Dr. Andrew Weil — Optimal Health, Plant Medicine, and More (#350)

“I’ve gotten away with saying the most outrageous things because I’m not angry. And people listen, and we can have actual dialog.” — Dr. Andrew Weil 

Andrew Weil, M.D. (@DrWeil) is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine.

Dr. Weil received a degree in biology (botany) from Harvard College in 1964 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1968. After completing a medical internship at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, he worked a year with the National Institute of Mental Health, then wrote his first book, The Natural Mind. From 1971-75, as a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, Dr. Weil traveled widely in North and South America and Africa collecting information on drug use in other cultures, medicinal plants, and alternative methods of treating disease. From 1971-84 he was on the research staff of the Harvard Botanical Museum and conducted investigations of medicinal and psychoactive plants.

Dr. Weil is the founder and Director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, where he also holds the Lovell-Jones Endowed Chair in Integrative Rheumatology and is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health. Through its Fellowship and Integrative Medicine in Residency curricula, the Center is now training doctors and nurse practitioners around the world.

A New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Weil is the author of 15 books on health and well-being, including Mind Over MedsFast Food, Good Food, True Food, Spontaneous Happiness, Healthy Aging, and Eight Weeks to Optimum Health.

Please enjoy this wide-ranging (and often hysterical) conversation with Dr. Weil!

Listen to the interview on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, or on your favorite podcast platform.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#350: Dr. Andrew Weil — Optimal Health, Plant Medicine, and More

Want to hear another episode on improving one’s health? — In this episode, Dr. Rhonda Patrick discusses best practices for fasting, most important blood tests, smart drugs, and much, much more (stream below or right-click here to download):

#237: Exploring Smart Drugs, Fasting, and Fat Loss — Dr. Rhonda Patrick

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…


  • Connect with Andrew Weil, M.D.:

Website | Twitter | Facebook


  • How did Dr. Weil’s love affair with plants begin? [06:01]
  • Dr. Weil’s go-to plants for food and medicine. [07:52]
  • On The Doors of Perception, nutmeg, cannabis, and trying to score mescaline from Aldous Huxley’s source. [08:54]
  • Examining the importance of environment and expectation on the effects of mind-altering substances — particularly under observation by “The Man.” [13:54]
  • What was Dr. Weil’s first mescaline experience like? [17:54]
  • While Dr. Weil was once a frequent cannabis user, he says he doesn’t partake much these days. What has changed? [20:19]
  • Dr. Weil describes what Harvard was like during his time there, how it fostered experimentation, and what set/setting means for research in mind-altering substances. [22:35]
  • Guidelines Dr. Weil might recommend for researchers designing studies in these areas today, and why he believes these compounds offer help for more than just psychological issues. [25:37]
  • What drew Dr. Weil to take his explorations to Central and South America, and then eventually back to Tucson of all places? [29:28]
  • Why Dr. Weil believes in a shamanistic approach toward the research of healing science. [32:24]
  • What compelled Dr. Weil to co-author From Chocolate to Morphine, and why was its timing — at the dawn of The War on Drugs — cause for concern to a certain senator? [34:30]
  • What can modern researchers learn from the mistakes of Dr. Weil’s generation to avoid jeopardizing the study of controlled substances? [37:26]
  • Dr. Weil defines integrative medicine. [39:45]
  • How Dr. Weil feels about research that only considers the results of double-blind placebo-controlled studies. [43:06]
  • In what ways do a lot of traditional researchers blind themselves to the full spectrum of what their research might accomplish? Consider how Dr. Weil shed a lifetime of cat allergies in one sitting and learned how to tan in the sun instead of burn. [45:38]
  • A breathing technique Dr. Weil has found useful for reducing anxiety (and an explanation of why he believes it’s so effective). [52:13]
  • What current accepted concepts or practices does Dr. Weil think are going to be obsolete in the near future or significantly revised? [55:02]
  • Books Dr. Weil gifts most to others. [1:04:20]
  • Does Dr. Weil still believe — as he did when he wrote his first book — that non-ordinary states of consciousness are innate to human beings? What does it say about a society that stifles the drive to pursue these states? [1:05:49]
  • Habits and routines that put Dr. Weil in the zone to perform optimally. [1:07:06]
  • Why are dogs such unique companions, how might they help humans heal, and what kind of dogs does Dr. Weil have at home? [1:08:17]
  • What does Dr. Weil’s morning meditation look like? [1:11:17]
  • How the ritual of cooking became meditative for Dr. Weil, and how it led him to become a partner in a chain of True Food Kitchen restaurants that has American kids swooning over — of all things — kale. [1:13:55]
  • Dr. Weil’s best investments of time, energy, or money. [1:19:10]
  • Favorite failures that led the way to later successes. [1:21:27]
  • Once strong-held positions or beliefs that have changed over the years. [1:22:31]
  • New beliefs, behaviors, or habits that have improved the quality of Dr. Weil’s life. [1:24:44]
  • When was the last time Dr. Weil cried tears of joy? [1:25:35]
  • Does Dr. Weil make new year’s resolutions? [1:26:37]
  • What the first hour of Dr. Weil’s day looks like. [1:28:02]
  • Default breakfasts. [1:29:04]
  • Dr. Weil’s first experience with matcha tea in 1950s Japan. [1:29:59]
  • Purchases of $100 or less that have positively affected Dr. Weil’s life in recent memory. [1:33:52]
  • What would Dr. Weil’s billboard say? [1:34:35]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:36:37]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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17 Replies to “Dr. Andrew Weil — Optimal Health, Plant Medicine, and More (#350)”

  1. I often want to listen to your podcast but I cannot make it through the horrible introduction and the interminable advertisements before you actually talk to someone. That intro may have sounded cool a few years ago but after you’ve heard it a few hundred times you can’t stand it anymore at least that’s how I feel

    1. Yeah Tim could you please put a large amount of effort and time into building a fantastic resource for us and not receive any remuneration.

