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For anyone with a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription, as well as a vested interest in psychedelics— these four films are for you.
So you’re looking for a list of the best psychedelic documentaries? Of course you are. Whether it’s because you’ve started to hear the rumblings worldwide about how there is a new psychedelic revolution going on, or you want to learn a bit more before you yourself start to microdose— Canada, you’re in luck.
While none of these movies should be used as a microdosing guide, what they can offer is a more intimate look at the science, and the people, behind this new psychedelic therapy movement. Microdosing mushrooms, Canada or elsewhere, has become a way for people to access their own journey to a better and more stable mental wellbeing, if the flood of anecdotal reports are to be believed. However, without rigorous study and piles of useful data, scientists will be hard pressed to bring legitimacy to any of these claims— so where are all the studies?
Watch any one of these four films (or binge all four for a wild day trip) and you’ll soon gain a better understanding at the movements that have tied the hands of researchers for decades, the societal impact of psychedelics, and get an insider look at some inspiring, and sometimes incredibly dark, personal psychedelic journeys.
Magic Medicine (Amazon Prime)
Magic medicine is a provocative and classic look into the exploration of how to treat treatment resistant depression. The twist? They’re doing it with magic mushrooms. Canada is no stranger to this new form of possible treatment for depressive mental disorders, with many programs and research centers currently dedicated to finding out as much as they can. This particular film focuses on the journey of four individuals from the United Kingdom however, another country that is pushing hard for better regulation regarding these stubbornly scheduled drugs. Showcasing the difficulties experienced by both sides of the psychedelic therapeutics community.
Something the documentary delves into hard; going back and forth between the encouraging, and often harrowing, journey the patients find themselves on, weighted against the tribulations that modern clinicians must go through in order to create worthwhile clinical trials using these substances. Magic Medicine brings some interesting and well researched scientific clout to the psychedelic experience, analyzing what really happens during psychedelic clinical trials. A film that is brilliantly designed to discuss the possible medicinal applications of psilocybin with anyone— regardless of how they feel about the practice. Making it the ideal film to reference when trying to explain your motivations for microdosing to people who still think of mushrooms as just another drug.
Neurons to Nirvana (Amazon Prime)
What begins as a much more scathing commentary on the villainization and alienation of psychedelic drugs in society morphs into a deep dive into the neurological benefit and application of psychedelic drugs. Focusing the lens of education on the history of many hallucinogenic drugs, following them through the ages, and how they’ve made such a profound impact on society as a whole— let alone the incredible psychiatric benefits that they represent. The principal reason this is such an epic documentary? Psychedelics of all kinds— not just psilocybin, but MDMA, LSD, DMT, and others are calmly and intelligently discussed, not as a recreational tool, but instead as a global resource that should be protected, respected, and in essence— used.
This film does a great job of explaining not only the knowledge we have about these substances, but also all the knowledge we’re lacking. Shining a light on where further research is desperately needed, so that greater understanding and better utilization can be continued into the future. Linking our current emotional and societal constipations to the possible purge of these damning resolutions through the metered, respectful, and intentioned use of psychedelic substances.
Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics (Netflix)
This documentary definitely gets its inspiration from those magical, stereotypically psychedelic vibes akin to Yellow Submarine, while also offering some tongue-in-cheek 90s after school special cutscenes. Pulling perspectives from some of the world’s biggest talents, like Sting, Anthony Bourdain, A$AP Rocky, Sarah Silverman and more, this jolly, cartoon laden compendium of some of the biggest celebrities known to man also intertwines with the perspectives from writers, researchers and doctors. Enough to make anyone want to head to their nearest medicinal mushroom dispensary.
Outside of the thrilling tales and heartwarming anecdotes, cautionary memoirs and genuinely useful tips, the film feels less like a documentary about how psychedelics work, and more like a how-to guide for taking hallucinogens. Putting aside the witty commentary and adolescent throwbacks, this particular documentary brings strong underlying support for the expansive consciousness that so many report feeling following a psychedelic trip, or what most seek when exploring microdosing. Canada may lack representation in this particular film, but it still offers perspectives from influential people from many different walks of life.
Psychonautics: A Comic’s Exploration of Psychedelics (Amazon Prime)
The documentary starts out by explaining who exactly Shane Moss is. A comedian from rural Wisconsin appears at first glance to be pretty similar to that guy we all grew up with. Good natured, easy going, and really funny. While there is definitely a certain ease-into the realm of Shane and his life-long struggle with depression, the viewer is near immediately dropped into the deep and murky waters of psychedelic science, as explained by decorated expert scientists sure, but also— by comedians. Which brings a refreshingly light perspective into the palpable gravity of psychedelic research and experience. While not mentioning the practice outright, this documentary seems to hint at the benefits of microdosing psilocybin, as it routinely mentions using psilocybin on a semi-regular basis.
The film does eventually develop into the prohibition of psychedelics, and some alternative ways to source and buy shrooms, Canada however need not apply— as we have many dispensaries available; able that can provide safe and reliable per dose capsules, making your personal psychedelic revolution much more easily obtained. However much fun the entire adventure is, the film seems to do a great job of finding a way to stress the idea that psychedelics are a tool, one that should be used respectfully and with intention.
Dirty Pictures (Amazon Prime)
While definitely still a true psychedelic documentary, Dirty Pictures won’t soon have you seeking out your nearest shroom dispensary— instead it’s an incredibly intimate account of the chemist that is attributed to releasing MDMA into the wilds of society. Which also tells the tale of how such a potentially astounding breakthrough in the treatment of mental health became to be known as little more than something kids take at raves. Peeking behind the curtain though, you see a world so far removed from the loud, tightly packed and undulating dance floors of the club cutscenes, instead being grounded by the grandfatherly man tinkering in his garage— that just so happens to look like a steampunk laboratory.
When the movie isn’t focused on the direct exploits of Alexander Shulgin and his wife Ann, it takes you into both the proverbial and literal living rooms of many other industry experts, each living the same life, in nearly the same homes, that our great grandparents currently inhabit— walls filled with plaques and decorative plates, while wrinkled visages and snowy white beards explain the chemical and psychological nuances of one of the most explicitly disruptive psychedelic substances known to medicine.