- Hardcover: 232 pages
- Publisher: Fair Winds Press; 1 edition (June 5, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1592337724
- ISBN-13: 978-1592337729
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Magic Medicine: A Trip Through the Intoxicating History and Modern-Day Use of Psychedelic Plants and Substances Hardcover – June 5, 2018
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An armchair traveler's guide to all substances psychedelic! Learn about their properties, use, lore, place in history, and their current research and applications as medicine.
Although it’s the most famous and well researched of all psychedelics, LSD is also, in the long view, one of humanity’s newest. Discovered serendipitously by a Swiss chemist in 1938, LSD has since emerged as a countercultural icon, therapeutic medicine, military brainwashing tool, and even a religious sacrament. For many, it defines the term 'psychedelic,' bringing to mind the 1960s heyday where rock bands, artists, writers, and seekers of all stripes became heavily influenced by this new and earth-shattering substance.
Psychedelics are famous for producing intense emotional journeys, but the relatively new phenomenon of 'microdosing' turns that on its head. A microdose is one-twentieth to one-tenth of a normal dose of LSD, or another psychedelic, taken once every few days with the aim of improving mood, creativity, and general well-being. The dose is far too small to send one on a trippy voyage, but just enough to bring a certain “lift” to one’s daily activities. Showing up to work on acid might sound like a terrible idea, but advocates of microdosing claim it actually improves focus and performance. Supposedly, even Albert Hofmann indulged in the occasional LSD microdose, and argued the 'subperceptual' dose was an understudied aspect of psychedelics.
The microdosing trend has exploded in popularity in recent years, especially in the psychedelic hotbed of San Francisco. Silicon Valley techies, writers, artists, and thousands of other people around the world have shared anecdotes about the benefits of microdosing in recent years, but science is just catching up. A new study enrolling more than 1,500 respondents found a number of promising results. Migraine sufferers report their headaches are greatly reduced in intensity and duration. Students report improved grades and better focus, and some women who had experienced painful or emotionally troubling periods report healthy, pain-free cycles. Others indicate improvements in their relationships, a greater sense of openness and gratitude, and reductions in depression. And best of all, because doses are so low, adverse effects are practically unheard of.
|Discovered||German chemist Anton Köllisch at Merck in 1912||Known for more than ten thousand years||Calvin Stevens at Parke Davis Laboratories in Detroit in 1962||Used by indigenous peoples for more than 6,000 years|
|Duration||3 to 5 hours||3 hours when smoked, can last 24 hours or more when eaten||up to 1 hour when insufflated (sniffed) or injected at typical doses||8 to 12 hours|
|Associated with||Raves and electronic dance music, psychotherapy for PTSD||Hindu sadhus, artists, musicians, hippies, Rastafari||Rave and 'clubbing' culture, veterinary and human medicine||Indigenous peoples of Mexico, Aldous Huxley, and the Native American Church|
From the Back Cover
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If you want super detailed breakdowns of the intricate chemistry of psychedelics, this isn't the book to read.
If you want lengthy trip reports of what happened when a person took mushrooms or peyote or LSD, look elsewhere.
If you want detailed instructions for growing or cultivating your own psychedelics, you wont find it here.
But if you want a gorgeous, engrossing, and simply joyful tour of the entire psychedelic universe?
I cannot imagine a better book to pick up.
This book delightfully weaves together the history of psychedelics, drawing you in with stunning visuals, fascinating historical anecdotes, and comparisons between how one mild-altering substance makes you feel versus another. if you are interested in wrapping your mind around this entire space (AKA becoming an "overnight expert" with interesting things to say and share with others) this book will not let you down.
Ironically, this may be the book whose reading experience best approximates what it is like to trip on a psychedelic: a spacey, visual, and mind-bending tour of a world that is strange, foreign, subversive, and above all, FUN!
You can tell the author had a blast researching / writing it, and I'm proud to say I had at least as much fun reading it.
My research library on psychedelics would be incomplete without this volume.
Pick it up. You wont regret it!
A book like Johnson’s can seem Wikipedia-like, but I mostly did not feel bored or like I was on the surface of things, as I would on Wikipedia. Johnson selects the most interesting things about each substance, citing pre-20th century sources, out-of-print books, obscure papers, and information on aboriginals, like the Koyrak Tribe: "At seasonal feasts and weddings, everyone consumes [fly agaric], often with berry juice."
I learned that Leo Zeff, the pioneer in using LSD and MDMA in psychotherapy, also used ibogaine. Johnson quotes Zeff: "Of everything we tried, ibogaine achieved the most profound personal transformation of the patient—which after all is the goal and purpose of psychiatry. When it worked, the therapist was just a bystander.”
Johnson writes from a sophisticated, open-minded perspective. He doesn’t get into his personal use of psychedelics, but I get the sense—from subtle clues in the writing—that he is experienced and deeply interested in natural and synthetic psychoactive substances, and in history and nature. I liked this sentence: "Tripping while depressed, anxious, or sleep deprived is a recipe for a difficult journey." On legality, Johnson points out that "the prohibitive approach actually maximizes their risks." He elaborates: "Imagine ordering a martini at a bar and not knowing whether you'll receive a martini or a triple shot of high-proof grain liquor—or a concoction with no alcohol, but a potent blend of caffeine, ketamine, methamphetamine, and stimulants you've never heard of."
I recommend this book to have around. Even though I’d used ketamine before, and had read about it in scattered articles and papers for years, it felt good to be able to open Johnson’s book and read its ketamine chapter before using ketamine again, recently, to refresh what I know. The same could be done with the other compounds/substances in Magic Medicine—nitrious oxide, DXM, DOM, morning glory, peyote, Yopo, fish and sea sponges, MDA, 5-MeO DMT, and others.
The book is easy to follow, well organized, and as elegant in writing as the typography and illustrations are throughout. The book served as a launch pad, prompting me to get online and research more about each one of the chapters. I may never try psychedelics, but I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about them, or who is already a well-seasoned fan of them and interested to learn a bit more about the history, and projected future of their medicinal properties. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Mr. Johnson!