The International Symposium on Psilocybin: Therapeutic Potentials, Culture, and Decolonization, September 20-21, 2021 | A Two-Day Bilingual Virtual Conference Featuring Indigenous, Mexican, and Colombian Perspectives

Codex Magliabechi, f.90 r. | A character consuming mushrooms is accompanied by Mictlantecuhtli, god of death. Painted during the XVI century, and refers to the Aztecs.⁠ 

“This symposium opens unique avenues of research to replace the hegemonic paradigms that prevail in the psychedelic renaissance with an approach based on reciprocity, justice, and solidarity.”

A host of scientific research and clinical trials around the world are affirming the remarkable effectiveness of psilocybin, the principal psychoactive component of “magic mushrooms,” in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions, including depression, anxiety, addiction, and PTSD. These evidence-based health benefits are contributing to the destigmatization and celebration of psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelics in the popular culture of the Global North. However, despite this burgeoning interest, the challenges brought about by psilocybin’s growing globalization, commercialization, and medicalization is rarely addressed. Meanwhile, the realities of the Indigenous cultures that have long included sacred mushrooms in their ancestral healing practices remain almost entirely invisible.

In response to these challenges, the Chacruna Institute, along with the Mexican non-profit organizations Vía Synapsis, The Mexican Psilocybin Society, and MindSurf, have joined forces to hold The International Symposium on Psilocybin: Therapeutic Potentials, Culture, and Decolonization on September 20–21, 2021. This online event is the first of its kind to offer a platform for voices that are routinely left out of the so-called “Psychedelic Renaissance,” providing decolonial perspectives on the ritual, therapeutic, scientific, cultural, and philosophical aspects of psilocybin and sacred mushrooms.

This two-day, bilingual event includes prominent researchers, academics, Indigenous leaders, activists, and members of the psychedelic community, who will bring together different disciplines and local cultural knowledge to offer fresh perspectives on the most pressing issues in the global psychedelic movement, including debates few in the Global North are aware of.

Illustration by Trey Brasher.
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.

“This symposium opens unique avenues of research to replace the hegemonic paradigms that prevail in the psychedelic renaissance with an approach based on reciprocity, justice, and solidarity. Join us in this event that provides a space where we can open our thoughts to a diversity of mental landscapes.” –Osiris Sinuhé González Romero, Ph.D, Via Synapsis/ Chacruna Institute

“We need to go beyond the biomedical voices that dominate the public conversation about psychedelics. Only with philosophers, anthropologists, geographers, political scientists, historians, sociologists, activists, and community leaders will we make the psychedelic renaissance truly inclusive and equitable. We invite the leaders of the new psychedelic businesses and of decriminalization efforts in the US to come join this multicultural and bilingual conversation!” –Bia Labate, PhD, Chacruna’s Institute Executive Director

The International Symposium on Psilocybin: Therapeutic Potentials, Culture, and Decolonization aims to address these issues head-on by recentering Indigenous voices and those from psychedelic communities in Mexico and Colombia. It will highlight ideas that interrogate and challenge those taken for granted in the Global North around psilocybin and sacred mushrooms in the hope of forging a more equitable and sustainable way forward for the psychedelic renaissance and to ensure public policies incorporate harm reduction, cognitive freedom, and Indigenous rights.

International Psilocybin Symposium: Therapeutic Potentials, Culture and Decolonization will take place on September 20th-21st 2021, 8:30 to 17:30 PST. To register for free, click here.

This event is proudly presented by Chacruna Institute, Via Synapsis, Sociedad Mexicana de Psilocibina, and Mindsurf.

Illustration by Luana Lourenço.

About Chacruna Institute                                

The Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines, an organization co-founded by Brazilian anthropologist Dr. Bia Labate and American psychologist Dr. Clancy Cavnar, produces high-quality research on plant medicines and psychedelics and helps propagate academic knowledge in more accessible formats. We educate the public and create cultural understanding and legitimacy regarding these substances so that they may cease 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, bringing the knowledge and perspectives of the social sciences to health care professionals and practitioners of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Finally, we foster cultural and political reflections on the field of psychedelic science and facilitate conversations about controversial topics that have been simmering on the sidelines as psychedelics go mainstream.

Contact Information
Brystal Karber
Chacruna Institute

[email protected]

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