“How incredible is it that plants have evolved the precise molecular key to unlock your consciousness?”— Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan (@michaelpollan) is the author of eight books, including How to Change Your Mind, Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to The New York Times Magazine, Pollan teaches writing at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world. His newest book is This Is Your Mind on Plants.
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Want to hear what Michael and I discussed the last time he visited? Listen in on our conversation in which we discussed the psychological risks of psychedelics, brushes with ego death, why we shouldn’t consider psychedelics to be a panacea for all ailments, where someone might best allocate investment dollars in the woefully underfunded field of psychedelic research, and much more.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Michael Pollan:
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- This Is Your Mind on Plants by Michael Pollan | Amazon
- Michael Pollan — Exploring the Frontiers of Psychedelics | The Tim Ferriss Show #365
- Michael Pollan — Exploring The New Science of Psychedelics | The Tim Ferriss Show #313
- My Two Gardens | Michael Pollan
- Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education by Michael Pollan | Amazon
- About Woodchucks | Mass Audubon
- Think Like a Gopher | Caddyshack
- The Horse Head | The Godfather
- Gardening Means War | Michael Pollan
- The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan | Amazon
- Caffeine | The Vaults of Erowid
- Opium | The Vaults of Erowid
- Opium Made Easy | Michael Pollan
- Mescaline | The Vaults of Erowid
- 5-MeO-DMT | The Vaults of Erowid
- Salvia Divinorum (Ska Pastora) | The Vaults of Erowid
- Legalize It All by Dan Baum | Harper’s Magazine
- The 1994 Crime Bill Continues to Undercut Justice Reform — Here’s How to Stop It | Center for American Progress
- OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty In Criminal Case | AP
- Opium for the Masses: Harvesting Nature’s Best Pain Medication by Jim Hogshire | Amazon
- Papaver Somniferum | USDA Plants Database
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Other American Stories by Hunter S.Thompson
- Laudanum Addiction | The Recovery Village
- Civil Forfeiture | Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
- MacArthur Foundation
- First Amendment, Constitution Annotated | Library of Congress
- Iomega 10919 Zip 100 Drive (Parallel Port) | Amazon
- Free Office Suite | LibreOffice
- A Letter on Justice and Open Debate | Harper’s Magazine
- Weed of the Month: Jimson Weed | Brooklyn Botanic Garden
- Tripping off Trumpets: Diagnosis and Management of Jimson Weed Toxicity | EMRA
- The US Government Once Poisoned Alcohol to Get People to Stop Drinking | Vox
- Applejack, a Spirit as Old as the American Republic | CBS Sunday Morning
- The DEA’s Decision to Keep Pot Restrictions Perpetuates Hypocrisy | Scientific American
- Pharmakon (Philosophy) | Wikipedia
- How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan | Amazon
- MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy | MAPS
- Johns Hopkins Study of Psilocybin in Cancer Patients | MAPS
- National Institutes of Health Director Praises Psychedelics and Medical Cannabis Research | The Dales Report
- Francis Collins: We Need Better Drugs — Now | TEDMED 2012
- The Psychedelic Revolution Is Coming. Psychiatry May Never Be the Same. | The New York Times
- Trial of Psilocybin versus Escitalopram for Depression | NEJM
- MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Severe PTSD: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Phase 3 Study | Nature Medicine
- Back to the Future: Psychedelic Drugs in Psychiatry | Harvard Health
- Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics
- Yale Psychedelic Science Group
- UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics
- Stonewall at 50: How Public Opinion on Gay Rights Moved So Far So Fast | The Washington Post
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss | Amazon
- The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley | Amazon
- The Fascinating History of Mescaline, the OG Psychedelic | Vice
- Tripping on Peyote in Navajo Nation | Scientific American Blog Network
- Peyote Crisis Confronting Modern Indigenous Peoples: The Declining Peyote Population and a Demand for Conservation | American Indian Law Journal
- Native American Churches Request That Peyote Not Be Included in Decriminalization Initiatives | Psymposia
- Decriminalize Nature
- DIY Mescaline: How to Explore San Pedro Without a Guide by Jerry Toth | Medium
- Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative
- 2020 Election Results Prove America’s War on Drugs Is Finally Ending | NBC News
- Oregon’s Pioneering Drug Decriminalization Experiment Is Now Facing the Hard Test | NPR
- Elemental by Medium: Psychedelics for Healthy People | MAPS
- Journey Colab
- The Subjective Effects of Psychedelics Are Necessary for Their Enduring Therapeutic Effects | ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science
- 2C (Psychedelics) | Wikipedia
- Esketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression | Johns Hopkins Medicine