    2. I find these intros fine because they remind me of the four hour workweek and that you need to hustle (more or less, if possible) and also they help to tune in into listening. While logging in with the wordpress credentials is more resource consuming.

    3. and what’s the problem? I just skip 6 min and jump directly into the interview. It’s still better than ads in the middle of a conversation.. I can’t listen to those podcasts… it’s so unrespectful even to the interviewee because it just breaks the flow of a conversation.

    4. I agree with your comment, but most podcast applications let you define the amount of time to skip forward (typically in 15s increments). If you don’t find the ads interesting (I don’t as I, like yourself, have heard the same ones over and over again), just skip over them until you get to the main content.

  2. I haven’t listened to this yet, but I am surprised that Tim would have Andrew Weil on since Andrew Weil set back psychedelic research by stopping Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert’s (Ram Das) investigations at Harvard.

    I’ll listen to the podcast tomorrow, but I hope Tim calls out Dr. Weil on this and a bunch of his other nonsense.

    1. You haven’t listened but you comment anyway? And you write down you hope Tim would do something about something that has already been recorded? Some people are just impressive.

  3. Wow – first Stan Grof, then Andew Weil: two of my favorite living human-beings (and recent guest Jack Kornfield is also on that list). Keep it up, Tim! I am enjoying the recent podcast themes mindy-body connection, self-healing, and plant medicine, which all resonate with my interests and line of work. I hope there is more to come. Thank you so much – your podcast is such a gift.

    Mit dankbaren Grüßen aus Freiburg (-:


  4. This was fascintaing.

    Dr Weil has had, and continues to have such a cool path.

    Thank you!

    Ive heard of him in the wellness community, but this made me want to delve in more to writings.

    Also I am validated in my savory breakfast choices and will have no shame in toting a Japanese breakfast to work.

  5. Nice interview. I enjoyed the mature discussion about drugs/hallucinogenics and their potential benefits and good uses. As most americans I know, you treat the subject of using illegal drugs naturaly, something ordinary and common.

    But the production and selling of most of the substances discussed in the interview are illegal in most parts of the world — and almost always associated with other illegal and horrible activities such as human trafficking, assasination, kidnaping, extorsion, etc, specialy on the production side. That is, far from the users sight.

    Well educated people take stands all the time about having a positive contribution/effect, such as buying an electric car, stop eating meat or supporting a charity, anything that can have a positive effect in the world. I would like to see a show/interview on this.

  6. Loved this episode! I really appreciated the question about what Dr. Weil gave as gifts. I am looking for the show notes. He mentioned a book titled “We” and others that I am interested in. Can someone send me a link to the show notes?

    1. To access show notes, please click on the title of the podcast in the main blog feed then scroll down for the show notes. To access the transcript for each episode, please type the name of the guest (or the title of the episode) into the search field near the top, right of the blog, followed by “transcripts.” Transcripts are typically released within a week of the podcast interview going live.

  7. oh, I love the podcast 🙂 Andrew is a great story-teller! He also seems to be a very kind guy:) also immediately downloaded the book We..

  8. Going around and kissing all the dogs I see on the sidewalks now after hearing Dr. Weil’s bit about how the exchange of saliva with a dog can prevent obesity :D.

  9. Hey Tim and Dr. Weil, thank you for another excellent conversation. I am a former resident of

    Tucson and a long time fan and follower of Dr. Weil. So good to hear your wisdom again and as always, Tim, great questions.

    Because I’m not on Twitter, I am piggy backing a reply to your #timart inquiry here. If you would like the perspective of a life long professional sculptor in cast glass, I would be very happy to share any of my experience with you. I have been making my living as a sculptor for 40 years and collaborate with my husband on all of the work we’ve made since 2000. In fact, it would feel great to return the favor, so to speak. I have received so much value from your podcast and can’t tell you how much I appreciate being exposed to such a diverse group of people that I would not otherwise have access to. Please visit our new website and feel free to contact me.

    Happy New Year!

  10. I listened to the Andrew Weil interview with fascination. I was struck by how in love he is with his personal narrative, as well as his constant need to point out his extraordinary prescience. Even when asked to relate a “failure story,” he couldn’t resist more self-promotion. When I listen to or read the accounts of people in his orbit like Stan Groff, James Fadiman, or Michael Pollan — one hears significantly less self-aggrandizement. Perhaps Dr Weil needs to take another psychedelic journey and suppress his Default Mode Network? (Tongue only partially in cheek.)

    I subsequently read Pollan’s “How to Change Your Mind” last week (excellent, by the way), where I unexpectedly encountered the shameful story of how Dr Weil launched his career by betraying all those around him studying psychedelics (he doesn’t deny this). I won’t repeat the story here — I recommend reading it for yourself in Pollan’s book.

    Tim, I enjoy many of your interviews. I understand that it is not your style to challenge your subjects. You might think that a disrespectful thing to do with your guests, and as a professional, you certainly know what works for your (huge) audience But I wish you would consider not always throwing your guests softballs. There is sometimes a deeper conversation to be had.

    1. Finally, someone else that actually noted this.

      Weil seems to have an enormous ego. I found he came across as incredibly self absorbed and arrogant.

      He boasted about devising his anti inflammatory diet without needing any evidence to back it up – as if that’s a good thing, and that his ideas were later confirmed.

      He did that repeatedly.

      Tim is interested in people’s journeys, psychedelics are often touted for persone growth, yet ironically Weil doesn’t show any.

      From what I’ve seen of Pollan he’s a gentleman in contrast.

      Anyway, I’ll take positive learning even from his egomania. Ego is the enemy.