Summary of The Trip Treatment

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  • Controversial
  • Scientific
  • Engaging


Journalist Michael Pollan explains the fascinating history of medical research into psychedelics and captures the sense of wonder among researchers and patients experimenting with them today. It’s hard not to be amazed by Pollan’s accounts of mystical, life-changing experiences – especially among patients facing death. The findings from patients’ brain scans also make intriguing reading. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone who wants to know exactly how the brain creates mystical experiences, either drug-induced or otherwise.

About the Author

Michael Pollan teaches journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.



In 1953, the first government-funded medical research into psychedelics took place in the United States. Over the next 20 years, researchers used lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in more than 1,700 patients, including addicts, those with terminal cancer and the mentally ill. The findings were encouraging, but the studies were often poorly conceived or executed. When then US president Richard Nixon outlawed psychedelics in 1970, the studies ceased and the field of psychiatry moved on.

In 2006, respected drug addiction researcher Roland Griffiths...

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