Birth year – death year



Ethnobotanist, psychedelic activist

Major contributions to psychedelic space

  • Terence McKenna brought psychedelic use into the spotlight during the 1980s and 1990s.
  • He spoke at length about how psychedelics change your perspective on life and help you expand your consciousness.
  • He and his brother, Dennis McKenna, developed a simple method to grow psilocybin mushrooms that is still in wide use today.
  • McKenna was also an advocate for exploring indigenous psychedelic shamanism. He studied with Tibetan shamans of the Bon lineage and believed indigenous traditions offered a valuable understanding of psychedelics that was inaccessible in the Western world.

Career highlights

Terence McKenna was an ethnobotanist, speaker, and psychedelic activist who popularized psychedelic use during the 1980s and 1990s.

After extensive personal experimentation with psilocybin, LSD, and DMT, McKenna developed a number of theories about how psychedelics expand consciousness. He was a major advocate of taking psychedelics as a way to explore your thoughts and better understand yourself (as opposed to using psychedelics as party drugs, which was popular at the time).

McKenna and his brother Dennis, a lifelong psychedelic researcher, also developed a simple way to grow psilocybin mushrooms that is still widely used today.

In his later years, McKenna developed a number of theories about consciousness that involved psychedelics. His theories are widely considered pseudoscience. Nonetheless, McKenna’s earlier contributions to the field are valuable and he has cemented his place in psychedelic history.