Welcome to our article on the best documentaries about psychedelics! In this piece, we will be exploring some of the most interesting, informative, and thought-provoking documentaries about these powerful and controversial substances.
From their ancient roots in indigenous cultures to their modern-day use in therapeutic settings, psychedelics have long fascinated and intrigued people around the world. They have been hailed as tools for personal and spiritual growth, as well as sources of inspiration for art and culture.
However, psychedelics also have a complex and often controversial history, and their use has been met with both enthusiasm and skepticism. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at some of the best documentaries that explore the various aspects of psychedelics, including their history, cultural significance, and potential uses. Whether you are a seasoned psychonaut or simply curious about these substances, we hope you will find these documentaries to be enlightening and engaging.
Dosed is a 2019 documentary film that tells the story of a woman named Adria who turns to psychedelics as a way to overcome her struggles with depression, anxiety, and addiction. Adria has been struggling with mental health issues for years and has tried various treatments without success. Desperate for relief, she decides to seek out the help of underground therapists who use psychedelics, such as psilocybin and LSD, to treat mental health issues.
The film follows Adria as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and healing, and documents the powerful and transformative experiences that she has on psychedelics. It also includes interviews with researchers and clinicians who discuss the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics, as well as the cultural and historical context in which these substances are used.
Overall, Dosed is a moving and inspiring documentary that provides insight into the potential of psychedelics to facilitate personal and emotional growth, and the ways in which these substances can impact people’s lives.
Journeys to the Edge of Consciousness (2019)
Journeys to the Edge of Consciousness is a 2019 documentary film by Rob Harper that explores the use of psychedelics for spiritual and personal growth. The film features interviews with people from around the world who have used psychedelics in various contexts, including indigenous healing practices, modern therapeutic settings, and personal exploration.
The film discusses the ways in which psychedelics can facilitate profound and transformative experiences, and the potential of these substances to provide insight into the nature of consciousness and the mysteries of the human mind. It also explores the cultural and historical context of psychedelics, and the ways in which they have been used in various traditions and societies.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2010)
DMT: The Spirit Molecule is a 2010 documentary film that explores the mysterious and powerful psychedelic drug DMT (dimethyltryptamine). The film is based on the book “DMT: The Spirit Molecule” by Dr. Rick Strassman, a psychiatrist who conducted clinical research on the effects of DMT on human consciousness in the 1990s.
The film delves into the scientific, spiritual, and cultural aspects of DMT, and includes interviews with researchers, clinicians, and people who have experienced the drug. It discusses the history of DMT, its chemical properties, and its potential use as a tool for understanding consciousness and the nature of reality.
The film also explores the personal and transformative experiences of those who have taken DMT, and the ways in which the drug has impacted their lives. It includes accounts of encounters with otherworldly beings, profound spiritual insights, and intense emotional experiences.
Overall, DMT: The Spirit Molecule is a thought-provoking and eye-opening documentary that provides a unique perspective on the mysteries of the human mind and the potential of psychedelic substances to facilitate personal and spiritual growth.
AYA: Awakenings (2013)
AYA: Awakenings is a 2013 documentary film that explores the use of ayahuasca, a powerful psychedelic substance that is used in traditional indigenous healing practices in the Amazon rainforest. The film features interviews with people from around the world who have used ayahuasca in various contexts, including indigenous healing practices, modern therapeutic settings, and personal exploration.
The film discusses the ways in which ayahuasca can facilitate profound and transformative experiences, and the potential of this substance to provide insight into the nature of consciousness and the mysteries of the human mind. It also explores the cultural and historical context of ayahuasca, and the ways in which it has been used in various traditions and societies.
The film includes interviews with indigenous shamans and modern-day practitioners who discuss the role of ayahuasca in their traditions and the ways in which it is used in healing practices. It also includes accounts of powerful and transformative experiences that people have had on ayahuasca, and the ways in which these experiences have impacted their lives.
