The headline of a feature article in The New Yorker (February 5, 1915) reports with some breathlessness that after several years of university investigation, “Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results.”

The less breathless author of the excellent and lengthy article, journalist Michael Pollan, describes the history of psychedelic research and reports on new clinical trials at New York University in which “psilocybin—the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms—was being administered to cancer patients in an effort to relieve their anxiety and ‘existential distress.’” One participant had applied to the study after reading that under the influence of the hallucinogen, “individuals transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states . . . and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance.” (That sounds oddly familiar…do you hear it?) Continue reading »