International Psilocybin Symposium: Therapeutic potentials, culture and decolonization

September 20th-21st 2021
8:30 to 17:30 PST
9:30 to 18:30 CDT (CDMX)
10:30 to 19:30 EST


The objective of this symposium is to promote a dialogue and reflection on the ritual, therapeutic, scientific, cultural, and philosophical aspects of sacred mushrooms and psilocybin. We are currently facing a global boom of psilocybin and mushrooms in scientific research and, along with it, enormous challenges around globalization, commercialization, and medicalization. Chacruna, accompanied by other Mexican grass roots and non-profit organizations—Via Synapsis, Sociedad Mexicana de Psilocibina, and Mindsurf—have joined forces to bring together researchers, Indigenous scholars, activists, community members, spiritual leaders, and artists from around the globe to discuss these issues from a decolonial standpoint. While efforts to decriminalize mushrooms and psilocybin have picked up in places such as Denver, Oakland, and Oregon, and companies such as Compass and Usona advance commercialization of psilocybin on a large scale, along with new startups joining the dispute in Canada, we ask: Where are the voices of the Global South and Indigenous leaders? How can we create public policies that combine harm reduction, cognitive liberty, and Indigenous rights? At the same time, more discussion is needed in Mexico itself; while mainstream society still largely ignores the deep Indigenous and psychedelic roots of its nation, the Mexican psychedelic community seems to be only starting to grasp the potential impacts of the psychedelic renaissance on its own territory and people. In Mexico, spiritual uses of sacred plants for Indigenous peoples have been legally recognized since 1971; currently, there are some initiatives in the parliament to decriminalize their use for non-Indigenous peoples at the federal level that have hardly been publicly addressed. The topics of this timely symposium include: the history of uses of mushrooms; traditional Indigenous knowledge, healing, and spirituality; therapeutic potentials; conservation; decolonization; biopiracy; intellectual property; and psychedelic capitalism.

Presented by:

Chacruna Institute, Via Synapsis, Sociedad Mexicana de Psilocibina, Mindsurf

Conference Presenters


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Monday, September 20th

8:30 – 09:00 PST / 10:30 – 11:00 CDT (CDMX) / 11:30 – 12:00 EST

Opening Remarks – Osiris González, Bia Labate, Gerson Escamilla, Eros Quintero

Mazatec Visionary Art. René Alvarado (Video) 10:50 hrs

09:00-11:30 PST / 11:00-13:30 CDT (CDMX) / 12:00-14:30 EST

Panel 1. Decolonization and Biopiracy. SPANISH

Moderator: Bia Labate. Chacruna Institute

Osiris García Cerqueda, BUAP-Dialogue of Knowledge Project CONACYT
Tell me again about María Sabina. Historical considerations on the capitalization of culture in the Sierra Mazateca. 

Citlali Rodriguez Venegas, UNAM-Postgraduate in Mesoamerican Studies
Chikon researchers, power and danger in academic output on the Mazatecs.

Idali Hernández Vicencio, Independent Researcher
Reform to the General Health Law and the Federal Criminal Code for the use of psilocybin-assisted treatment of treatment-resistant depression and anxiety.

Ernesto Schwartz Marín, University of Exeter, UK.
The frog and the mushroom: a recipe book for problematizing notions of cultural appropriation and biopiracy in Latin America.

13:00-15:30 PST / 15:00-17:30 CDT (CDMX) / 16:00-18:30 EST

Panel 2. Therapeutic potentials, history and anthropology. SPANISH

Moderator: Diana Negrin. Chacruna Institute

Antonella Fagetti & Jesús González,  BUAP-Dialogue of Knowledge Project CONACYT
Frontier science, the dialogue of knowledge, and interculturality around sacred mushrooms and psilocybin.

Anja Loizaga-Velder, UNAM-Nierika A.C. Dialogue of Knowledge Project CONACYT
The therapeutic potential of sacred mushrooms from a transdisciplinary perspective.

Fernando Huesca Ramón, BUAP-Via Synapsis
The history and present possibilities of psilocybin.

Eros Quintero, The Mexican Psilocybin Society-Via Synapsis
Chronology of psilocybin research.

15:30-17:30 PST / 17:30-19:30 CDT (CDMX) / 18:30- 20:30 EST

Panel 3. Philosophical and cultural perspectives. SPANISH

Moderator: Ibrahim Gabriel. Chacruna Institute

Osiris González, University of Saskatchewan-Via Synapsis-Chacruna Institute-CIHC
Bioethics and philosophical uses of psilocybin.

Héctor García Rojas, UNAM- Via Synapsis
The sacred molecule towards a critical philosophy of drugs.

Gerson Escamilla, Via Synapsis
Conservation of Psilocybin Mushrooms.

Tuesday, September 21st

08:00-10:30 PST / 10:00-12:30 CDT (CDMX) / 11:00-13:30 EST

Panel 4. Mushrooms and Psilocybin in Colombia. SPANISH

Moderator: Nicholas Spiers. Chacruna Institute

Jaime Andrés Vinasco  Fundación Consciencia VIBA, Colombia.
Research initiatives and advances with psilocybin mushrooms in Colombia.

Laura Pérez Duque. Fundación Consciencia VIBA, Colombia
Support experiences with psilocybin mushrooms.

Cristina Ochoa. Master in Drugs and Culture. The University of Caldas, Colombia
PHARMAKON, Garden of psychotropical hope.

Hugo Fernando Tangarife Puerta. Master in Drugs and Culture. The University of Caldas, Colombia
The relationship between psilocybin mushrooms and artistic expression.

10:30-12:30 PST / 12:30-14:30 CDT (CDMX) / 13:30-15:30 EST

Panel 5. Traditional Knowledge, Healing and Spirituality. SPANISH

Moderator: Mario Luna. Chacruna Institute

Sara Barbosa, Fundación Mujeres Bachué, Colombia
Expanded perspectives on the Mhuysca midwifery craft (indigenous community of the Altiplano Cundiboyacence) in psychedelic transit support, especially with psilocybin mushrooms.

Eloy Martínez, Consejo de Planificación Lingüística de la Nación Mazateca (Council for the Linguistic Planning of the Mazatec Nation)
Cultural reflections on the importance of the sacred use of the little ones who sprout, an enculturational perspective.

Mario Alonso Martínez Cordero, UNAM-Via Sinapsis
The symbolisms of the altar as a map of spiritual geography in Mazatec culture.

Heriberto Prado Pereda, Iglesia Autóctona Mazateca
Recovering the way of the ancestors in the Mazatec

14:00-16:30 PST / 16:00-18:30 CDT (CDMX) / 17:00-19:30 EST

Panel 6. Intellectual property and psychedelic capitalism (Mexico City) BILINGUAL SPANISH/ENGLISH

Moderator Bia Labate. Chacruna Institute

Osiris González-University of Saskatchewan & Bia Labate-Chacruna Institute
Patenting the Sacred: The paradoxes of the new psychedelic industry

Graham Pechenik – Calyx Law / Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants (Translated by Diana Negrín)
Patents, Ownership, and Commercialization: Seeking Exclusivity Over the Psychedelic Experience

Mason Marks, UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, Harvard Law School Petrie-Flom Center, Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board (Translated by Claudia Cuentas)
Law, Ethics, and the Oregon Model of Psilocybin Services.

Saraí Piña, CIESAS-Mexico City (Translated by Adam Aronovich)
Following the magic mushroom: tensions, negotiations and power relations in the face of the medicalization and commodification of the ‘little one who sprout’. A perspective between the local and the global.

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