Alongside the latest self-help books on making yourself trimmer, stronger and smarter is one whose unusual subject has made it a best-seller: mind improvement using psychedelic drugs.
“How to Change Your Mind” (Penguin Press, 2018) is not the story of LSD in the 1960s, although there’s plenty of that history within its pages. Rather, one of the most popular nonfiction books of the year is author Michael Pollan’s exploration of how science is beginning to recognize the positive potential of a host of psychoactive substances such as psilocybin, mescaline or ayahuasca on the human mind.
While research is still in the very early stages, recent scientific papers have provided some evidence that psychedelics could offer benefits to people with severe anxiety due to a terminal disease, those suffering from severe cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or people dealing with alcohol or drug addiction. Other research has begun to ask whether short-term “micro-dosing” with psilocybin or similar substances might provide long-term relief from anxiety.