After wrapping up his book about the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs, author Michael Pollan turned his attention to a drug that’s hidden “in plain sight” in many people’s lives: caffeine.
“Here’s a drug we use every day. … We never think about it as a drug or an addiction, but that’s exactly what it is,” Pollan says. “I thought, ‘Why not explore that relationship?'”
Pollan’s new audiobook, Caffeine, explores the science of caffeine addiction and withdrawal — and the broader impact that coffee and tea have had on the modern world. Caffeine, he says, is a powerful drug that alters the brain in surprising ways.
“There are studies that show that people’s both mental performance and athletic performance are improved by coffee,” he says. “If you have a cup of coffee after you’ve learned something or read a textbook chapter, you are more likely to test better on it the next day.”