16 Best Books to Learn About Psychedelics

Psychedelics are a type of drugs whose main function is to activate psychedelic experiences through the serotonin receptor, affecting logic and image/hearing changes, and an improved state of awareness. 

LSD, DMT, mescaline, and psilocybin are some of the extreme psychedelic drugs. Researches demonstrate that psychedelics are physiologically harmless and do not cause addiction. Studies performed using psilocybin, marijuana in a psychotherapeutic setting show that intoxicating drugs may help with treating nicotine and alcohol addiction. 

Best Books to Learn About Psychedelics

best books to learn about psychedelics

The following are the best books to read and learn about psychedelics:

1. Tom Wolfe, “The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test”

This is about the life of Wolfe and Ken Kesey, the happy pranksters and the origin of the west coast hallucinogenic movement. Tom Wolfe understood that a distant, even-handed editorial method couldn’t explain what’s happening, so he wrote some hallucinogenic standpoint as his personalities and the outcome was a masterpiece. 

2. Patrick Lundborg, “Psychedelia: An Ancient Culture, A Modern Way of Life”

This book is about the detailed review of psychedelic development. 

3. Ben Sessa, “The Psychedelic Renaissance”

This psychedelic book is about the power of various drugs such as ibogaine, LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, ayahuasca, DMT, peyote and their other medical purposes. The Psychedelic Renaissance also discusses history and perspective around the debates of psychedelics.

4. Timothy Leary, “High Priest”

Timothy Leary is considered a great writer publishing over 30 manuscripts and hundreds of articles. His documentary “High Priest” (1968) was probably one of the best pieces of literature. The book perfectly portrays both the sense of discovery and drug experience. The moment the writer knows the effects of their work is massive their existence will never be the same.

5. Robert Masters and Jean Houston, “Varieties of Psychedelic Experience: The Classic Guide to the Effects of LSD on the Human Psyche”

This book is an overview of the subject and a complete narrative on the crazy experience as well. 

6. Aldous Huxley, “The Doors of Perception”

Aldous Huxley wrote about his experiments with mescaline in the 1950s. It makes the mind-blowing use of mescaline sound like a completely logical and commendable pursuit that would give credit to any middle-class person. He never wrote a boring sentence about his life and probably this book is one of his masterworks. If its impact on the likes of Leary or Jim Morrison is judged, then this could be Huxley’s most socially important manuscript.

7. Albert Hoffman, “LSD: My Problem Child”

This is an interesting read about the origin and history of Albert Hoffman (who discovered LSD and fought hard to support its medicinal and religious use until his passing in 2008 at the age of 102). Albert Hoffman is an important person of history, ever-changing analysis, psychology, thinking, and culture.

8. Tom Shroder, “Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal”

A good read about the history of the latest crazy renaissance as well as the therapeutic capability of Ecstasy and LSD.

9. Paul Devereux, “The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia”

Paul Devereux’s extraordinary and detailed trawl through early history is a revelation for everyone who believed the use of drugs was a modern trend. Devereux shows that this part in history is a weird quirk in the human story, a valuable time where we don’t have a system for including hallucinogenic use in our society. If no one else, it’ll make you look at your descendants differently. 

10. Scott Hill, “Confrontation with the Unconscious”

Scott Hill’s masterwork is about connecting the psychedelic feel to the Jungian thinking. This is surprisingly the only piece of writing doing so in an inclusive approach.

11. Peter Sjostedt-H, “Noumenautics: Metaphysics — Meta-Ethics — Psychedelics”

This Peter Sjostedt-H’s writing is all about psychedelics and philosophy. In his book, he connects the intoxicating feeling with the panpsychism (awareness as a widespread and ancient feature of the subject).

12. The Manual of Psychedelic Support

This is one of the best introductory books about LSD. This manuscript talks about the complete guide to planning and operating empathetic care services for individuals having problematic drug experiences.

13. Rick Strassman, “DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences”

This is one of the most well-known books on psychedelics. The writer, Rick Strassman, gathers all information about people’s experiences on DMT from his exploration in the 1990s. DMT is a pure chemical supplied by the brain. It’s a very strong hallucinogen that makes the LSD resemble shandy. DMT asks questions about how the brain works, perception and the world. For individuals who think science will have all the answers one day, Rick Strassman shows how ignorant we still are. 

14. Kevin Booth and Michael Bertin, “Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution”

Psychedelics are considered to have vanished after the 1970s but it’s not the case. But they became more incorporated into the lives of the people, to the degree that they didn’t outdo a person’s other concerns or accomplishments. One good example is Bill Hicks. Though he often talks about his drug use on stage he’s not labeled as just a ‘drugs comedian’. This truthful autobiography by his pal Kevin Booth demonstrates how important psychedelics were to his being, and of course, his legacy. 

15. Stanislav Grof, “LSD Psychotherapy — The Healing Potential of Psychedelic Medicine”

Stanislav Grof wrote a good book about his own experience and hypotheses of using LSD for psychiatric therapy. From a medical viewpoint, this is one of the best books to learn about psychedelics.

16. Terence McKenna “Food of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution”

This is a good read on the assumptions and journeys of Terence McKenna. Also, it’s a key figure and classic book about psychedelic society.

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Psychedelics and the Law

best books to learn about psychedelics

Even with the numerous psychedelic drugs being harmless and no evidence to back the enduring damage on the mental health, many of these have been become illegal and banned under the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substance. Also, many states have equivalent acts that also prohibit any drugs distributing similar chemical forms to common banned elements irrespective of whether they’re toxic or not.

The use of psychedelics predates modern man. It was used in prehistory and until now it is still being used. Prehistoric humans used psychedelics in religious rituals and in tribal rites of passage. In today’s society, psychedelics are used in academia to provide insights on human psychology, as well as used in the treatment of mental conditions. The above list is some of the best books to learn about psychedelics. The study and use of psychedelics continue and it is expected that more in-depth studies will yield surprises down the road.

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