Psychedelics are edging into mainstream awareness more and more these days. While there are a lot of reasons why more people are becoming comfortable with the topic, this emerging cultural shift is thanks in no small part to celebrities and public figures that take on the topic with brutal honesty and challenge fans to listen with an open mind. Perhaps shouting loudest from their soapboxes are envelope-pushers Joe Rogan and Tim Ferriss, who each have tremendously popular podcasts that are currently ranked in the top 10 for global weekly downloads. While Rogan and Ferriss aren’t psychedelic experts, they both regularly feature respected authorities on their podcasts to discuss the use and benefits of psychedelics, helping to highlight the latest in psychedelic research and bring the topic to the public.
The Comedian, Martial Artist, and Consciousness Explorer
Joe Rogan is a familiar name for those of us who grew up watching News Radio or Fear Factor. While he gained a surge of recognition for being an actor, comedian, and game show host, Rogan’s interests have always been diverse. He was a Taekwondo champion in his youth and studied Judo and other disciplines to the level of black belt. In addition to his explosively popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan has become a major figure in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting scene and does color commentary for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events.
It may sound unlikely that a game show host would become a leading advocate in the media for psychedelics and consciousness exploration, but Rogan has done just that. Since starting his podcast in 2009, he has spoken openly about his use of cannabis, DMT, psilocybin mushrooms, and sensory deprivation tanks to explore his inner psyche and open his mind to the infinite wonder of consciousness. Guests on his podcast have included psychedelic experts such as Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) founder Rick Doblin, famed ethnobotanist Dennis McKenna, writer Graham Hancock, Drug Policy Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann, and award-winning journalist and founder of Reset.me, Amber Lyon.
Although Rogan covers a wide array of topics with his varied guests, his frankness about his positive experiences with psychedelic substances is a theme that routinely comes up in conversation. Rogan’s career as an actor enabled him to start a podcast with an already-established legion of fans, but the podcast may very well be the crowning achievement in his legacy. By sharing his own experiences with psychedelics, Rogan brings this former taboo to a huge audience in a relatable way and sheds a light on how to talk about psychedelics in the media and in daily conversations.
The Author, Entrepreneur, and Personal Empowerment Guru
Tim Ferriss is quickly becoming a cultural phenomenon in his own right. With multiple best-selling books such as The 4-Hour Work Week, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef, and a tremendously popular podcast called The Tim Ferriss Experiment, Ferriss promotes a radical new way of living that surpasses convention and emphasises intelligent lifestyle design to reach your highest potential. Ferriss has been open about his psychedelic use, both on his podcast and in a Reddit AMA where he uploaded a video describing how he has used psilocybin mushrooms in high doses periodically throughout his life to release negative patterns and refocus his work and goals.[1. Tim Ferriss, Reddit AMA, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcqXRDqjIpo] Ferriss also speaks about friends and acquaintances, leading CEOs and investors, that use psychedelic substances but are not publicly open about it.
While Ferriss covers many different topics on his podcast—from investing and entrepreneurship to health and personal achievement—he has devoted two full episodes to the discussion of psychedelics. In “The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide – Risks, Micro-Dosing, Ibogaine, and More,” the show featured author and psychedelics expert James Fadiman speaking about the benefits of safe psychedelic usage,[2. The Four Hour Work Week Podcast, https://fourhourworkweek.com/2015/03/21/james-fadiman/] and in the episode “Are Psychedelic Drugs the Next Medical Breakthrough?” Ferris interviewed ibogaine clinician Martin Polanco and psychiatrist Dan Engle about the use of ayahuasca, ibogaine, and 5-MeO-DMT.[3. The Four Hour Work Week Podcast, https://fourhourworkweek.com/2015/09/14/are-psychedelic-drugs-the-next-medical-breakthrough/] As a highly respected speaker on self-improvement with a large and diverse audience, Ferriss’ support of responsible psychedelic use has surely influenced a huge number of his fans to be open to psychedelics and question the fear-mongering surrounding psychedelics that the war on drugs tried so hard to instill.
Agents of Cultural Change
Rogan and Ferriss use their platform as public figures to speak candidly about their psychedelic experiences. This may sound simple, but advocacy like this can have a huge ripple effect. Their openness encourages thousands of listeners to investigate the world of psychedelics, and helps those who have already had positive psychedelic experiences to feel safe “coming out” about their psychedelic use to others. Efforts like these steadily erode the stigma of psychedelics as dangerous drugs and help revolutionize public perceptions. Slowly but surely, people like Joe Rogan and Tim Ferriss are helping to shift the cultural tide, paving the way for a world that values these powerful medicines and utilizes their incredible potential.