For over 7,000 years, psychedelics have been widely used across the globe for medicinal and religious purposes. Within the last century, governments started to outlaw their use, but times are changing. In some places, psychedelics are once again becoming more widely accepted - thanks in part to a handful of influential people in psychedelics. New research is being examined, and scientific studies are being launched.

1. Albert Hofmann

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Albert Hofmann

Albert Hofman holds the respected place of being the first chemist to synthesize, ingest, and learn of the psychedelic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). In addition, he was the first scientist to isolate, synthesize, and name the principal psychedelic mushroom compounds psilocybin and psilocin. In 2007, he was named one of the 100 greatest living geniuses by The Daily Telegraph.


He passed away in 2008 at the age of 102.

2. Dr. James Fadiman (The Father of Microdosing)

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Dr. James Fadiman

Dr. James Fadiman was born on May 27, 1939. An American writer, he also co-founded the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (Sofia University), where he serves as a lecturer on psychedelic studies. He has actively collected reports from thousands of people since 2010 in his research into psychedelic microdosing of LSD.

His research shows that psychedelics have helped many overcome depression, insecurities, anxiety, stress, menstrual problems, and migraines.

Follow James Fadiman HERE.

3. Paul Stamets

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Paul Stamets

Paul Stamets has a love affair with fungi. He launched Fungi Perfecti in 1980 as a way to introduce people to the use of fungi. Paul is a mycologist, speaker, author, medical researcher, and entrepreneur who focuses on the medicinal use, production, and cultivation of fungi. His goal is to show the benefits of mushrooms. His stated philosophy is “MycoDiversity is BioSecurity.”Paul recently starred in a Netflix documentary on magic mushrooms ‘Fantastic Fungi’.

Follow Paul Stamets HERE.

4. Terence Kemp McKenna

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Terence Kemp McKenna

Terence Kemp McKenna was born in 1946 and passed away in 2000. He was a strong advocate for the use of psychedelics. As an ethnobotanist, he focused on plant-based entheogens and took things further with a strong slant towards shamanism. Many called him the Timothy Leary of the 1990s. Two of his books include Pale Fire: A Poem in Four Cantos and The Hasheesh Eater: Being Passages from the Life of a Pythagorean.

In 1999, McKenna was diagnosed with glioblastoma. He worried that the terminal brain tumor might have been caused by his widescale use of psychedelics and cannabis but he was reassured by medical physicians that there was no connection.

Terence Kemp McKenna passed away on April 3, 2000

5. Alexander "Sasha" Theodore Shulgin

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Alexander Sasha Theodore Shulgin - By JonRHanna - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

Alexander Theodore Shulgin was referred to lovingly as ‘Sasha’ by friends and family. He was born in 1925 and lived until 2014. Many consider Sasha to be the ‘Grandfather of Psychedelics”.Sasha is well known for his studies involving 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy) in the 1970s. He believed strongly in using the drug to treat a variety of mental health problems and promote self-discovery. He created a bioassay that listed 230 psychoactive compounds.

His focus on psychoactive medications led to the creation of several books plus seminal work. He had a deep interest in mescaline. His books include PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story and The Nature of Drugs: History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact.

Alexander "Sasha" Theodore Shulgin passed away on June 2, 2014

6. Rick Doblin

Rick Doblin PHD

Richard Elliot Doblin is the driving force and visionary behind MAPS which is the world organization behind the legalization and research of psychedelic drugs. Back in the 60's Doblin experiences several psychedelic substances including Ketamine, DMT, LSD and more even with the legendary Terrance Mckenna that was mentioned above. Doblin's work has being spread out for the last 40 years and 2022 should be the year when MDMA treatment for PTSD and depression would become legal thanks to MAPS work.

MAPS is an independent non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people around the world to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics therapy. Doblin's goal is to make these treatments available to those who need them as quickly as possible under appropriate conditions so they can resolve their mental issues without resorting to addictive or harmful drugs like opioids or alcohol—or worse yet, suicide.

Rick Doblin Predicts MDMA will be legal for personal use in 2035

7. Michael Pollan

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Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan has spent the last 30 years authoring books and articles about the joining of humankind and nature on the dinner plate. Six of his eight books have become New York Times bestsellers. He wrote Second Nature: A Gardener's Education (1991) and The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World (2001).

