Trippy: The Peril and Promise of Medicinal Psychedelics Hardcover – May 7, 2024
A riveting look at the tremendous promise and inherent risks of the use of psychedelics in mental health treatment through the lens of a New York Times reporter whose journalistic exploration of this emerging field began with a personal crisis.
When he signed up for a psychedelic retreat run by a mysterious Argentine woman deep in Brazil’s rainforest in early 2018, Ernesto Londoño, a veteran New York Times journalist, was so depressed he had come close to jumping off his terrace weeks earlier. His nine-day visit to Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center included four nighttime ceremonies during which participants imbibed a vomit-inducing plant-based brew that contained DMT, a powerful mind-altering compound.
The ayahuasca trips provided Londoño an instant reprieve from his depression and became the genesis of a personal transformation that anchors this sweeping journalistic exploration of the booming field of medicinal psychedelics. Londoño introduces readers to a dazzling array of psychedelic enthusiasts who are upending our understanding of trauma and healing. They include Indigenous elders who regard psychedelics as portals to the spirit world; religious leaders who use mind-bending substances as sacraments; war veterans suffering from PTSD who credit psychedelics with changing their lives; and clinicians trying to resurrect a promising field of medicine hastily abandoned in the 1970s as the United States declared a War on Drugs.
Londoño’s riveting personal narrative pulls the reader through a deeply researched and brilliantly reported account of a game-changing industry on the rise. Trippy is the definitive book on psychedelics and mental health today, and Londoño’s in-depth and nuanced look at this shifting landscape will be pivotal in guiding policymakers and readers as they make sense of the perils, limitations, and promises of turning to psychedelics in the pursuit of healing.
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