We love documentaries at Sociedelic and, as this list proves, there are dozens of great ones about psychedelics worthy of your time and attention. These documentaries are powerful and intense, and each will expand the horizons of the viewers open to learning more about our minds. As consciousness explorer and psychedelic connoisseur Timothy Leary said, a psychedelic experience is a journey to new realms of consciousness.
The nature of the psychedelic experience makes it difficult, if not impossible, to put into words. For someone who has never taken a psychedelic drug it can be difficult to imagine what it’s like. We can try to describe its qualities, such as twisted, enlightening, or sacred, but what we actually go through is beyond the capability of our words.
A psychonaut is someone who explores altered states of consciousness, especially through hallucinatory drugs and claims to use these experiences to investigate his or her mind, and possibly address spiritual questions, through direct experience.
Psychologists and psychiatrists have been studying hallucinogens for decades and as time goes by, more and more documentaries and studies are being released that explore the complex and fascinating nature of psychedelics.
When it comes to learning about psychedelics, there are plenty of useful books to choose from but documentaries are possibly the most informative and accessible form of media available. If you’re interested in learning more about these mind-bending substances called psychedelics, check out our list of the best 23 documentaries about psychedelics.
This is an extra video you should watch before watching the other videos.
1. Fantastic Fungi
When so many are struggling for connection, inspiration and hope, Fantastic Fungi brings us together as interconnected creators of our world.
Directed by Louie Schwartzberg, Fantastic Fungi is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.
Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offer us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges.
2. Neurons to Nirvana: Understanding Psychedelic Medicines
This is an outstanding and extensive documentary that examines the cultural, political and legal landscape surrounding the use of psychedelic substances. Through interviews with the world’s foremost researchers, writers, psychologists and pioneers in psychedelic psychotherapy, the film explores the history of five powerful psychedelic substances (LSD, Psilocybin, MDMA, Ayahuasca and Cannabis) and their previously established medicinal potential.
3. DMT: The Spirit Molecule
Next up is DMT: The Spirit Molecule who investigates dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an endogenous psychoactive compound, which exists in humans and numerous species of plants and animals, nearly in every living organism on the planet.
The electronic or print versions of the book are available on Amazon.
4. AYA: Awakenings
Aya: Awakenings is another documentary that was adapted from a book—Rak Razam’s Aya Awakenings: A Shamanic Odyssey. The film follows Razam’s journey into the Amazon jungle to uncover the mysteries of the powerful plant medicine ayahuasca and the shamans who work with it.
5. A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin
A microscope that observes the mind, a telescope that sees the soul. A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin, which focuses on the current scientific research being conducted for treating end-of-life anxiety in terminally ill cancer patients with psilocybin magic mushrooms to facilitate deeply spiritual experiences.
6. The Sunshine Makers
A real-life Breaking Bad for the psychedelic set, The Sunshine Makers reveals the fascinating, untold story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, the unlikely duo at the heart of 1960s American drug counter-culture. United in a utopian mission to save the planet through the consciousness-raising power of LSD, these underground chemists manufactured a massive amount of acid, including the gold standard for quality LSD, Orange Sunshine, all while staying one step ahead of the Feds.
7. Dirty Pictures
Dirty Pictures features the late psychedelic chemist Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, co-author of the books PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story and TiHKAL: The Continuation, and the person responsible for introducing MDMA to psychotherapists in the late 1970s. The rogue chemist also discovered over 200 other psychotropic substances.
8. The Last Shaman
A young man decides to take matters in his own hands when facing suicide. He undergoes a lifethreatening journey in the Amazon jungle that brings him a deeper of understanding and acceptance of self. Along the way, he experiences the healing properties of the tribal plant medicine Ayahuasca and the world around it.
9. Icaros: A Vision
This documentary is about an american woman who travel to the Amazon in search of a miracle. A film shaped like a shamanic journey, steeped in a psychoactive brew, exploring fear and destiny in the jungle of the mind.
10. Ayahuasca: Vine of the Soul
On a quest for spiritual awakening and healing, a naturopathic doctor and an accountant journey to the Peruvian Amazon to drink the hallucinogenic brew called ayahuasca, the ‘Vine of the Soul’.
This award-winning documentary explores the mystery of ayahuasca shamanism, offering insights into the nature of spirituality, mystical experience and self-healing discovered through an expanded state of consciousness.
11. Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within
The film examines the re-emergence of archaic techniques of ecstacy in the modern world by weaving a synthesis of ecological and evolutionary awareness,electronic dance culture, and the current pharmacological re-evaluation of entheogenic compounds.
Stan Grof, Ralph, Metzner, Marilyn Schlitz, Alex Grey, Terrence McKenna, Daniel Pinchbeck and Barabara Marx Hubbard among others, postulate how the disenchantment brought about by the scientific method has created our current ecological crisis and how the emergence of the technosphere has made available the next leap in the evolution of consciousness.
