Chacruna, an organization led by Brazilian anthropologist Dr. Bia Labate, is based in Northern California, with ties to Brazil and Mexico. Chacruna produces high-quality anthropological research on plant medicines and helps propagate academic knowledge in more accessible formats. We hope to educate the public and create cultural understanding and legitimacy regarding these substances. We believe that, without proper historical context and cultural frameworks around plant medicines, they will continue to be stigmatized and outlawed. Chacruna also promotes a bridge between the world of plant medicines and the emergent field of psychedelic science, between “traditional ceremonial use” and clinical and therapeutic settings. It brings the knowledge and perspectives of the social sciences to practitioners of psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Chacruna fosters cultural and political reflections on the field of psychedelic science and aims to include the voices of women, queer people, indigenous people, people of color, and the global South in the global debates about plant medicines and psychedelics. Chacruna’s publications, website, and events stimulate critical thinking and include conversations about controversial topics that have been simmering on the sidelines as psychedelics go mainstream, such as access, inclusion, diversity, cultural appropriation, conservation, regulation, and implications of the emergent commodification of psychedelics.
Our team works on multiple fronts: (1) publication of original academic research; (2) curation of a popular specialized website with sessions on science, culture, spirituality, policy, integration and news; strong social media presence (+40K followers); (3) organization of conferences and events; (4) production of original video content with short web series, live-streamed interviews, and educational materials; (5) creation of networks and communication among researchers; (6) promotion of courses and trainings; (7) community support related to problematic plant medicine practitioners; (8) promotion of the inclusion of advocacy against criminalization of plant medicines in the larger drug policy reform movement; (9) support for legal cases involving sacred plants; (10) collaboration with peyote conservation initiatives in Mexico and the US; (11) hosting a psychedelic therapy music forum for psychedelic therapists and researchers; (12) promotion of educational retreats for psychedelic therapists with ayahuasca in Central America.
We hope to create a global community aware of the challenges of the expansion, legalization, and globalization of plant medicines and psychedelics. We envision a world were plant medicines and psychedelics are preserved, protected, and valued as part of our cultural identity. We are in the process of forming a non-profit organization; MAPS is our fiscal sponsor. We accept donations and are open to volunteers.
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