I am pretty straight-laced and have viewed ‘drugs’ as bad, with little exploration even in my younger years. Both of my parents experimented with various drugs, including psychedelics, in the bay area in the 70’s. While this was common, in my view they were never well-adjusted and happy people, and despite the many possible reasons for this, I chose to blame the drugs. Psychedelics in particular in the case of my father. He was never able to hold a job for a reasonable period of time, and he struggled to fit into society. He constantly told me stories of his younger adventurous years, sometimes mentioning that drugs were involved, enough that I gathered they were abundant at certain points in his life. I could sense his longing for those times as he went on and on with the stories. They included experiences that didn’t make any sense to me in the world I knew (talking to people without actually talking to them, knowing my mom was pregnant because of a bird). Perhaps those examples help you understand why I concluded that drugs were to blame, and since I didn’t want to be the person I saw in front of me, drugs were in my mind bad. Even the kind that are just natural mushrooms-I was not discerning in my blame.
With this background, it has been an interesting mental journey as I learn more about the resurgence of research into the use of psychedelics to treat drug-resistant depression and many types of addictions. The only reason I am paying any attention at all to this resurgence is because of Tim Ferriss’ interest in it. I have spent hours upon hours with Tim Ferriss through his podcasts (long form interviews with amazing people). During this time, as well as reading his books and social media engagements, I have come to trust him. What’s more, he has interviewed other people who have experience with psychedelics and their research (links to a sampling below).
The stories are very compelling.
I still hold my baggage from childhood, but the stories of others’ positive experiences have sat with me long enough that I am now extremely excited about the potential for some of these compounds to help those around me, and possibly myself someday.
If you want to learn more or listen to the podcasts that have influenced my thinking, here are a number of links. The podcast episodes will appeal to different people, or not at all. They have different takes, and some are more story oriented than others (there are some amazing stories of people’s experiences in these interviews). If you are interested and do not like one, move onto the next:
- Michael Pollen (Did you know that his most recent book is about psychedelics?)
- Hamilton Morris
- Stan Grof
- Paul Stamets
- Dr. Andrew Weil
- New York Times article about Tim Ferriss’ involvement with psychedelic research.
- September 2019 panel interview after the opening of a psychedelic research center at Johns Hopkins (funded by wealthy people including Tim Ferriss himself).
- Another panel interview.
- This is a movie that Tim Ferriss raves about. I have not yet brought myself to watch it yet because I think it will be too emotional for me, but you may enjoy it. Called Trip of Compassion.
- For a much lighter fictional take, with a hint of this topic, I really enjoyed Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. Plus, it’s set in my favorite place, Australia, which makes it all the more fun for me.