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10 takeaways from How To Change Your Mind

Great mini documentary series about psychedelics on Netflix. Four episodes.

10 takeaways from How To Change Your Mind

    1. Episodes are short

    They're not really (can't remember if they're 45 minutes or one hour), but there's so much more to say. I understand they have to be succinct, though.

    2. Not enough episodes

    They only cover four different psychedelics. Hopefully they'll release another season. Although you could argue they covered the most important ones.

    3. They don't talk enough about the dangers

    While yes, psychedelics are the least dangerous drugs, there can be some risks associated with them. With traditional psychedelics, the risk is just doing something crazy if you don't have a trip-sitter watching you. My issue was mostly with the episode on MDMA: They talk about how the media lied about the risks and they mention the retracted monkey study (which supposedly showed evidence of neurotoxicity but it turned out they used metamphetamines), which is great, but what about the actual potential risks?

    - Does MDMA cause a long-term depletion of serotonin if you take it too often? Many people report feeling depressed for months after too much MDMA and/or too often. The rule of thumb is to wait at least 3 months, although I remember a study that seemed to indicate it was safe to do it again after 6 weeks (if I remember correctly). Still, with not a ton of research behind it, it's better to be extra careful.

    - Psychological addiction: Some people just love it to much that they keep wanting to do it again. One of the risks of this is what I just mentioned above. It's not like traditional psychedelics where you take it once and you don't wanna do it again for a while.

    - Purity and dosage: It's one thing to take pure MDMA, it's another thing to take a pill you haven't tested, which could contain a lot of added crap. It's also important to talk about dosage: there is such a thing as taking too much.

    4. Some people REALLY need this for therapeutic purposes

    Their stories are tough.

    Which leads to...

    5. It's outrageous that it's been illegal for so long

    If these psychedelics have so much therapeutic power, which it looks like they truly do, why shouldn't we use them to help people? It can help cure depression, decrease suicide rates, get rid of PTSD, ...

    6. Touching more upon the spiritual side of things would have been good

    They do mention it, but I think they chose to emphasize the therapeutic aspect more. And fair enough! Some people might get turned off by the whole "we are all but one and also I talked with my dead grandmother" part of it. The documentary series on Gaia is much more centered around that, and I definitely wouldn't show it to someone who's skeptical about "spiritual stuff", because it goes into some pretty weird territory.

    7. It would have been good to talk more about the benefits for people who are mentally healthy

    We talk a lot about the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics for people who struggle with mental health. That's great. But psychedelics should be for everyone. You can be "mentally healthy" and get a lot of benefits from "expanding your mind".

    8. Would have been funny to see Michael Pollan tripping

    Maybe next time?

    9. How come most of this happened in the 20th century?

    We know that psychedelics mushrooms and plants have been around for an extremely long time. But apparently we only found out about psilocybin mushrooms in the second half of the 20th century, even though they were already present in North America? I get it with LSD and MDMA, I guess that has to do with the evolution of chemistry.

    Also, MDMA was discovered in the early 20th century but not tested until the 70s. How does that work? Chemists come up with something, they shelve it and they forget about it? Does someone have an explanation for this?

    10. Overall, their approach is good

    I think it's a great introduction to psychedelics for people who are unfamiliar with them or may even have a negative perspective on them. It's also a great watch for people who already know a lot.

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