The Sunshine Makers (2015)
The Sunshine Makers is a 2015 documentary film that tells the story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, two men who played a pivotal role in the production and distribution of LSD during the 1960s. The film explores their motivations, the impact of their actions, and the cultural and historical context in which they operated.
Sand and Scully were part of a group of chemists, artists, and activists known as the “hippie mafia,” who believed that LSD could be used as a tool for personal and social transformation. They produced and distributed millions of doses of the drug, which they saw as a way to challenge authority and promote free thinking.
The film features interviews with Sand and Scully, as well as other key figures from the era, and uses archival footage and photographs to provide a glimpse into the underground world of LSD production and distribution. It also explores the legal and cultural consequences of their actions, and the ongoing debates surrounding the use of psychedelics for therapeutic and spiritual purposes.
Overall, The Sunshine Makers is an interesting documentary that provides insight into a significant period in American history and the countercultural movements of the 1960s.
Dirty Pictures (2010)
“Dirty Pictures” is a 2010 documentary film that tells the story of Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, a chemist known for his groundbreaking work in the field of psychedelic research. The film explores Shulgin’s life and career, from his time as a research chemist at Dow Chemical to his pioneering work in the synthesis and study of psychoactive compounds.
Through interviews with Shulgin and his wife Ann, as well as other experts in the field, “Dirty Pictures” takes a deep dive into the world of psychedelic chemistry and the controversial role that Shulgin played in it. The film also explores the legal and ethical implications of Shulgin’s work, including the DEA’s attempts to regulate the sale and possession of the compounds he created.
Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia (2016)
In this docuseries, Hamilton Morris — son of Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris — explores the history, chemistry and societal impacts of some of the world’s most unique drugs. Hamilton’s work is driven by research — his apartment is filled with books on the subject — but he takes it beyond that by going to where the drugs are used to experience them first-hand and find out what happens to the people who use the substances.
On his journey, Hamilton studies quaaludes in South Africa, where they are the nation’s most commonly used recreational drugs, and traces the history of PCP while traveling across America to speak with addicts, dealers and chemists about the substance.
From Shock To Awe (2018)
From Shock to Awe asks, ‘how do we heal our deepest wounds?’ An intimate and raw look at the transformational journey of two combat veterans suffering from severe trauma as they abandon pharmaceuticals to seek relief through the mind-expanding world of psychedelics. Recent scientific research coupled with a psychedelic renaissance reveals that these substances can be used to heal PTSD “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” for individuals and their families. Beyond the personal stories, From Shock to Awe also raises fundamental questions about war, the pharmaceutical industry, and the US legal system.
Hallucinogen Honey Hunters (2013)
In Nepal, an isolated tribe known as the Gurung go on the hunt for a special honey perched high upon a series of cliffs. The honey is known for its hallucinogenic potency, and is often taken for recreational use or medicinal purposes by the villagers. Hallucinogen Honey Hunters takes viewers on a rarely glimpsed journey to this region, and observes the culture surrounding this mystical honey.
The Substance: Albert Hofmann’s LSD (2011)
“The Substance: Albert Hofmann’s LSD” is a 2011 documentary film that explores the history and impact of the psychedelic drug LSD. The film follows the life and work of Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann, who accidentally discovered LSD in 1943 while working on a new medicine for migraine headaches.
Through archival footage and interviews with experts in the field, the documentary explores the cultural and scientific impact of LSD, from its use as a therapeutic tool in the 1950s and 60s to its role in the counterculture movement of the 1960s.
The film also delves into the controversy surrounding LSD, including its classification as a Schedule I drug in the United States and the backlash against its use in the 1970s. Ultimately, “The Substance” paints a complex and nuanced picture of LSD and its impact on society, while celebrating the life and legacy of Albert Hofmann.
Fantastic Fungi (2019)
Fantastic Fungi is a 2019 documentary film that explores the world of fungi and their role in the natural world. The film is narrated by actor and activist Brie Larson, and features interviews with scientists, environmentalists, and spiritual leaders who discuss the many ways in which fungi impact the planet and the lives of humans and other species.
The film discusses the role of fungi in the decomposition of organic matter, the role of mycorrhizal fungi in the health of plants and ecosystems, and the potential of fungi to be used as tools for environmental restoration and remediation. It also explores the cultural and spiritual significance of fungi in various traditions and societies, and the ways in which certain species of fungi, such as psilocybin mushrooms, have been used for spiritual and therapeutic purposes.
Fantastic Fungi is a fascinating documentary that provides insight into the diverse and vital role of fungi in the natural world and the ways in which they impact the lives of humans and other species.
Neurons to Nirvana (2013)
Neurons to Nirvana is a 2013 documentary film by Canadian filmmaker Oliver Hockenhull. The film examines the evidence for the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs. The production company crowdfunded marketing and distribution through a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $35,000. The film explores the history of five powerful psychedelic substances including LSD, Psilocybin, MDMA, Ayahuasca and Cannabis.
A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin (2015)
A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin is a 2015 documentary film that explores the potential therapeutic uses of psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms.”
The film is based on the research of Dr. Stephen Ross, a psychiatrist at New York University, who has been studying the effects of psilocybin on people with treatment-resistant depression and end-of-life anxiety.
The film features interviews with Dr. Ross and other researchers, as well as with people who have participated in his studies. It discusses the scientific basis for psilocybin’s therapeutic effects, and the ways in which the drug has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as increase feelings of well-being and spiritual connection.
The film also explores the cultural and historical context of psilocybin, and the ways in which it has been used in indigenous and modern spiritual practices. It includes interviews with indigenous shamans and modern-day spiritual leaders who discuss the role of psychedelics in their traditions.
A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin provides insight into the potential therapeutic uses of psilocybin and the ways in which it can impact people’s lives.
The Last Shaman (2016)
The Last Shaman is a 2016 documentary film that tells the story of a young man named Jhoon Rhee who embarks on a journey to Peru in search of a cure for his depression and anxiety. Jhoon has been struggling with mental health issues for years, and has tried various treatments without success. Desperate for relief, he decides to seek out the help of traditional healers in the Amazon rainforest.
The film follows Jhoon as he travels to Peru and meets with indigenous shamans who use plant-based psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, as part of their healing practices. The shamans help Jhoon to understand the root causes of his suffering and guide him through powerful and transformative experiences that allow him to confront his demons and find peace.
Throughout the film, Jhoon’s journey is interwoven with interviews with researchers and clinicians who discuss the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics, as well as the cultural and historical context in which these substances are used.
Icaros: A Vision (2017)
“Icaros: A Vision” is a psychedelic documentary that takes viewers on a spiritual journey into the heart of the Amazon jungle. The film follows Angelina, a young American woman who has come to Peru seeking healing for her emotional pain. Guided by a shaman and his assistants, Angelina embarks on a series of ayahuasca ceremonies, where she confronts her inner demons and gains a deeper understanding of herself and the world around her.
As Angelina’s journey progresses, we are treated to breathtaking scenes of the Amazonian landscape and the indigenous people who call it home. The film is a beautiful meditation on the power of nature, the wisdom of indigenous cultures, and the potential of ayahuasca as a tool for healing and transformation. With its stunning visuals and haunting soundtrack, “Icaros: A Vision” is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Ayahuasca: Vine of the Soul (2010)
“Ayahuasca: Vine of the Soul” is a 2010 documentary film that explores the shamanic use of the plant medicine ayahuasca in the Amazon rainforest. The film follows several individuals, including a shaman and a medical doctor, as they embark on a journey to experience the effects of ayahuasca for themselves.
Through interviews with experts and footage of ayahuasca ceremonies, “Ayahuasca” offers a glimpse into the spiritual and therapeutic potential of the plant medicine. The film explores the history and cultural significance of ayahuasca in indigenous communities, as well as its growing popularity among Westerners seeking healing and personal transformation.
