cover image Psyched: Seven Cutting-Edge Psychedelics Changing the World

Psyched: Seven Cutting-Edge Psychedelics Changing the World

Amanda Siebert. Greystone, $16.95 trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-1-77164-879-0

Journalist Siebert (The Little Book of Cannabis) surveys contemporary uses of psychedelics in this well-researched, impassioned survey. Human usage of psychedelics goes back to prehistory, Siebert writes, referencing the “stoned ape” theory posited by Terence and Dennis McKenna, which suggests that “the human brain evolved to the size it is today—nearly tripling its size in two million years—because early humans consumed psilocybin-containing mushrooms.” Of the seven types of psychedelics, studies show that psilocybin mushrooms allow those who consume them to “adjust their perspectives about themselves and the world.” MDMA, the synthetic psychedelic that first rose to popularity in the 1970s, can be effective in treating PTSD in part because it promotes oxytocin production; ketamine, an anesthetic with hallucinogenic properties, can help those dealing with severe depression and suicidal ideation; and LSD “could lead to the reduction and even cessation of alcohol consumption among patients with alcohol use disorder.” Siebert elegantly combines history, accessible science, case studies, and her own experience with drugs to build a convincing case that “when the variables are appropriately managed, psychedelics can be both safe and effective—not just at helping someone heal from a particular condition or ailment, but at improving outlook, open-mindedness, and overall quality of life.” This smart study fascinates. (Oct.)