Documentaries go a long way to teaching the general public about a specific topic. A good documentary can change entire industries and even influence laws, as seen with the massively popular Blackfish documentary.
Documentaries on psychedelics could have the same effect. In fact, they have already introduced thousands of people to the potential uses and benefits of these drugs.
Here are the most impactful documentaries about psychedelic drugs:
1. Fantastic Fungi
Fantastic Fungi is a beautifully made film that looks at the fungi kingdom, exploring its beauty with some fantastic images and informative writing.
You’ll learn about the growth cycle of fungi, as well as the healing power of magic mushrooms.
2. Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey
This documentary explores the history of psychedelic use and is packed with fascinating facts and figures. Created by Peter von Puttkamer, it provides a fascinating insight into how these substances work and how they have been used for thousands of years.
3. Tawai: A Voice From The Forest
Tawai: A Voice From The Forest is hosted by Bruce Parry, a renowned English documentarian known for his work with lost tribes. Parry takes the viewers to remote locations, including a rainforest in Borneo. It’s not 100% about psychedelics like some of the other documentaries on this list, but it’s a fascinating film, nonetheless, and explores the unique ways that humans interact with nature and the impact that these interactions have on nature and society.
Created in 2019 and directed by Tyler Chandler, Dosed follows the story of a recovering drug addict.
The addict is the film’s narrator. She turns to psychedelics as a way of curing her addiction, beginning with psilocybin mushrooms and eventually progressing to iboga, a plant that has been studied for its potential in treating long-term heroin addiction.
5. The Sunshine Makers
The Sunshine Makers takes viewers back to the heady days of the 1960s when two people found themselves at the heart of a counterculture explosion. They produced millions of doses of Orange Sunshine LSD every month and distributed it all over the world.
If you’re more interested in how these drugs are produced and sold, as opposed to how they can benefit mental health disorders, this is the film for you.
6. Magic Medicine
Many of the documentaries on this list allude to how psychedelics could be used to treat mental health issues, but Magic Medicine takes a deeper dive than most.
The film was created by Monty Wates, who was given access to clinical trials at Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research. It’s a deep and fascinating exploration of clinical depression and the ways that psychedelics could be used to treat it.
7. The Mind, Explained: Psychedelics
The Mind, Explained is one of the shortest psychedelic documentaries on this list, but it’s also one of the highest-rated and best-produced. It is narrated by Emma Stone, the Oscar-winning actress known for her roles in films like La La Land and The Help.
The documentary explores how psychedelics could be used to help terminally ill cancer patients, as well as those struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
8. The Way Of The Psychonaut: Stanislav Grof’s Journey Of Consciousness
The Way of the Psychonaut tells the story of Stanislav Grof, a Czech-born psychiatrist.
Grof is considered to be one of the principal developers of transpersonal psychology, which incorporates spiritual and transcendent methods.
9. My Psychedelic Love Story
Created by Errol Morris, My Psychedelic Love Story follows the story of Timothy Leary, as told by his lover, Joanna Harcourt-Smith.
The film is based on Harcourt-Smith’s book, Tripping the Bardo with Timothy Leary: My Psychedelic Love Story.
10. Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia
Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia is all about Hamilton Morris, the son of Errol Morris (see above), as he travels the world in search of psychoactive substances. It’s not just about psychedelics and actually covers multiple different illicit drugs. More importantly, it’s not a single documentary, but rather it’s a series with stacks of episodes.
11. DMT: The Spirit Molecule
Based on the book of the same name, DMT: The Spirit Molecule takes a closer look at DMT and the effects that it can produce. It discusses the theory that DMT (found naturally in the brain, albeit in very small quantities) is responsible for some spiritual and out-of-body experiences.
Although it’s over ten years old, this film is still very important and offers some great insights into DMT and spirituality.
12. Neurons To Nirvana: The Great Medicines
Neurons To Nirvana explores five powerful psychedelic substances, thus covering a wider range of drugs than the other documentaries on this list.
The film was released in 2013 and directed by Oliver Hockenhull and Mikki Willis. It features interviews with many top psychologists and researchers and takes an unbiased and exploratory look at the effects of these drugs.
13. From Shock To Awe
From Shock to Awe was created by Luc Côté and Janine Sagart. It details the experiences of two veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Feeling like nothing else is working for them, the veterans turn to psychedelics.
It’s not just an exploration of the effects and benefits of psychedelics. It also looks at the horrors of war, as well as the issues that these veterans face when going up against the US legal system.
14. Have a Good Trip
Have a Good Trip is narrated by Nick Offerman, perhaps best known for his role as Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation. It features appearances from a number of famous actors and musicians (including Sting, Carrie Fisher, Ben Stiller, and Rosie Perez), all of whom relate their experiences with psychedelics.
Psychedelia was produced by Pat Murphy and explores scientific research on the effects of psychedelics in patients with end-of-life anxiety.
Summary: The Best Psychedelic Documentaries
Whether you’re interested in the latest psychedelic research or you’re new to psychedelic substances, the above documentaries could open your eyes.
You’ll learn about psychedelic experiences, good trips, bad trips, and the potential benefits of using these drugs. You don’t need to be a fan of psychedelics to enjoy these documentaries, but you probably will by the time you’ve finished.