Luminous

Episodes

TTBOOK Presents Luminous episode 1. A door with magical colors coming out.

In the first episode in our series about psychedelics, how can psilocybin ease our fears about dying and help us make peace with the end of our lives?More

To The Best of out Knowledge presents Luminous

In this episode of "Luminous," we go inside Usona Institute’s chemistry lab and go deep with co-founder Bill Linton about what brought him to this unique moment in the psychedelic revolution.  More

Luminous

The rock icon explains why she’s fascinated by psychedelics as a promising treatment for addiction, a path for spiritual exploration, and a source of creativity.More

TTBOOK Presents Luminous

Can neuroscience explain what happens to the brain on psychedelics? And even if we map the brain while it’s tripping, does that tell us why these experiences can be so transformative? More

TTBOOK Presents Luminous with Gul Dolen

Gul Dolen is a pioneering neuroscientist who's investigating the “critical periods” of psychedelics, including studies where she's given MDMA — also known as “Molly” — to octopuses. More

sunset

The knowledge about many psychedelics comes from Indigenous cultures — which raises ethical questions for the Western scientists studying them. Can psychedelics be decolonized?More

can you have too much transcendance

Over the course of 20 years, Chris Bache had 73 high-dose LSD experiences — doses so high that the human body couldn’t tolerate anything more. More

To the best of our knowledge presents luminous

There's a fascinating question at the heart of psychedelic science. Is it the mind-blowing experience that fundamentally changes a person’s outlook on life? Or is it the powerful molecules that rewire the brain?More

Mike Jay

British historian Mike Jay wants to challenge the narrative of psychedelic “exceptionalism.” He also believes more scientists should talk about their personal psychedelic experiences. More

Interviews from this series

Anthony Bossis
Audio

Tony Bossis was one of the lead investigators on the 2016 study that found stress reduction in cancer patients after a single dose of psilocybin. He's fascinated by how the mystical experiences of the great religions map onto psychedelic experiences.More

an older woman with her hands folded.
Articles

A decade ago, Lou Lukas took part in one of the first trials of psilocybin-assisted therapy. Today, she's a palliative medicine physician and an advocate for psychedelic-assisted therapy – especially for people living in fear near the end of life.More

Roland Griffiths
Articles

Roland Griffiths helped pioneer the use of psychedelics to treat people with cancer who are scared of dying. Then he got his own terminal diagnosis. He talked with Steve Paulson in January 2023 about his personal LSD journey when he "talked" with his cancer.More

David Olson in his lab.
Articles

Could you get the same therapeutic benefits of a psychedelic drug without actually tripping? Neuroscientist David Olson wants to re-engineer psychedelic molecules to remove the trip. If successful, he might revolutionize the treatment of mental disorders.More

Charles Raison
Audio

Psychedelic therapy has shown great promise for treating depression, but it's still unclear why exactly it works. Psychiatrist Charles Raison wants to know if it's the drug or the trip that makes psychedelics so potent. Is it biology or consciousness?More

Rachel Harris
Audio

The news about psychedelics tends to focus on clinical trials and lab research. But there’s a long tradition of underground guides working with plant medicines who refer to "unseen beings" and plants as "teachers." Psychologist Rachel Harris talked with many women elders in the psychedelic underground. She calls them "spiritual warriors."More

A mushroom
Articles

Pharmaceutical companies have a long history of hunting for medicinal drugs, often in Indigenous cultures. Historian Lucas Richert tells the story of how one company went bioprospecting for peyote.More

Rachel Fernandez
Articles

Sutton King wants to change the culture around psychedelic medicines by confronting historical wrongs and getting Indigenous people into key decision-making roles in the psychedelic industry. More

Maria Sabina
Audio

The story of Mazotec healer Maria Sabina is a notorious example of how psychedelic enthusiasts have exploited the knowledge of Indigenous cultures they don’t really understand.More

Yuria Celidwen
Audio

Yuria Celidwen has a wide-ranging critique of how the modern psychedelic movement is taking shape. She was the lead author of a recent article in Lancet arguing for new ethical guidelines for using psychedelics — what she calls “spirit medicine.”More

Gul Dolen
Articles

Gül Dölen is a pioneering neuroscientist who's investigating the “critical periods” of psychedelics, including studies where she's given MDMA — also known as “Molly” — to octopuses.More

Feilding
Audio

In the years when psychedelic science had been shut down, Amanda Feilding helped jump-start research into altered states of mind. Today, she's in her 80s and remains active in psychedelic research with her Beckley Foundation.More

Kristof Koch
Audio

Neuroscientist Christof Koch has pioneered the scientific investigation of consciousness. Recently, he had a mind-blowing experience — both terrifying and ecstatic — with 5-MeO-DMT,  also known as toad venom.More

David Nutt
Audio

David Nutt believes psychedelics will revolutionize the treatment of mental disorders. A neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London, he says psychedelic therapy can help people resolve their buried traumas.More

Robin Carhart-Harris
Articles

For years, Robin Carhart-Harris dreamed of using brain scans to study people on LSD. He’s gone on to conduct pioneering research on psilocybin, and he’s formulated a theory of the "entropic brain" to explain what happens during psychedelic experiences.More

an illustration of a man who's mind is being expanded by psychedelics
Articles

Bill Linton is on a mission. He wants to get FDA approval for using psychedelics to treat depression and addiction. So he co-founded his own nonprofit psychedelic center, Usona Institute, to help revolutionize the treatment of mental illness.More

An illustration of a scientists synthesizing mushrooms in a lab
Articles

A psychedelic research center in Wisconsin is gearing up to manufacture enough medical-grade psilocybin to supply the world. Steve Paulson went to Usona Insitute to see where the magic's made, and got a peek inside the lab of chemist Alex Sherwood.More

TTBOOK Presents Luminous

About To The Best Of Our Knowledge

”To the Best of Our Knowledge” is a Peabody award-winning national public radio show that explores big ideas and beautiful questions. Deep interviews with philosophers, writers, artists, scientists, historians, and others help listeners find new sources of meaning, purpose, and wonder in daily life. Whether it’s about bees, poetry, skin, or psychedelics, every episode is an intimate, sound-rich journey into open-minded, open-hearted conversations. Warm and engaging, TTBOOK helps listeners feel less alone and more connected – to our common humanity and to the world we share. Learn more about the show here.

If you enjoy this series, you might also enjoy these

Fruit bodies of the fungus Psilocybe pelliculosa
Articles

After the excesses of the 1960s — and an ensuing moral panic — psychedelic research was outlawed by the United States government for decades. But today, the research is blossoming as a promising treatment for depression and anxiety.More

Original Air Date:

February 15, 2020

AYELET WALDMAN
Articles

How taking microdoses of LSD for a month helped her find a calm she hadn’t known for years.More

Original Air Date:

March 05, 2017

the face of god
Audio

Can psychedelics help you find God? Clinical psychologist Bill Richards thinks so. More

Original Air Date:

March 05, 2017

Magic mushrooms and our primate ancestors
Audio

Magic mushrooms go way back in human history. Some people even believe psychedelic mushrooms helped create human consciousness. We examine the "Stoned Ape Theory."More

Original Air Date:

June 06, 2019

plant
Articles

Plants are intelligent beings with profound wisdom to impart—if only we know how to listen. And Monica Gagliano knows how to listen.More

Original Air Date:

December 19, 2020

trippy mountain
Sonic Sidebar

Desperate for help with his PTSD, Dan Kasza took a strange brew of frog venom and ayahuasca.More

Original Air Date:

March 05, 2017