Business gets ready to trip: How psychedelic drugs may revolutionize mental health care

Silicon Valley legends. Billionaire financiers. Patent attorneys. They're all awakening to the massive potential of an industry preparing to emerge from darkness.

Bestselling author and podcast host Tim Ferriss has become the pied piper of psychedelics, donating $3 million to fund research and raising a lot more from his network.PHOTOGRAPH BY DREW ANTHONY SMITH FOR FORTUNE

Tim Ferriss and I are hiking in Solitude. As in Solitude, Utah, 20 minutes or so outside Salt Lake City. It’s Tuesday afternoon in the mountains, and we’re crunching along on snowshoes over two-day-old packed powder. The path is single-file and despite a lack of humanity, we’re having a tough time hearing each other because of the noise underfoot. So Ferriss proposes a system, as he is wont to do. He’ll hold the recorder. I’ll ask a question. And he’ll answer directly into the microphone as we walk. Repeat as necessary. When we’re done, we’ll soak in the majesty of our surroundings and take a selfie. Okay, how about an introduction to break the ice?

“Let’s see. This is Tim Ferriss speaking from the wilderness of Utah, looking out at the snow-covered expanse here in the stillness with my good friend, Mr. O’Brien,” he says. We’re not actually tight. I mean, we’re getting along fine. But this is the first time we’ve met. “I’m a self-experimenter, I suppose entrepreneur, sometimes podcaster, and full-time professional dilettante, the author of books with questionable titles including The 4-Hour Workweek and Tools of Titans, and I’m currently heavily focused on trying to help find cures or treatments for intractable psychiatric conditions—predominantly through the study of psychedelic compounds.”

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