Tim Ferriss and Psychedelics

Best-selling author, entrepreneur, and angel investor Tim Ferriss praises the benefits of psychedelics.  Mr. Ferriss financially supports psychedelic research and he methodically uses psychedelics for treating depression and enhancing cognition.  Recently he told CNN that “The billionaires I know, almost without exception, use hallucinogens on a regular basis.”

In Tools of Titans, Mr. Ferriss notes, “Some of my loved ones would insist that the most important work I’ve done in the last 4 years has involved studying and judiciously using psychedelics.” He summarizes some of that work in Tools of Titans, including the knowledge he gained from thought leaders in psychedelic medicine: James Fadiman, Martin Polanco, and Dan Engle.

Tim Ferriss’s Remark’s about Psychedelics

In Tools of Titans, Mr. Ferriss (using the pseudonym “Slim Berriss”) provides some information about his experiences with psychedelics — and preferences for particular substances.

  • He notes that he doesn’t like LSD.
  • He finds “psilocybin in mushrooms hard to dose accurately”  and describes some problems associated with the lack of accurate dosage forms.  “Woe unto he who ‘microdoses’ and gets hit like a freight train while checking in luggage at an airport….”
  • Mr. Ferriss uses encapsulated ibogaine (instead of psilocybin mushrooms) for microdosing because of the problems associated with accurately dosing psilocybin via mushrooms.
  • Psychedelics “unlike almost every other kind of medication, have very different effects at different dose levels.  It is almost as if they were different substances.” (quoting James Fadiman).
  • Mr. Ferriss describes his experiences with psilocybin as “a hard reboot” for his brain: “It closes all the windows, ‘force quits’ all the applications, flushes the cache, installs upgrades, and – when I’m ‘back to normal’ – restores my 30,000-foot view.  It removes the noise, giving me a crystal clear view of the most critical priorities and decisions.”
  • Mr. Ferriss distinguishes ayahuasca from other psychedelics: “If you think of psilocybin, LSD, or peyote as different types of alcohol — say vodka, red wine, and Scotch — ayahuasca is more like a cocktail.  This makes it hard to standardize.”  Here, he notes that “No session is quite the same as any other.”

Tim Ferriss’s Regimen for Taking Psychedelics

Taking the above factors into consideration, Mr. Ferriss has adopted a schedule for taking both small and large doses of psychedelics on a regular basis.  His regimen is described below.

  • “Microdosing” of 4mg ibogaine hydrochloride twice weekly, on Mondays and Fridays.
  • “Moderate” dosing of psilocybin (2.2 – 3.5 g of ground mushrooms in chocolate) once every 6-8 weeks.
  • “Higher-dose ayahuasca” (for 2 consecutive nights) once every 3-6 months.  Tim notes that he discontinues his ibogaine and psilocybin consumption during the 4 weeks prior to each ayahuasca session.

Key Points from Tim Ferriss

  1. Mr. Ferriss clearly recognizes the benefits of using psychedelics, describing that practice as an open secret amidst many high performers.  See above quote about billionaires.
  2. His regimen demonstrates a preference for naturally occurring substances–as opposed to man-made synthetic drugs.  He explicitly doesn’t like LSD.  He prefers magic mushrooms, ibogaine (found in plants in the Apocynaceae family), and ayahuasca.  He also discusses other naturally occurring molecules, like 5-MeO-DMT.  But, he does not advocate for or extoll the benefits of any synthetic or designer drugs.
  3. Mr. Ferriss recognizes the shortcomings of using mushrooms for microdosing.  Namely, he points to problems administering an accurate dose of the active substances.  See Unmet Need for Precise Dosing.
  4. Mr. Ferriss recognizes the importance of polypharmacology when administering psychedelic drugs– at least for ayahuasca, where he attributes the user’s experience to a “cocktail” of compounds rather than a single active component  (Within the cannabis industry, this phenomenon is called the “Entourage Effect” and refers to the synergistic properties of multiple active components).
  5. It is unclear whether Mr. Ferriss appreciates the importance of polypharmacology within the context of magic mushrooms. Unlike pure psilocybin, mushroom material contains multiple active ingredients which work together to produce the overall user experience.  See Taking Pure Psilocybin is Different from Eating Magic Mushrooms.  Given that Mr. Ferriss appears to limit his psilocybin consumption to magic mushrooms, he is always taking a “cocktail” of psilocybin derivatives — not just psilocybin.

All things considered, Tim Ferriss has done a great job studying and experimenting with psychedelics.  As a self-proclaimed “human guinea pig,” he has pushed this area forward for those who choose to follow.  Given the unmet needs in mental health, Mr. Ferriss’s loved ones may be right that this is one of the most important contributions of his career.  Yet it appears that he is just getting started.  According to Peter Attia’s Podcast, Mr. Ferriss is shifting his focus from investing in startups to funding experiments that he hopes will establish more reliable knowledge and therapeutic options for those suffering from anxiety, depression, and addiction.  In other words, Mr. Ferriss appears to be focussing in on psychedelics rather than setting the topic aside as he has for countless other experiments.

5 thoughts on “Tim Ferriss and Psychedelics

  1. Tim Hagney Reply

    Far cry from the 1960’s, where “Turn on, tune in, drop out” is now replaced with billionaires getting more clarity in their lives!

  2. Tarek Hattar Reply

    Hello, i talked and stayed some time with chamans over the world, and many told me that many Natural substances have a Better effect if taken together, like ayahuasca and peyote, ayahuasca and mushrooms,peyote and mushrooms,etc, its said to be more equilibrated, like ying/yang, male/female, I havent tried myself yet to combine, what are your thoughs or experiences with this?

  3. Isaac RochaRubio Reply

    Interested in all upcoming work and new information! Please inform me upon discovery, Thank you!!

  4. Andres Reply

    How you know, that ferris use the pseudonym “Slim Berriss”. He told you? He mentione that in the book?

    • Staff Scientist Post authorReply

      The connection is pretty clear from the context in the book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *