Oh no, drugs.
We get it; with the War on Drugs spiraling out of control over the years, psychedelics have always had a bad rep. Well, that’s about to change. And after 50 years of stigmatization, studies are now showing that psychedelic drugs like MDMA, psilocybin, and the almighty LSD can treat difficult mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and even opioid addiction.
As science gives increasing credence to the positive effects of psychedelics on mental health and cognition, maybe it’s time to take them for what they actually are: medicine for the mind, body, and soul. What’s more, many influential figures attribute their success to psychedelic drugs, with many claiming these substances changed their lives for the better.
So, we created a list of CEOs, movie directors, musicians, scientists, and innovators who attribute their success to plant medicine and psychedelics. So if you’ve ever been inspired by even one of these famous figures, then maybe it’s time to change the narrative.
Psychedelics Have Benefits - Just Ask These Famous People
From tech magnate Steve Jobs to space travel genius Elon Musk, these celebrities have had positive experiences with psychedelics.
Jobs was a well-publicized fan of LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide). The late co-founder of Apple attested that taking LSD was one of the most important things he ever did in life. On many occasions, he credited the experience as giving him “a glimpse of the infinite”.
At the time, Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy, and Steve Jobs was responsible for saving the company and taking it further than competitors. When asked the inspiration behind his pioneering creative inspiration, Jobs highlighted his use of psychedelics, and was quoted saying, “LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it”.
The Microsoft co-founder has also spoken about his experiments with psychedelics in his younger years. Having held the title of “World’s Richest Man” for several years in a row, Gates said in an interview that LSD was an “essential tool” in his personal and professional development.
That being said, LSD has been reported to influence people with an already creative mind. Coupled with Steve’s experience, one could almost ask, “Was modern technology defined by transient LSD experiences?” With so much evidence, we could almost say it did.
Sometimes called “The Picasso of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, the late David Bowe was an avid user of psychedelics. During his career, Bowie used LSD as an inspiration. In the same way, Bowie was able to stay trendy, changing his image and persona in the most psychedelic manner possible. He was quoted once saying that taking LSD was “like being shot out of a cannon into another universe.” Without his use of psychedelics, we may never have witnessed the “Living art” that was David Bowie.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney has spoken about his LSD use while with the legendary musical band. He confided in a British newspaper, saying that the experience was “a great education” which helped to expand his mind. In a 1967 interview, the Beatles legend attests to seeing God, explaining that the acid experience “explained the mystery of life”. His use of LSD helped him and the Beatles lay the foundation for transcendental music.
The Beetles led a psychedelic revolution.
The creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, who has never been seen before, admitted to trying different drugs via email. In a series of email exchanges, Nakamoto revealed his interest in the potential of psychedelics. He admitted to trying many different drugs, stating that psychedelics were "by far the most powerful" in terms of their ability to "expand one's mind."
In this period, the Bitcoin inventor revealed in email exchanges that he was working on a “very experimental,” fully peer-to-peer electronic cash system with no trusted third party. Could it be a coincidence that Nakamoto’s psychedelic use was mentioned in the same breath as Bitcoin? Probably not!
- Elon Musk
In a recent podcast with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk admitted that people should be open to psychedelics but should practice microdosing. The founder of Tesla and SpaceX said that taking small doses of LSD helped him become more creative and productive.
"I find that it enhances creativity," Musk said in an interview with Joe Rogan. "It helps me be more focused." He even goes further to suggest that psychedelics should be made more accessible in the future, as the effects of these drugs could benefit a lot of people, both mentally and creatively.
Although there is no evidence suggesting that SpaceX employees use mind-altering drugs for productivity, one can only wonder what it would feel like to take psychedelics in space. Just imagine.
- Larry Page
Larry Page is an American computer scientist and internet entrepreneur. He is best known as one of the co-founders of Google, where he served as CEO from 2001 to 2015. Page is also a board member of Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company.
From Larry Page’s view, psychedelic drugs and entrepreneurship could be a good match. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in 2016, Larry Page spoke about his experience with microdosing and how he believed it helped him to be more creative and productive. He also said that he would "definitely recommend trying it."
- Kary Mullis
Kary Mullis invented PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, a process used to amplify strands of DNA. The PCR technique is arguably the greatest genetic invention of the 20th century and is essential for many modern molecular biology techniques, such as DNA sequencing.
He was named a Nobel Laureate for his contributions to modern medicine. As a biochemist, Mullis has also worked on developing new methods for detecting HIV and has written extensively about his mystical experiences with plants and LSD.
Now late, Kary Mullis opened up on his use of psychedelic drugs which he admitted helped him study DNA in new and innovative ways and helped produce the DNA replication technique.
- Oliver Sacks
“Psychedelics have the power to break through the barriers of the imagination and to allow us to see things in new and creative ways." - Oliver Sacks.
Oliver Sacks was a British neurologist and writer who devoted his life to the study of psychedelics, consciousness, and the power of imagination. In his case, Oliver Sacks started using psychedelics recreationally, namely LSD and amphetamines, while living in California. He documented his first-hand experiences hallucinating with the drugs and was able to empathize with fellow users.
Oliver Sacks advocated for LSD use – it made him evolve.
In an interview with The Paris Review, he said: "I have always been interested in psychedelics, not only for their therapeutic potential but also for their ability to open up new realms of experience and imagination. Psychedelics have the power to connect us with our higher selves and with the creative genius that lies within each of us."
His research and story-like narratives gained mass recognition when his book, Awakenings, was made into a Hollywood film. Sacks’ legacy lives on years after his death. He was responsible for revealing the many benefits of psychedelics. Sacks stated that LSD allowed him to unlock his mind and to connect with the experiences of his patients. As he saw it, hallucinogenic drugs helped people detach themselves from worldly concerns like anxiety, addiction, and even a fear of death.
- George Calin
Stand-up comedian, actor, and social critic, George Calin, was popular for his honest and direct approach to comedy and skits. The late author had a gift for initiating open-minded commentary on sensitive topics like religion, politics, materialism and the degradation of mainstream society.
In a documented interview, George Calin attests that psychedelics open the windows of your mind. Living in a time when the uptight war generation didn’t want to hear him, George Calin spread his message regardless, after experiencing new levels of intelligence through LSD use.
He went further to speak about his experience, “I did LSD and peyote… they helped open me up. You know, if a drug has anything going for it at all, it should be self-limiting. It should tell you when you’ve had enough. Acid and peyote were that way for me.”
The Influence of Psychedelics Goes Even Further
Almost everything creative today has a psychedelic influence.
Many well-known inventors and celebrities have spoken about their positive experiences with psychedelics, including writer Aldous Huxley, physicist Richard Feynman, musician Sting, and podcaster Joe Rogan. Psychedelics have also been credited with helping to spark the creativity of artists, most notably the late kaleidoscopic painter, Pablo Picasso. Even today, many films, paintings, art, fashion shows, musical videos embody the essence of psychedelic use.
Based on numerous studies and research, psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms, MDMA, and LSD can improve performance and overall well-being, both medically and spiritually. Also, with many great public figures using these consciousness-expanding substances to great success, there is a psychedelic pushback which seeks to legalize their usage.
With all things said, the reality of psychedelics is that they do inspire innovation and creativity in people and can enhance overall wellbeing and relationships with themselves, others, and the world at large.