AIF Blog

The Science Behind Psychedelic Therapy

Nov 07, 2018
CATEGORY: Science, Health, Society

Author Michael Pollan's latest book, "How to Change Your Mind," explores psychedelic therapy. He talked with writer Corby Kummer about it in Aspen, Colorado.

Psychedelic therapy is being used in trials to treat depression, anxiety, obsession, and trauma. Michael Pollan began writing about it after he spoke with terminal cancer patients who used drugs to overcome a fear of dying. They were taking psilocybin—the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. "It was my conversations with these people," he says, "that convinced me to write. I was someone who was almost psychedelically naive and had very little experience, but I became intensely curious." For his book, How to Change Your Mind, Pollan immersed himself in the psychedelic experience, saying it helped him become more open, emotionally available, patient, and less defensive. He talks with Corby Kummer, senior editor at The Atlantic, about how this kind of therapy is impacting the mind, the self, and the spiritual experience.


Aspen Ideas to Go” is a weekly show featuring fascinating speakers who have presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other public programs offered by the Aspen Institute. For a curated listening experience, subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or find an archive of episodes hereThe views and opinions of the speakers in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Aspen Institute.

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