Straddling the line between advocacy documentary and D.I.Y. infomercial, “Dosed” promotes psychoactive vegetation as a potential cure for drug addiction. The filmmaker, Tyler Chandler, trails a friend, known in the film only by a first name, Adrianne, as she experiments with psilocybin mushrooms and the hallucinogenic plant iboga to treat her seemingly intractable dependence on heroin, methadone or morphine. The effectiveness of these alternative-medicine therapies, and the question of whether they should be legal, is still the subject of debate.
Adrianne, who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, has a third, potentially powerful ingredient contributing to her recovery: the presence of the camera, which, at times, is clearly on her mind. As the documentary opens, Adrianne is asked how she would like it to end. “I’d love to be sober,” she replies, but adds that she’d like to be sober, generally. And although her treatment does not follow a straightforward path — her initial efforts at a supervised iboga retreat are disrupted by a hospital trip for a panic attack — she eventually achieves the sobriety she foreshadows.
Which is great. But the shot-calling undermines the movie’s pro-psychedelics argument, because there is no way to control for the psychosomatic effects of starring in a documentary. Nor does “Dosed” do much to counter or even address objections to mushrooms or iboga as treatments, although it does include firm warnings about the need for supervision.
The movie, which was scheduled to be released in New York on Friday, will instead be available to rent or buy on Vimeo. The distributor has pledged a portion of the proceeds to fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 22 minutes.