set and setting

Book Review - The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide


I have absorbed a lot of information concerning psychedelic substances during the past 13 years. Some sources took a scientific approach, full of statistics, surveys, and other assorted data. Others have focused on the spiritual use of these substances, which include direction for practices like meditation, yoga, and breathwork. There are also accounts of recreational use, which clearly illustrate the possibilities of both positive and negative outcomes of using and abusing these substances. I ate up as many books, movies, podcasts, YouTube clips, and audio lectures as I possibly could.

I also have my own experiences with several of these substances, and had already come to my personal opinion that they have the potential to awaken in me unexpected paths in my life, greater self-understanding, an ability to engage in self-healing, and a stronger connection with the Universe and the inhabitants of our planet that we call Earth.

Over the years, I learned a lot about psychedelics and often come noticed myself thinking to myself, "Oh, I've learned that already" while reading a book or watching a documentary. However, when I read James Fadiman's The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys back in 2012 I found it to be the first work in quite a while that had so many new things to teach me. This book covers many aspects concerning psychedelic use that I was previously unaware of, such as the concept of sub-perceptual dosing and the importance of listening to non-vocal music such as Classical during the beginning of a psychedelic experience.

I first heard of this book from Lorenzo Hagerty's "Psychedelic Salon," a podcast that I have listened to since 2006. Fadiman is the guest on episode 302, during which Lorenzo interviews him about the book and his experience in the psychedelic research field. After hearing Fadiman speak about these things, I put the book on my "To-Read" list and purchased it a few months later. My intention when reading this book was to learn how to become a guide for others undergoing psychedelic experiences. I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of information contained in the book afforded to those of us who wish to better integrate our psychedelic journeys into ordinary reality as well as learn to be a better guide to others. Following my reading of this book, I identified some aspects of my own psychedelic practice that I ended up changing in an effort to focus more on the therapeutic and spiritual uses of these substances, rather than my previous goal of just having a good time. While I still believe that the recreational use of these substances can have a positive outcome, this is the book that sold on the concept of using them in a more intelligent manner.

The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide does a great job of dispelling some of the myths about psychedelics, offers a practical and positive itinerary for a successful experience, introduces several important people in this field, and does so in a way that is unbiased and helpful. It is important for the psychedelic community to have truth on its side, and Fadiman does an excellent job of collecting both scientific and anecdotal evidence and arranging it in a way that is easily understood. I commend him on his work and look forward to more coming from him in the near future.

5/5 stars. 352 pages.

Click here to buy the book.

Disclaimer: Think Wilder is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

This Week in Psychedelics - 1.26.18

Image by  Dahtamnay , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by Dahtamnay, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.


  • Vermont Becomes the Ninth State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana (Reason)
  • Medical Cannabis Protections Extended As Part Of Short Term Federal Budget Agreement (NORML)
  • What The Government Shutdown Means For Marijuana (NORML)
  • Bipartisan Members Of Congress Speak Out Against AG Sessions (NORML)
  • Why marijuana retailers can't use banks (The Economist)
  • Washington DC's Cannabis Market Is Still Untested, Untaxed, and Underground (Leafly)
  • What Is THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) And What Does It Do? (High Times)
  • New Jersey: New Governor Calls For 'Patients First' Expansion Of State's Medical Cannabis Access Program (NORML)
  • Cannabis Stock Investors Should Pay Attention To The U.S. Federal Policy Change (Forbes)
  • Ontario asks for public's opinion on allowing cannabis lounges as legalization looms (Global News)
  • How a Cannabis Ban Turned One California County Into 'Ground Zero for Chaos' (Leafly)
  • Poll Commissioned by Pot Prohibitionists Shows How Unpopular Pot Prohibition Is (Reason)
  • Why No Gadget Can Prove How Stoned You Are (Wired)
  • The PAX Era Ushers in a New Generation of Cannabis Cartridge Technology (Leafly)
  • Most U.S. Attorneys in States With Legal Pot Don't Seem to Be Planning a Crackdown (Reason)
  • Political Commentator Angela Rye on Ending Systematic Racism in the Marijuana Industry (ATTN:)
  • Cannabis measures make headway in Indiana Legislature (WISH-TV)
  • NORML Activists Take Marijuana Reform Fight to Harrisburg (NORML)
  • A 9-Year-Old Accidentally Shared Her Grandpa's Marijuana Gummies With Her Fifth-Grade Class (TIME)
  • Looking For Inspiring Work? Consider Cannabis Marketing. Here's Why. (Forbes)
  • Re-criminalizing cannabis is worse than 1930s 'reefer madness': Guest opinion (The Oregonian)
  • Leafly Readers Share Their Cleverest Hiding Places for a Cannabis Stash (Leafly)
  • WeedMD Commences the Sale of Cannabis Oil (GlobeNewswire)
  • 'Beyonce Takes THC': The Week in Cannabis Quotes (Leafly)
  • Oregon's marijuana industry showcased at cannabis conference (KGW8)
  • Getting to Know the Glossy Cannabis Lifestyle Magazines on the Market (Leafly)
  • Canadian cannabis firm Aurora in talks to buy both CanniMed and Newstrike: sources (Reuters)
  • Introduction to Growing Cannabis with Aquaponics (Leafly)


Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms

  • Psychedelic mushrooms reduce authoritarianism and boost nature relatedness, experimental study suggests (PsyPost)
  • Psilocybin (from magic mushrooms) plus meditation and spiritual training leads to lasting changes in positive traits (Research Digest)
  • Psychedelic Mushrooms Is the Potential Anti-depressant Treatment of the Future (Health Aim)
  • New Psilocybin Research Suggests 'Set and Setting' Are Crucial to Helping Patients Get Better (Reason)


  • The psychedelic renaissance: Can Ecstasy really be used to treat mental illness? (International Business Times)
  • MDMA For PTSD Therapy Enters Final Round of Trials, Could Be Approved In U.S. and Canada By 2021 (Newsweek)
  • From "X" to Rx: Discussing MDMA with Rick Doblin (Psychedelic Frontier)
  • Psychedelic-Psychotherapy-QuickFacts (National Post)
  • Fake ambulance worker exposed when teenager died from ecstasy at illegal rave (Metro)
  • MDMA is Vipassana (Disinfo)
  • Grieving mother, 50, whose daughter, 22, died after taking ecstasy in a 'final fling' to celebrate finishing her exams collects her maths degree in moving ceremony just months after her death (Daily Mail)


  • No reason to believe the pineal gland alters consciousness by secreting DMT, psychedelic researcher says (PsyPost)
  • Acute antidepressant effect of ayahuasca in juvenile non-human primate model of depression. (bioRxiv)

Synthetic Cannabinoids/Psychoactive Research Chemicals

  • 'MDMA' warning after 8 Thanet men taken to hospital - with one said to be in a serious condition (The Isle of Thanet News)


  • Can Ketamine Improve 'Electroshock' Therapy? (The Fix)
  • Ketamine could prove useful in treatment of severe social anxiety (PsyPost)
  • Ketamine 'cures' suicidal woman of bipolar and severe depression (Metro)
  • Man faces 5 years for sending PCP to Save the Children (CT Post)


  • Why some US cities are opening safe spaces for injecting heroin (Vox)
  • Tom Petty Died of an Accidental Drug Overdose, Coroner Says (TIME)
  • Study of Postsurgical Patients Shows Addiction to Pain Pills Is Rare (Reason)
  • Scripps researcher developing vaccine to battle heroin addiction (Chron)
  • Philadelphia's Government 'Expresses Interest' in Safe Injection Sites (Reason)
  • Opium cultivation down by 40%, narcotics chief says (The Nation)
  • Chinese Drugmakers Are Getting Opioids Into the U.S. Through the Postal Service (TIME)
  • The Feds Are Willing to Let More Medical Workers Treat Opioid Addicts. Now the States Need to Step Up and Allow It. (Reason)


  • Effective Ways To Deal With Kratom Constipation (Kratom Guides)
  • FDA Warns Promoters of Herbal Addiction Treatments (Pain News Network
  • Kratom: Libertarian Party of Colorado Rips Denver Human Use Ban (Westword)
  • The Controversial Painkiller Known As Kratom (TG Daily)
  • Kratom: substitute for opioids? (KOLO)


  • 'Acute pain, sore muscles, anxiety, and lethargy': Athletes are embracing kava as an alternative to everything from supplements to opioids (Daily Mail)
  • Farmers Keep Potential Buyers At Bay So Yaqona Plants Can Mature Properly (Fiji Sun)
  • Kava maker brings popular Polynesian health drink to America (Daily Mail)


  • What Is Khat? (High Times)
  • Chewing khat leaves increases risk for chronic liver disease (Healio)
  • UK Khat Ban Fails To Stop Contraband Imports (High Times)

Miscellaneous Psychedelics/Psychoactives/Drug Policy

  • Your Sloppy Bitcoin Drug Deals Will Haunt You For Years (Wired)
  • A psychedelic trip could tackle depression in a way that antidepressants can't (Business Insider)
  • The Experience Elicited by Hallucinogens Presents the Highest Similarity to Dreaming within a Large Database of Psychoactive Substance Reports (Frontiers in Neuroscience)
  • Cryptocurrency and Psychedelics: Interview with Brian Normand of Psymposia (Psychedelic Times)
  • We Ate the Acid: A Note on Psychedelic Imagery (The Oak Tree Review)
  • Trump's 24-year-old drug policy appointee was let go at law firm after he 'just didn't show' (The Washington Post)
  • The Office of National Drug Control Policy Is on the Chopping Block Again. Here's Why That's Not a Bad Thing (Reason)
  • Herbal Supplements May Be Dangerous When You Take Certain Prescription Drugs (TIME)
  • How to Use TripSit's 'Guide to Drug Combinations' Chart (Psychedelic Times)
  • Building a Modern Eleusis (Reality Sandwich)
  • Bill aims to introduce driver drug testing for MDMA, cannabis and methamphetamine (
  • Group urges safe use of psychedelic substances (The Kingston Whig-Standard)

Disclaimer: "This Week in Psychedelics" does not censor or analyze the news links presented here. The purpose of this column is solely to catalogue how psychedelics are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation.