Public radio show “To the Best of Our Knowledge” interviewed psychedelic pioneer Jim Fadiman. The full 45 minute interview can be downloaded or streamed from their website.

Jim Fadiman is one of the original psychonauts – a friend of Richard Alpert and Ken Kesey in the Sixties – who went on to do pioneering research on psychedelics and creativity, and helped found the transpersonal psychology movement. In this EXTENDED interview, Steve Paulson talks with Fadiman about a lifetime of unconventional thinking.

Jim Fadiman

The interview covers a variety of topics, from Fadiman’s days as a graduate student in the psychedelic golden age of the Sixties, to his friendship with Merry Prankster and author Ken Kesey, to the modern renaissance in psychedelic research.

Speaking about the US government’s prohibition that halted all psychedelic use, including research, Fadiman says:

Predominantly the fear in the establishment was not of young people hurting themselves, but of young people coming home and criticizing their parents’ lifestyles and their reasons for existing. And that, as you can imagine, is fairly terrifying…

Let me frame it in a way that rather heightens the absurdity… At the time the government stopped our research, LSD was the single most researched psychiatric drug in the world. When I joined the research team I wrote to Sandoz and said has anything been published? And I got two huge volumes only of abstracts; it was the first thousand studies.

This was the same time the United States government said by fiat, by decree, by Moses coming down from the mountain, that…there is no known medical use or therapeutic use of LSD and it has considerable potential for abuse.

But there’s a silver lining. Toward the end of the interview, Fadiman discusses the cultural shift towards accepting psychedelics, including the media’s positive coverage of recent psychedelic research.

There are hundreds of references to the research and none are negative…There is something happening in the culture that is not yet understood by the legislative branch. And that is that these substances are no longer seen as terrifying, they are seen as very powerful. But so is your automobile, so is your electric lawnmower. But you don’t then jail people for wanting to use them…The culture has changed. It is a grassroots change.



He elaborates on the potential of MDMA in treating PTSD, LSD microdosing for cluster headaches, and other applications supported by the research.

It’s definitely worth a listen; check it out here. Fadiman’s classic book, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, is also worth a look.

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