12. Other worlds
This documentary film will be the testimony of a personal and subjective adventure. The film will primarily show the therapeutic power of the Shamans and their plants. This power is a type of ancestral psychoanalysis or human psychotherapy backed by 4,000 years of experience and practice.
The film will allow the Shamans to speak for themselves. It will show how their cultures and their belief systems culminate from their knowledge of the Invisible.
13. The Substance: Albert Hofmann’s LSD
In 1943, Albert Hofmann discovered LSD, a substance that was to become an A-bomb of the mind. Fractions of a milligram are enough to turn our framework of time and space upside down. The story of a drug – its discovery in the Basel chemistry lab, the first experiments by Albert Hofmann on himself, the 1950s experiments of the psychiatrists, the consciousness researchers, the artists.
14. Shamans of the Amazon – A Timeless Journey
Discover how westerners around the world are using Ayahuasca and other Shamanic plants to receive knowledge, to understand their relationship with nature and to seek visions of how best to deal with deep personal, spiritual and environmental questions.
Denis McKenna said that Shamans of the Amazon is one of the best documentaries available on the use of ayahuasca in contemporary context, and in traditional cultures that are being destabilized by the forces of globalization.
15. Psychonautics: A Comic’s Exploration Of Psychedelics
Comedian Shane Mauss goes on a series of adventures to deepen his understanding of psychedelics. With moments of both confusion and clarity, this documentary is an honest account of the experiences of a genuine Psychonaut.
16. Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia
A Psychonaut’s adventures in videoland, documentary television series, Hamilton’s Pharamcopeia, hosted by chemist and journalist Hamilton Morris a 32-year-old writer and filmmaker, clearly isn’t satisfied with the popular models for understanding drugs. Morris seeks no deities, therapy or enlightenment. He is interested in scientific research and is inspired by neurologists like Oliver Sacks and psychiatrists like Claudio Naranjo.
17. Terence McKenna’s True Hallucinations
True Hallucinations, yet another brilliant documentary on the life of Terence McKenna. Is an experimental documentary about the chaos at La Chorrera, the imagination, time, the Logos, belief, hope, madness, and doubt.
Based on the underground classic book and talking book ‘True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author’s Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil’s Paradise‘, this tale of alchemical understanding is a deep dive into the young minds of the McKenna brothers, and an effort to provide some kind of visual aid and emotional center to a much larger story, with details scattered through hundreds of talks. Featuring unearthed photos and notebook pages which have never been seen by the public since generated in 1971.
18. Psychedelica: Psychedelics And Consciousness
In this ground-breaking original series, experts explore the history and use of psychedelic plants including political ambitions, the perceived shadow side and the proper environment to experience these substances. From the origins of Shamanism to the spiritual expression of modern awakenings, discover the role of sacred medicine as a gateway to expanded consciousness, and its continued influence on humanity.
19. Manna – Psilocybin Mushroom Inspired documentary
This documentary by Simon G. Powell will be a joy to watch for Psilocybin lovers and informative for those who have still not been introduced to this mystical fungus. Psilocybin undoubtedly helps humans access higher spiritual states of consciousness on earth. As earth is a lower and denser form of experience, mostly physical, psilocybin can help humans get back in touch with the truth, that is, that everything in the universe was created.
20. The Reality of Truth
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.
21. Ibogaine: Rite of Passage
A Revealing documentary about a unique tool that can help people overcome life hurdles such as drug dependency or other forms of addictive behavior. Ibogaine comes from the West African plant Tabernanthe iboga and is used traditionally to induce a rite of passage process. This documentary shows the human processes of those who choose to go through the iboga experience to face their mistakes and difficulties, find reconciliation and move on.
22. Manifesting The Mind
Manifesting The Mind, a documentary on Psychedelics & Shamanism from ‘Bouncing Bear Films’ featuring interviews with renowned experts such as Daniel Pinchbeck, John Major Jenkins, Dennis McKenna, Nick Herbert, Alex Grey & Dr. Rick Strassman to name a few. This is the first release from Bouncing Bear Films which comprises of Andrew & Jennifer Rutajit and all other folks from Bouncing Bear Botanicals. ‘Manifesting The Mind’ gives us a broad perspective on psychedelics, how we can benefit from them and why is the use of psychedelics suppressed by the mainstream media and governments of the world.
23. Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey
This is a must see. A very interesting history on LSD and hallucinogenic plants, this documentary is a relevant source of information for people who want to know more about certain drugs today.
Ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes travels the globe and explores the use of various hallucinogenic plants. Schultes was one of the first Americans to get an up close and personal look at psychedelics actually being used in ceremonies by native tribes. In this documentary, Schultes and his team discuss the discovery of magic mushrooms, peyote, ayahuasca, and more.
Have you seen any of these documentaries about psychedelics? Are there others you would add? Feel free to also comment below and leave your thoughts!