Psychedelics, Depression and Mind-Expansion: Some Reliable Resources

Note: New articles, videos, podcast episodes, books and other resources appear almost daily on the subjects of mind-altering drugs in general, mindfulness and meditation, psilocybin, and the use of psychedelics in the treatment of various mental health disorders. I make no effort here to provide an exhaustive list: these are the resources I have read or viewed and found to be of interest or value. I welcome recommendations from readers, and I will add new resources as I find them.

* indicates paywall

This text colour indicates resources that have been particularly helpful to me.

Treatment with Psilocybin and LSD

Badelt, Brad, “Take two shrooms and call me in the morning: The medical promise of magic mushrooms,” The Walrus, December 2021. Subtitle: “Psilocybin can treat depression, alcoholism, PTSD, and even cluster headaches. Why is it still illegal?” First-person account of the author’s experience in taking “magic mushrooms” to treat cluster headaches.

Gill, Victoria, “‘I felt more joy than I thought possible’,BBC Science, April 17, 2022. Report on a research program in the UK that is investigating use of psilocybin in the treatment of depression, including an interview with a participant in the study.

Roxby, Philippa, “Psychedelic frees up depressed brain, study shows,” BBC Science, April 11, 2022. Prof. David Nutt describes some findings from a study his group has undertaken to examine the effects of psilocybin on the brains of people with chronic depression. Includes link to their paper published in Nature Medicine.

“Q&A with study authors Roland Griffiths and Robert Jesse on ‘Bad Trips’.” Johns Hopkins Medicine News and Publications. (No date but it’s some time after 2014.) Discusses importance of set and setting to managing “challenging experiences” encountered during psychedelic trips.

Treatments using Ketamine, MDMA and other Non-Psychedelic Treatments

Castaldo, Joe. This is your brain on ketamine: Inside the brave new world of psychedelic medicine. Globe and Mail, March 23, 2022 *

Poneiman, Natan. “Is ketamine a psychedelic? Depends on who you ask.Benzinga: Yahoo Finance, Sept. 2,2021

W5, CTV’s investigative journalism documentary program. “Ketamine and psilocybin, better known as party drugs, showing promise for treatment of mood disorders.” Article and videos. October 23, 2021.

General Information on Psychedelics

Ferriss, Tim. “Microdosing, mind-enhancing methods and more.” Tim Ferriss Show Ep. #377. Recording and transcript from the 2019 Milken Institute Global Conference session about microdosing and related topics.

Griffiths, R. R., Richards, W. A., McCann, U., and Jesse, R. “Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance.” Journal of Psychopharmacology, Aug., 2006. DOI 10.1007/s00213-006-0457-5

Hutten, Nadia R. P. W., Mason, Natasha L., Dolder, Patrick C. & Kuypers, Kim P. C. “Motives and side-effects of microdosing with psychedelics among users.” International Journal of Psychopharmacology. v.22(7). July, 2019. Twenty percent of those studied stopped microdosing because they experienced no benefits.

Livni, Ephrat. “Scientists studying psychoactive drugs accidentally proved the self is an illusion.” Quartz. Feb, 2019.

Pollan, Michael. How to change your mind: What the new science of psychedelics teaches us about consciousness, dying, addiction, depression, and transcendence. Penguin Press. May, 2018. (Book.)

Pollan, Michael. How to change your mind: Four-part documentary mini-series. Netflix. 2022. Warning: you might want to read this first: “Psychedelic Clinical Trials and the Michael Pollan Effect,Psychedelic Spotlight News, August 9, 2022.

Smith, Dana G. “More people are microdosing for mental health. But does it work?New York Times, Feb 28, 2022. “Scientists are split over whether the benefits some microdosers experience are a placebo effect or something more.”

Resources re: Meditation/Mindfulness

Harris, Dan. 10% Happier: How I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works: A true story. Dey Street Books. 2014. (Book.)

Harris, Sam. Waking Up: A guide to spirituality without religion. Simon & Schuster. 2014. (Book.)

Harris, Sam. Waking Up. (website/app) Includes introductory course in meditation and dozens of audio recordings on subjects ranging from mindfulness to the self to stoicism to free will. Here is An Open Letter to Meditators explaining the Waking Up website. Highly recommend. No charge if you can’t afford to pay. *

Insight Hour Podcast with Joseph Goldstein

Sharp, Paul B., Sutton, Bradley P., Paul, Erick J. and eight others. “Mindfulness training induces structural connectome changes in insula networksNature: Scientific Reports, May 9, 2018.

(Other meditation websites/apps I’ve tried include Calm, Headspace, and Ten Percent Happier.)