Chacruna Institute is a registered California 501(c)(3) non-profit. We are a volunteer-led organization run by a team of experts and enthusiasts who give their time freely to bring education and cultural understanding about psychedelic plant medicines to a wider audience. We promote a bridge between the ceremonial use of sacred plants and psychedelic science and envisage a world where plant medicines and other psychedelics are preserved, protected, and valued as part of our cultural identity and integrated into our social, legal and health care systems. Help us to achieve our mission! Please consider becoming a monthly donor so that your impact spans the entire year. Support of any frequency or amount helps the cause.
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Jasmine Virdi interviews Jahlani Niaah, Rastafari scholar and community member, about the little-known and often misunderstood Rastafari movement. Within the psychedelic renaissance, the sacramental use of ganja by Rastafari is often overlooked. In this interview, Niaah provides a historical overview of the origins of the Rastafari movement, explaining certain key elements of Rastafari praxis, and about the sacramental use of ganja among the Rastafari.
Alex Beiner critiques a paper called Psilocybin: From Serendipity to Credibility in the journal ‘Frontiers in Psychiatry’ which was written by two psychiatrists, James Rucker and Allan Young, about the use of psilocybin by legal retreats. He centers the philosophical question of “who has the right control access to psilocybin?“, provides counter arguments to the current power structures, and offers an opportunity to create a truly unique, multidisciplinary and ground-breaking model of healing.
This paper provides a history of the process in which mescaline was synthesized, and 100 years of research involving it. Among these researchers were Ernst Späth, Arthur Heffter, Humphrey Osmond, Aldous Huxley, and Alexander ‘Sasha’ Shulgin. Today, there has been movement for researchers to conduct clinical studies with mescaline through the FDA.
Jasmine Virdi interviews Nidia Olvera Hernández, a Mexican ethnohistorian, specializing in the history of psychoactive substances and drug poilices. In this article, Nida shares about some of her earlier research into the history of marijuana in Mexico, detailing cannabis’ arrival with Span-ish colonizers who intended to use the plant for industrial purposes, and how the conception of the plant shifted over time, eventually coming to be referred to as “marijuana” as opposed to “hemp.”
Amazonian communities in Colombia were hit hard and fast by the advent of Covid-19 to their territories. These communities were forced to adapt the ways in which they use plant medicines, particularly Yagé, and dive deep into their ancestral knowledge to uncover ways to protect themselves from the worst effects of the pandemic. What resulted was a show of resilience, pride, and unification on the part of Indigenous groups to confront this crisis.
Jasmine Virdi interviews Regina Célia de Oliveira, a Brazilian biologist and professor at Brasília University, specializing in the study of Banisteriopsis caapi and other plants that make up the ayahuasca brew. In this article, Regina shares about the different varieties of the B. caapi vine, the deeply sophisticated knowledge of traditional peoples about these vines, and the importance of protecting these plant species amidst ongoing ecological destruction in the Amazon Rainfor-est.
There is an alarming global decline in lncilus alvarius toad populations, the toads who secrete 5-MeO-DMT, because of multiple ecological reasons and the increased interest in toad ‘milking’ for psychedelic experiences. Anya Ermakova, Ph.D. educates the reader on the ecological impacts of these toad populations and provides alternative, synthetic options for psychonauts who would like to use 5-MeO-DMT.
Anya Ermakova, Ph.D compiled a list of the 20 best books about peyote and mescaline. These non-fiction books about Lophophora williamsii are written by scholars of history, anthropology, religion, biology, and ecology and conservation.
When someone is diagnosed with a severe, life-threatening illness, the affected individual may begin to ask several existential questions. The author, Lucas Maia, PhD, summarizes his findings from his doctoral thesis which studied the ritual use of ayahuasca and its therapeutic potential for those facing and fearing death.
The Indigenous Peyote Conservation Communication Committee wrote a letter to the psychedelic community regarding the inclusion of Peyote in decriminalization measures. This letter provides context, history, and details about Native Americans’ relationship with Peyote, the Native American Church, and NAC’s conservation efforts, and also includes suggestions of how psychedelic and decriminalization movements can be an ally to Native American communities.
Marcelo Leite, Ph.D., summarizes how the medicalization and legalization regulatory models for psilocybin-assisted therapy can “naturally coexist within an integrated framework.” There are advantages and limitations to each model, and as investors begin to invest their attention on the emerging psychedelic therapies and research, it is important for all psychedelic organizations to work in tandem with each other’s framework as it will best serve the movement and public access for psilocybin-assisted therapy.
Jasmine Virdi interviews Martha Hartney, an attorney fighting for the legal use of aya-huasca as a religious sacrament within the United States. In this article, Martha Hart-ney shares about the legal status of ayahuasca, how this intersects with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and how we can collectively work towards securing the right to drink ayahuasca in bona fide religious settings.
Not-for-profit organizations, like MAPS and Usona Institute, are just a few years away from completing FDA trials to medicalize psychedelic therapy. As psychedelic research gets closer to medicalization, for-profit companies, like COMPASS institute and ATAI Life Sciences, have filed patents about psilocybin, MDMA, and DMT. The author describes how for-profit’s patent claims and capitalism are impacting the psychedelic renaissance -- a movement with origins of psychedelic research in the 1960s, the summer of love, and healing for all.
This article introduces the Hablemos del Hikuri peyote conservation project that began in 2017 to research and put into action peyote conservation within Wixarika communities. Its co-founders, Lisbeth Bonilla and Pedro Nájera present the interdisciplinary and intercultural approach this project has toward finding a solution to peyote’s endangered status.
There is incredible potential for the psychedelic renaissance to rehabilitate and revitalize the concept of love in psychotherapy and in our culture more broadly. Studying the emergence of love in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies, from medicine-induced experiences of love, to the importance of the felt sense of love between therapist and client, is a means of bridging the divide between the discourse of therapy and the experience of this powerful healing energy.
On Earth Day, Thursday, April 22nd from 10:30am - 11am (PT), leaders of a new coalition, Plant Medicine Healing Alliance, will be hosting a press conference to speak upon their “dual mission of improving access to plant medicines while simultaneously promoting sustainable sourcing and respect for the human, plant, and animal ecologies where the medicine grows.” They will speak about the Indigenous history of sacred plant medicines, the medical perspective of the therapeutic potential of these substances to help people heal from PTSD, especially veterans, and they will ask the Portland City Council to decriminalize these plant and fungi medicines to allow for spiritual growth and access to the treatment that people need.