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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In this article, Filipe Ribeiro covers the conservation challenges surrounding kambô. The kambô frog’s secretions are used in traditional practice among several Indigenous peoples in the southwest Amazon. With the growing global demand for kambô, some have suggested that the Indigenous approach to collecting the frog’s secretions is harmful to the frog. Ribeiro urges the West to not rush to hasty and superficial judgments regarding traditional practices.
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.
There is an emerging multi-billon dollar market for psychedelic therapies as the research becomes more mainstream. As for-profit companies begin to commodify psilocybin, researchers and activists demand these companies pay reparations for the stolen knowledge from the Mazatec people and engage in a reciprocal relationship with Indigenous peoples.
The Yanesha of Peru, along with other Amazonian groups, engage with cultural tourism in response to a global market that relentlessly reduces their choices. Greater Indigenous autonomy yields not only higher biodiversity, but also allows for community-led solutions to social, ecological, and economic problems. Supporting Indigenous autonomy involves stepping into a story of relationship, seeing the world as a society of beings instead of a collection of detached objects, and learning to listen when the forest speaks.