Pollan writes in the New York Times about his first mushroom trip experience, with an underground professional guide:

I WOULD HAVE preferred to have my own guided psilocybin session aboveground in the reassuring confines of a medical institution, but the teams at Hopkins and N.Y.U. weren’t currently working with so-called healthy normals (do I flatter myself?) — and I could lay claim to none of the serious mental problems they were studying. I wasn’t trying to fix anything big — not that there wasn’t room for improvement. Like many people in late middle age, I had developed a set of fairly dependable mental algorithms for navigating whatever life threw at me, and while these are undeniably useful tools for coping with everyday life and getting things done, they leave little space for surprise or wonder or change. After interviewing several dozen people who had undergone psychedelic therapy, I envied the radical new perspectives they had achieved. I also wasn’t sure I’d ever had a spiritual experience, and time was growing short. The idea of “shaking the snow globe” of my mental life, as one psychedelic researcher put it, had come to seem appealing.

Michael Pollan

Magic: Michael Pollan on Denver psilocybin mushrooms initiative

Magic mushrooms are now the lowest priority of law enforcement in Denver, and soon Oregon might vote to legalize psilocybin therapy.

In this New York Times article, How to Change Your Mind author and UCal communications professor Michael Pollan hypothesizes that ballot initiatives might not be the smartest avenue to harness the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics:

I look forward to the day when psychedelic medicines like psilocybin, having proven their safety and efficacy in F.D.A.-approved trials, will take their legal place in society, not only in mental health care but in the lives of people dealing with garden-variety unhappiness or interested in spiritual exploration and personal growth.

My worry is that ballot initiatives may not be the smartest way to get there. We still have a lot to learn about the immense power and potential risk of these molecules, not to mention the consequences of unrestricted use. It would be a shame if the public is pushed to make premature decisions about psychedelics before the researchers have completed their work. There is, too, the risk of inciting the sort of political backlash that, in the late 1960s, set back research into psychedelics for decades. Think of what we might know now, and the suffering that might have been alleviated, had that research been allowed to continue.

Michael pollan