Pollen is a strong advocate for the legalization and use of psychedelics. He always presents the mysticism and spirituality of the substances. In 2010, Time Magazine named Michael Pollan one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Follow Michael Pollan HERE.

8. Rick Strassman

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Rick Strassman

Rick Strassman serves as a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He was the first U.S. person to launch human research using psychedelic, entheogenic, and hallucinogenic substances along with N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT). He went on to write the influential DMT: The Spirit Molecule, which examined his research with DMT.

Follow Rick Strassman HERE.

9. Julie Holland

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Dr. Julie Holland

Dr. Julie Holland is a psychopharmacologist and psychiatrist who has authored five books. She is a strong advocate for the use of psychedelics in the treatment of mental health disorders.

She is currently the lead medical monitor for the MAPS studies (currently studying lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety), which involves the development of psychedelics as usable prescription medications. She has authored Good Chemistry and Moody Bitches. MAPS is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and spearheads the study of psychedelics to promote the drugs’ safe use and break down the legal barriers.

Follow Dr. Holland HERE.

10. Matthew W. Johnson

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Matthew W. Johnson

Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D., serves as a professor at John Hopkins. He is deemed an expert in psychedelic drugs and addictions. To date, he has published 119 scientific manuscripts, with 47 focused solely on psychedelics.

Without a doubt, Matthew Johnson has been the driving force in spurring the current interest in psychedelic research in recent years after publishing exact psychedelic safety guidelines in 2008. In 2014, he published a groundbreaking manuscript on the psychedelic treatment of tobacco addiction. He published another research paper based on the use of psychedelics for coping with cancer stress, anxiety, and depression.

Follow Matthew W. Johnson HERE.

11. Ekaterina Malievskaia

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Ekaterina Malievskaia

Ekaterina Malievskaia is the co-founder of Compass Pathways. She also serves as the chief medical officer leading the company’s research.

Her goal in creating COMPASS has been to improve the mental health of those in need. Ekaterina created COMPASS with her husband to help pinpoint effective treatments.

Follow Ekaterina Malievskaia HERE.

12. George Goldsmith

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George Goldsmith

George Goldsmith’s company, Compass Pathways, developed synthetic psilocybin, the active ingredient found in mushrooms. It is now widely used to treat depression. He first started to explore hallucinogenic mushrooms as a possible treatment for his son’s mental health issues.

The work of Compass Pathways has been described as groundbreaking by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Currently, it is in Phase II trials.

Follow George Goldsmith HERE.

13. María Sabina Magdalena García

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María Sabina Magdalena García

Maria Sabina was born in 1894 and lived until 1985 in Huautla de Jimenez. During her lifetime, she performed many healing mushroom ceremonies. She was regarded as a sacred person and a healer by many. Sabina started consuming psychedelic mushrooms at the age of seven.

For over 30 years, she performed the all-night velada ceremony to consume with God in an effort to heal the sick. Her goal was to contact the spirits to learn the nature of the ceremony participants’ various ailments.

Maria Sabina passed away on 22 November 1985

14. Hamilton Morris

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Hamilton Morris

Hamilton Morris was born in 1987. He has worked as a scientific researcher, documentarian, and journalist. Recently, he created and launched a television show on Hulu referred to as Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia, which examines the history and impact of my psychoactive drugs.

Follow Hamilton Morris HERE.

15. Andrew Chadeayne

Andrew Chadeayne
Andrew Chadeayne

As the founder and CEO of CaaMTech, a psychedelic pharma located in Issaquah, Washington, he is focused on developing safe psychedelic drugs. He hopes to map all psychedelic drugs in the near future. His goal is to create safe and effective psychedelic compounds and formulations that will aid modern medicine.

Follow Andrew Chadeayne HERE 


This list is composed of the most well-known people in psychedelics. These men and women dedicated their lives to helping make our world a better place. In a way, this list is our way to say thanks for all of their efforts.  If you feel that we have missed someone in our compilation of the most influential people in psychedelics, please contact us! 

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