How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan
Book by journalist Michael Pollan (author of the Omnivore’s Dilemma) about psychedelics like LSD, and its yet untapped potential for medicine. The author is in his 60s and did not try these drugs during his youth, so it’s not someone you’d expect to write about this topic. Trials found that LSD created intense spiritual experiences in participants and it is a promising avenue for treating a variety of mental illnesses, but its cultural taboo prevents it from being taken seriously.
LSD was first discovered in 1938 and gained some popularity especially among the counterculture movement in the 1960s. Some early research was done but the topic became taboo and funding for psychedelics research dried up in the 1970s, and it wasn’t until two decades later that scientific experiments were allowed again involving LSD.
The topic is interesting, but the writing is quite repetitive, covering the personalities and anecdotes about people who worked on psychedelics research in the 1960s and afterwards, and numerous descriptions of what it was like to get high on LSD. I stopped reading it after about 100 pages.