Best Psychedelic Documentaries: End of 2023
For those interested in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, I have compiled a list of documentaries that will assist you on your exploration journey of this complex and multifaceted topic.
I often recommend these resources in response to inquiries from individuals preparing for their first psychedelic journeys, as well as those seeking to learn more about these substances. I am publishing this list to simplify this task for both myself and you.
Keep in mind that this is a "living document," with new materials being continually added, so be sure to revisit this page from time to time.
Enjoy your exploration.
How To Change Your Mind (2022)
Directors: Alison Ellwood & Lucy Walker
Where to watch: Netflix
“How to Change Your Mind” is a captivating documentary mini-series featuring writer Michael Pollan, exploring the historical and contemporary place of psychedelics in science and culture. The series directly addresses substances like LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and mescaline. Following the narrative of the book, this film takes you through the history of psychedelics: from early stages to modern works, offering a holistic view on the therapeutic potential of these substances.
Descending the Mountain
Director: Maartje Nevejan
"Descending the Mountain" is a mystical journey: a retreat blending meditation with psilocybin within a scientific experiment, all against the picturesque backdrop of Mount Rigi in Switzerland. This documentary explores pathways to understanding the nature of consciousness at the intersection of science and spirituality.
The Way of the Psychonaut (2020)
Director: Susan Hess Logeais
This documentary delves into the life and seminal works of psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, a prominent figure in the realm of psychedelic psychotherapy. Showcasing Grof’s relentless quest to explore altered states of consciousness, the film narrates the potential of psychedelics for science, medicine, and spirituality.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2010)
Director: Mitch Schultz
Analyzing the historical and scientific accounts of dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a potent psychedelic present in nearly every living being, this documentary guides the viewer through a thrilling adventure with a myriad of different perspectives and Joe Rogan as the guide.
Magic Medicine (2018)
Director: Monty Wates
"Magic Medicine" narrates an innovative clinical study on the effectiveness of psilocybin in treating depression, conducted at Imperial College London. Through personal stories of participants, opinions of the research team, the film provides a detailed picture of how modern clinical research on these substances is conducted.
"Dosed" tells the personal story of a woman’s struggle with depression, anxiety, and opioid addiction, also narrating her experience with underground psychedelic therapy. The film explores the potential of psychedelics within new therapeutic models, questioning traditional methods of treating mental disorders.
From Shock to Awe (2019)
Director: Luc Côté
By chronicling the transformative journey of combat veterans seeking solace from severe trauma through psychedelics, “From Shock to Awe” presents a raw narrative on the efficacy of psychedelic therapy in treating PTSD, stirring crucial discussions surrounding war, the pharmaceutical industry, and the legal framework.
A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin
Director: Robert J. Barnhart
This documentary narrates the research on the potential of psilocybin in working with anxiety and fear of death among terminally patients with life-threatening conditions. "A New Understanding" explores the possibilities of dialogue between science and spirituality through the views of patients, researchers, and physicians.
Psychedelia: The History and Science of Mystical Experiences
Director: Pat Murphy
"Psychedelia" embarks on an exploration of the history, science, and potential therapeutic virtues of psychedelic substances, offering a comprehensive look at the revival of psychedelics in modern psychiatry.
Ibogaine - Rite of Passage
Director: Benjamin De Loenen
Examining the transformational potential of Ibogaine, derived from the West African plant Tabernanthe iboga, this documentary sheds light on how this unique substance has been used in rites of passage, offering insight into human processes of overcoming addiction and personal challenges.
Fantastic Fungi (2019)
Director: Louie Schwartzberg
Whilst not a psychedelic documentary per se, “Fantastic Fungi” is a visual masterpiece, embarking on an odyssey of time-lapse photography through the enchanting and healing kingdom of fungi, revealing the invisible yet omnipresent world around us. It narrates the ancient symbiotic relationship between fungi and life on Earth, spotlighting psychoactive mushrooms and their potential benefits. A captivating narrative for anyone interested in the secret life of these amazing organisms..
These documentaries furnish a panoramic view into the world of psychedelics and plant medicines, from scientific inquiries to personal narratives. They not only serve as educational resources but also as sources of inspiration, challenging conventional paradigms in medicine and mental health, and opening up dialogues around the promising frontier of psychedelic research in the digital age. With burgeoning research and technological advancements, the horizon appears promising for the amalgamation of ancient wisdom and modern science in the realm of mental health and healing.
© Dr. Alexander Lebedev | MD PhD