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Chapter 4: Mescaline

   2022    Medicine
The last episode explores Mescaline, the psychoactive molecule in San Pedro and peyote cacti, a sacred medicine that Native Americans have had to fight for the right to use. At the Indigenous practices there's always an elder, someone who knows the territory very well, who's presiding. There's usually a group, a community is involved, There's always an intention, a purpose to what you're doing, and you're treating it as sacred, in order to achieve altered states of consciousness, which contribute to worship in various ways, or celebration or healing.
But maybe all this is not so new to Western culture after all. In the old Greek histories of Eleusis, people who were initiated there got the drink, the kykeon, and then they had the illumination. The precise recipe is a mystery, but we know that the kykeon was a psychoactive brew that was used at the Eleusinian mysteries, a sacred annual ritual of enlightenment practiced by some of the world's greatest minds including Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. So why did this ritual come to an end more than 1,000 years ago? Was the possibility of illumination or achieving a higher consciousness considered threatening to the powers that be? Have the drug wars been merely an extension of that fear?
Psychedelics has a major part in how we can heal as a community, how we can heal as a city, and how we can heal as a country. The current renaissance of psychedelics could not come at a better time as the world confronts a crisis in mental health. But psychedelics have much to offer. The psychedelic experience changes the mind in ways that will help scientists better understand how it works. All these altered states allow us to probe what is the greatest mystery in all of nature. The emergence from mere matter of something as miraculous as consciousness. But an even bigger question is whether psychedelics might help us address the environmental crisis of how we think about our place in nature. One of the greatest gifts of psychedelics is how they reanimate the natural world, allowing us to perceive the subject, the spirit of all species, not just our own. And to feel a deeper sense of interconnectedness with nature.
Series: How to Change Your Mind

Chapter 1 LSD

   2022    Medicine
This highly anticipated psychedelic docuseries showcases what these substances teaches people about consciousness, dying, addiction, depression and transcendence. Filmmaker Alex Gibney and best-selling author Michael Pollan present it in four parts, each focused on a different mind-altering substance: LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and mescaline. With Pollan as our guide, we journey to the frontiers of the new psychedelic renaissance -- and look back at almost-forgotten historical context -- to explore the potential of these substances to heal and change minds as well as culture.
The first chapter is a great introduction to the topic of LSD, from its 1943 origins to today's microdosing trend, for those who don’t already know a lot about the subject, and a fun and entertaining refresher on LSD for even experts in the field. The show takes us on a journey through the history of the powerful compound, from its discovery and its early medical use, to secret CIA mind-control studies, the counterculture and its banning, and finally to our current renaissance. It includes amazing clips of LSD’s inventor Albert Hofmann and powerful personal testimonies of individuals who have healed their suffering through LSD.
Series: How to Change Your Mind

Chapter 2 Psilocybin

   2022    Medicine
Magic mushrooms, long considered sacred by the Indigenous Mazatec in Mexico, become the subject of scientific studies measuring the intense effects of its Psilocybin and its potential therapeutic use.
In the second episode, we are introduced to Ben, who’s battled with crippling Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) his entire life. When he had his firstborn, Ben’s life became full of panic attacks regarding his son’s safety, and he knew something had to change. Ben signed up for a psilocybin-assisted therapy clinical trial which was testing whether the psychedelic could help people with severe OCD. In the session under the influence of psilocybin, Ben felt decomposed and eventually grew into a tree. While living as a tree, he saw his human self, playing with his child. Though this sounds scary, from Ben’s perspective, it was beautiful. He was one with the universe, seeing himself in the ultimate third-person perspective. Finally, he saw how it could be different if he didn’t let his OCD control him. And several months out, all the symptoms disappeared.
Ben’s story is one of many told in this series, which gives hope that help is right around the corner for the millions who suffer —often in silence— with debilitating mental disorders. But Michael Pollan’s work is showcasing the success stories. Often, even in the most successful trials, psychedelic-assisted therapy only helps up to a third of people enter remission. More frequently, patients are helped —sometimes substantially— but they still suffer with their illnesses and some people aren’t helped at all.
Series: How to Change Your Mind

Chapter 3: MDMA

   2022    Medicine
Championed by both therapists and ravers, ecstasy stands out as the first psychedelic likely to become legalized, thanks to passionate advocates.
The episode about 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), is focused on Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) clinical trials treating Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Series: How to Change Your Mind

The Crime of the Century part 2of2

   2021    Medicine
In the second part and conclusion, a spotlight on the mass marketing of the synthetic opioid fentanyl examines the connections between drug manufacturers and government policy. Video of sales retreats and promotional material reveals a deep cynicism among company employees and a disregard for the widespread, nefarious corporate practices.
Series: The Crime of the Century

The Psychedelic Drug Trial

   2021    Medicine
A ground-breaking new trial at Imperial College London sees, for the first time ever under controlled conditions, a psychedelic drug tested head-to-head against a standard antidepressant as a treatment for depression. The film follows a pioneering team of scientists and psychotherapists as they compare the effects of psilocybin (the active ingredient of magic mushrooms) with an antidepressant on a small group of participants with clinical depression.
This is scientific research at its most cutting edge. With over seven million people being prescribed antidepressants each year in England alone, this drug trial is an important milestone in understanding a completely different treatment for depression. How do psychedelic drugs measure up against the industry-standard antidepressants that have been popular since the 1990s? The empirical results of the trial are explored alongside the participants’ powerful lived experience.
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2007  Science
Chased by Sea Monsters

Chased by Sea Monsters

2003  Nature
Inside the Medieval Mind

Inside the Medieval Mind

2008  History
Through the Wormhole

Through the Wormhole

2011  Science
Ancient Aliens

Ancient Aliens

  History