#69 Michael Pollan: Could Psychedelics Solve the Mental Health Crisis?

CAUTION ADVISED: this podcast contains swearing.

Many of you will know Michael Pollan as a world-renowned food writer but now he has written a book that brings psychedelic drugs into mainstream consciousness. But why? Long before they gained a bad reputation, it seemed to researchers, scientists and doctors as though psychedelics were going to be the new wonder drugs for mental illnesses. They promised to treat conditions like alcoholism, depression and anxiety without the side effects associated with conventional drugs. But unfortunately, in the 1960’s, there was a backlash against the counter-culture who had embraced psychedelics and all further research was banned. Now, decades later, the world is in the grip of a mental health crisis. But thankfully, there is a glimmer of hope – research has recently begun again on the amazing potential of LSD, DMT and psilocybin. This week, I sit down with Michael Pollan to take a deep dive into this extraordinary world. We explore the remarkable history of psychedelics, the findings of the current research in this area and Michael shares his own personal experiences with psychedelics under the guidance of therapists. Whilst larger scale studies are still needed, we talk about how therapist-guided psychedelic drug therapy could potentially change the way healthcare is delivered for mental illnesses – perhaps meaning a resolution of not only symptoms for patients, but also in many cases, the fundamental root causes. Finally, we discuss the potential wider use of psychedelics as a tool for social change. This really is a gripping and eye-opening conversation – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Show notes available at drchatterjee.com/changeyourmind

Click here for Michael's book How to Change your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics.

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