7 Great Books About Psychedelics

books about psychedelics illustration

Before, during, or after your psychedelic journey, you may find it helpful to read books about it. The following books cover psychedelics from different viewpoints. That way there’s something for everyone.


How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

If you had time to read one book on psychedelics, this would be it. Fully titled How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, this book is the most comprehensive, concise history of psychedelics out there.

The 2018 book by Michael Pollan became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller. It talks about the history of psychedelics, what a mystical experience feels like, and how they affect the brain. It also talks about how they’re used as a treatment for people who have mental illnesses.

Pollan writes about the interest in psychedelics that happened in the 1950s and 60s. Then covers their recent popularity as a solution for mental health problems. He even writes about his own mystical experiences as well as those of cancer patients. Psychedelics were so powerful that they no longer feared death.

The book also explores research into the relevant compounds and their potential to relieve mental suffering. It covers how neuroscientists use these compounds in tandem with brain imaging technologies.

You can now catch the recent adaption of “How to Change Your Mind” by Michael Pollan on Netflix. The documentary series is an adaptation of the book, each episode covering a different psychedelic (LSD, MDMA, psilocybin & mescaline) for the treatment of mental health and mood disorders.


Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics by Julie Holland

In Good Chemistry, psychedelic researcher Julie Holland delves into the topic of connection. The book explores both the emotion and the science surrounding it.

Holland talks about the problems of isolation like waning sleep and paranoia. But she doesn’t say it with hopelessness. Instead, she says to be aware and hopeful.

Holland uses spiritual and psychedelic experiences to show attaining connection is possible. Using her own experience and medical articles, she shows how psychedelics can help people feel less lonely.

Holland tries to access the opposite mode of fight or flight. We all know this one too well. With psychedelics, mindfulness, meditation and group activities we can feel safe and relaxed.


Integration Workbook by Psychedelics Today

This “book” is one you need to help write yourself.

Integration Workbook is a guide for those who want to better understand their psychedelic experiences. It’s designed to help you gain insight and extract meaning from an overwhelming or confusing experience.

The book includes prompts, exercises and plans to help you have a good trip. There’s also guidance for meditation, journaling, and goal planning.

It has steps that are easy to follow and will help readers get started on their own integration.

Listening to Ecstasy by Charley Wininger

Listening to Ecstasy is a personal narrative and guide to responsible MDMA use. As a licensed counselor and psychoanalyst, Wininger shares how MDMA has helped him both at work and life.

After 50 years of research, Wininger knows how to use MDMA. He finally found a way to promote safe use of it as a tool for personal healing and social change.

He provides descriptions of the experience, along with protocols to ensure safe use. This can be recreational, celebratory, or with a specific intention or goal.

He takes care to promote the proper use of ecstasy. He also tells people about how they can maximize the benefits and minimize the risks.

The Way of the Psychonaut by Stanislav Grof

The Way of the Psychonaut by Stanislav Grof is aptly subtitled “Encyclopedia for Inner Journeys”.

This book is one of the most significant works about the human psyche and spiritual quests. It covers new understandings made possible by the discovery of psychedelic substances.

It covers many topics in psychology, spirituality, and transpersonal experiences. Within the narrative are personal accounts, case studies, and anecdotes. He includes psychotherapy history, but also looks into the future. Shortcomings and revisions in the field are addressed.

In doing so, he talks about the efficacy and importance of the inner quest.


The Doors of Perception by Alduous Huxley

The Doors of Perception is about Aldous Huxley’s first psychedelic experience with mescaline.

Huxley talks about what he learned and how it shaped his ideas about how one perceives things. He wrote that we tend to see only a narrow perspective of everything and should expand it to improve our life.

Huxley says that psychedelics can help people have mystical insights. They might have benefits in science, art, and religion.

His lifelong involvement with psychedelics prompted the influence of Island. It’s a utopian novel about a journalist shipwrecked on a fictional island. Another fantastic psychedelic read!

Harvard Psychedelic Club by Don Lattin

The full title is The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America. So it’s no surprise that this well-researched book leaves no important detail out.

Author and journalist Don Lattin tells the story of the “Cambridge Quartet.” It traces the progression of the movement called the “Harvard Psilocybin Project”. It was designed to promote recreational, medicinal, and religious use of psychedelics.

The efforts of Leary, Dass, Smith and Weil allowed them to go on to pioneer the Mind/Body/Spirit movement. It popularized yoga and vegetarianism.

They worked to promote spirituality, religious tolerance, and Eastern mysticism in Western society.

The Harvard Psilocybin Project was met with mixed responses. But Lattin provides an objective overview of the advocates, founders, and critics.


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