- A Prescription Nasal Spray | Spravato
- About Psilocybin Therapy | Compass Pathways
- Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative
- Fast Food Nation (The Dark Side of the All-American Meal) by Eric Schlosser | Amazon
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan | Amazon
- 11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship
- What Do Chinese Dumplings Have to Do With Global Warming? | The New York Times
- Nicola Twilley: To Understand Refrigeration is to Understand the World | TEDxBigApple
- Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine by Nicola Twilley and Geoff Manaugh | Amazon
- Food with a Side of Science & History | Gastropod
- Why Did England Prefer Tea over Coffee? | Boston Tea Party Ships
- Capitalism’s Favorite Drug by Michael Pollan | The Atlantic
- 9 Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee Is Good for You | Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Caffeine’s Connection to Sleep Problems | Sleep Foundation
- Your Morning Cup of Coffee Is Also Your Morning Cup of Pesticide | Gizmodo
- Caffeine: America’s Most Popular Drug | Kuakini Foundation
- Lantern vs. Spotlight | Alison Gopnik
- Inokashira-Koen Park and Ghibli Museum | Truly Tokyo
- Cafe De L’ambre: Legendary | Tokyo Coffee
- A 600-Mile Quest to Savor Japan’s Kissaten and Pizza Toast | Eater
- Cooked | Netflix
- The Botany of Desire | Prime Video
- How to Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land with Less Water Than You Can Imagine by John Jeavons | Amazon
- Michael’s love for gardening and where his engagement with nature began: an origin story. [05:52]
- Why was now the right time for Michael to write This Is Your Mind On Plants, and what are the three plants on which it focuses? [12:31]
- What plants or molecules did Michael consider as candidates that didn’t make the cut, and why? [17:06]
- What we know about the criminalization of certain drugs during the Nixon administration, and how it was a purely political move rather than addressing any concerns over public health. [19:38]
- Who is Jim Hogshire, how did he wind up on Michael’s radar, and how did Michael then wind up on the radar of law enforcement? [24:56]
- To what extent does Harper’s Magazine owner Rick MacArthur use his vast fortune to defend First Amendment rights, and does his generosity generally extend to the welfare of the magazine’s staff? [38:59]
- The irrationality and hypocrisy of the war on drugs and why prohibition is a losing strategy for ensuring public health and safety. [42:44]
- How the conversation around psychedelics as therapy has been embraced by the mainstream at such a rapid pace since Michael researched and wrote his last book, How to Change Your Mind. [48:38]
- How is mescaline unique from other psychedelics such as psilocybin or LSD, and what makes it challenging for the purposes of research and therapy? [58:39]
- Another mescaline challenge: a dwindling supply of slow-growing peyote and conflict between Native Americans who consider it a sacrament and people who think all psychoactive plants should be decriminalized and available to all. (The good news: there are alternative, more abundant sources of mescaline, such as the San Pedro cactus.) [1:02:52]
- Obstacles Michael had to hurdle over the course of writing This Is Your Mind On Plants, and how he experienced mescaline when the pandemic prevented him from taking part in a peyote ceremony with the Native American Church. [1:09:10]
- A long-pending reckoning society’s about to face: after the drug war, what does the drug peace look like? [1:12:37]
- For what practical applications does Michael imagine decriminalized mescaline might be ideal? [1:17:08]
- In 50 years, when psychedelic therapy is accepted and commonplace, what effects will new and modified molecules be created to prompt? Will it be possible to elicit the neurological benefits of psychedelics without forcing us to consciously endure the accompanying experience? Will we still have a use for unmodified psychedelics in their original forms? How will the market dictate psychedelic applications, and what can we do to safeguard against capital-driven abuses of these compounds? [1:19:42]
- Michael talks about his involvement with the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics (BCSP), its priorities, and the steps being taken to ensure its unique contributions will benefit the entire field of psychedelic research. [1:26:53]
- What the Ferriss UC Berkeley Journalism Fellowship has been set up to provide for young and aspiring journalists seeking to inform a curious public about psychedelics, and how said journalists might apply when it launches in the fall. [1:28:43]
- How a similar fellowship Michael started helped launch the career of a young journalist who’s now a New Yorker staff writer, podcaster, and upcoming author. [1:32:40]
- Why supporting quality journalism in the psychedelic space right now is so important. [1:35:30]
- Why do people in the UK prefer tea, whereas people in the US tend more toward coffee for their source of caffeine? [1:36:32]
- How important caffeine was to the rise of capitalism. [1:39:20]