The documentary also touches on the potential risks and challenges associated with ayahuasca use, including the importance of proper preparation and integration of the experience into one’s life. Ultimately, “Ayahuasca” offers a balanced and informative perspective on the powerful and complex world of shamanic plant medicine.
Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within (2017)
“Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within” is a 2017 documentary film that explores the use of psychedelic substances for spiritual and personal growth. The film features interviews with leading experts in the field, as well as individuals who have used entheogens such as ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, and peyote in their personal journeys of self-discovery.
The documentary delves into the history of entheogenic use, from indigenous cultures that have used these substances for thousands of years to contemporary Western society’s growing interest in their therapeutic potential. The film also explores the science behind entheogenic experiences and their potential to alleviate conditions such as anxiety, depression, and addiction.
Shamans of the Amazon – A Timeless Journey (2011)
Shamans of the Amazon – A Timeless Journey is a 2011 documentary film that explores the traditional healing practices of indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest. The film focuses on the role of shamans, who are traditional healers who use plant-based psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, as part of their practice.
The film features interviews with shamans and their patients, as well as with researchers and clinicians who have studied the use of psychedelics in indigenous healing practices. It discusses the cultural and historical context of these practices, and the ways in which they have been passed down from generation to generation.
The film also explores the spiritual and philosophical foundations of shamanism, and the ways in which shamans view illness and healing. It includes accounts of powerful and transformative experiences that have helped people to overcome physical and emotional challenges, and find a sense of peace and purpose in their lives.
Psychonautics: A Comic’s Exploration Of Psychedelics (2018)
Shane Mauss is a killer stand-up comedian with a love for science. This documentary encompasses both of his passions with a unique and informative perspective on the mystery, stigma, and potential medical value of psychedelics. It demonstrates the need for greater scientific research in the field of mind altering substances and teaches the viewer a valuable lesson on moderation.
Terence McKenna’s True Hallucinations (2016)
An experimental documentary about Terence McKenna’s adventure into the Amazon basin and the ideas that sprang from those events, resulting in an eschatological theory of time and a lifetime spent contemplating the power and meaning of psychedelic substances.
The Reality of Truth (2016)
This highly controversial documentary explores the relationship between, Spirituality, Religion, and Psychedelics. Lead by “Zappy” Zapolin, the film explores the many myths about reality, and includes first of its kind interviews with top spiritual gurus, celebrities, and people of all faiths, about this intriguing connection, and their personal experiences with spirituality and transcendence.
Throughout history human beings have searched for gateways to spirituality that have included meditation, prayer, and natural substances. The Judeo Christian religions, Vedic traditions, and Shamanistic rituals, all incorporate techniques focused on transcending. Today scientists are able to measure the effects, real and perceived, on the human brain and mind. By exploring how to use the current knowledge and techniques available to society, we can tap into true spirituality, and awakening.
Ibogaine: Rite of Passage (2004)
“Ibogaine: Rite of Passage” is a thought-provoking documentary that explores the controversial use of ibogaine as a treatment for drug addiction. The film follows several individuals who have struggled with addiction and are seeking a new approach to recovery.
Through interviews with researchers, medical professionals, and former addicts, we learn about the potential of ibogaine to break the cycle of addiction by providing a powerful, introspective experience. We witness the challenges and risks associated with the use of ibogaine, but also the hope and promise it brings to those who have tried traditional addiction treatments without success.
The film raises important questions about the current state of addiction treatment and the potential of alternative approaches. With its honest and compassionate portrayal of addiction and recovery, “Ibogaine: Rite of Passage” offers a compelling argument for the exploration of new avenues in the fight against addiction.
Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey (2008)
Plant Explorer Richard Evans Schultes was a real life Indiana Jones whose discoveries of hallucinogenic plants laid the foundation for the psychedelic sixties. Now in this two hour History Channel TV Special, his former student Wade Davis, follows in his footsteps to experience the discoveries that Schultes brought to the western world. Shot around the planet, from Canada to the Amazon, we experience rarely seen native hallucinogenic ceremonies and find out the true events leading up to the Psychedelic Sixties.