How to Change Your Mind was a dense, but truly interesting read. In this modern age, it seems that more people are depressed and anxious than aren't, myself included. If you're familiar with the foot-long list of side effects of commonly used medications, the idea that something natural could, without side effects or addictive properties, successfully treat a whole host of mental disorders is stunning. Pollan guides the reader through the very beginnings of psychedelic use by mankind, from thousands of years ago with psilocybin to the 1940's for LSD, and the subsequent demonization that occurred during the moral panic of the mid 60's. I was stunned to find that legitimate research had taken place that proved that psychoactives were successful in treating everything from depression to addiction, but that the research had been halted and gone underground. While this was interesting, the history was sometimes dryly presented, especially when compared to the author's own experiences and the trials currently underway at John Hopkins University and others. Upon interviewing terminally ill cancer patients before and after a therapist-assisted dose of psilocybin, Pollan found that for the vast majority their fear of death had completely subsided. They had become content with their endings and certain that death was not the end. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn about the human mind, and also to sufferers of depression, anxiety, or addictions who could use a hopeful boost.
The best-selling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma presents a groundbreaking investigation into the medical and scientific revolution currently taking place in the field of psychedelic drugs, drawing on a range of experiences to trace the criminalization of such substances as LSD and psychedelic mushrooms and how they may offer treatment options for difficult health challenges.