- What going off caffeine for a few months did for Michael, and why sleep researchers often abstain from it in spite of its numerous benefits. [1:41:30]
- What do words like “sobriety” and “consciousness” really mean when 90 percent of the population, worldwide, is under the constant influence of caffeine? While beneficial to the advancement of our civilization, is caffeine a boon or bane to our species? [1:43:57]
- My experience with coffee culture in Japan. [1:45:50]
- What we can expect from the upcoming Netflix documentary series based on How to Change Your Mind. [1:47:33]
- Michael’s tips and recommended resources for the novice gardener. [1:49:23]
- One important correction on the John Jeavons book Michael referenced: it’s actually titled How to Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land with Less Water Than You Can Imagine [1:54:33]
- Parting thoughts. [1:55:02]
- Bill Murray
- Don Corleone
- Roland Griffiths
- Jim Hogshire
- Dan Baum
- John Ehrlichman
- Richard M. Nixon
- William J. Clinton
- Paul Tough
- Rick MacArthur
- Victor Kovner
- Lewis Lapham
- Joe Matyas
- Francis Collins
- Robin Carhart-Harris
- Timothy Leary
- Barack Obama
- Aldous Huxley
- Sandro Botticelli
- Steven Benally
- Ann and Sasha Shulgin
- Bob Jesse
- Eric Schlosser
- Wendy Schmidt
- Nicola Twilley
- John Jeavons
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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11 Replies to “Michael Pollan — This Is Your Mind on Plants (#520)”
Please interview Robert Cottrell(the browser).There are only few interviews of him out there and they do not explore his critical eye and how he does that he does. I feel that his interview would be a great treasure trove to explore(if interviewed by you).
Dear Tim, I am quite simply addicted to your podcasts. And listening to them has become very expensive because I end up buying so many of the books referred to–whether as audiobooks (Graveyard Book, Code Breaker), hardbacks (Sapiens: A Graphic History, City of Girls), or paperbacks (Moonwalking with Einstein, Spark Joy). Today’s podcast interested me in Michael Pollan’s books, but I’m starting with the John Jeavons gardening book (thanks for the title clarification). I need inspiration to start my own garden! Good luck with yours and thanks so much!!
Great work you are doing here. I want you to know that I appreciate your selflessness. Don’t stop!
What resources do you recommend for young job seekers that have a business/tech background that want to get involved professionally in furthering the psychedelic community?
I understand that you’re increasingly interested in the plant world and I wanted to share an upcoming event with you in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado starring a most fascinating and knowledgable plant woman. It’s a small-group retreat hosted at over 11,000′ in a beautiful lodge with gourmet, locally sourced (or foraged!) meals.
Cheers! [Moderator: link to thirdeyebackcountry dot com removed.]
… yer, but you lied. Baked bagels don’t work. : )))))
So exciting that you are supporting journalists to produce impactful content on psychedelics!
I would like to pitch a video series on new findings in psychedelic science featuring interviews with the public. This would be based on my pilot series for Mad in America (https://www.madinamerica.com/2018/09/introducing-brainsplain/).
I am a resident physician specializing in psychiatry, and I have reported on psychedelics for the Sacramento Bee, the Baltimore Sun, Slate, as well as Frontiers in Psychiatry.
Hi Tim. I am a huge fan of your work and have learned a lot about psychedelic medicine from you however, I am compelled to offer some feedback on this episode and a few others that have dealt with psychedelics and the drug policy. There is a by-passing of issues of race on these episodes (I am not saying it is intentional, just something i have noticed) and I am not sure that any discussion of the archaic and regressive drug policy (which you do in a great deal of these episodes) without an acknowledgement of race especially the desire to incarcerate Black people is accurate or complete. Your guests occasionally mention it, Michael did, and then you just skirt by it and just moved on. Its a huge glaring blind spot and doesn’t tell a complete story.
Thank you for having Michael Pollan on your podcast, his work and actions have significantly impacted my life in agroforestry and psychosubstances. Thank you also for creating a foundation for grants and future research.
One last note, I haven’t found a podcast of yours talking about telomeres in depth.
A supplement called TA-65 may interest you and curious to see your thoughts on telomere/klothos regrowth.
If you are still thinking about “What to Plant?”
This is worth the listen,
Best of luck with your garden,
Tim, I just want to say THANK YOU for you and Michael Pollan’s help to fund more psychedelic reporting, the recent Rolling Stone article by Cassady Roseblume was incredible. As a former mormon living in Utah, this kind of coverage is desperately needed. I can’t thank you enough! Here’s the article for anyone interested: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/psychedelics-mormon-church-divine-assembly-1375027/