This Weekend: Psychedelic Research and Policy Experts to Speak at UMass-Amherst

Press Release April 7, 2014
Media Contact

<p>Contact: Brett Green, 857-600-6159</p>

PSYMPOSIUM 2014 will bring together leading researchers and experts to speak on issues relating to the role of psychedelics in culture, medicine and science. The conference will be held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst on April 12 & 13 and is open to the public.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, psychedelic drugs such as LSD were considered promising treatments for a broad range of psychological and psychiatric conditions. Tens of thousands of people were introduced to them in clinical studies, as an adjunct to psychotherapy, or as part of a religious or spiritual practice. By the early 1970s, however, the government had halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy. The ban persisted for decades, but has gradually been lifted over the past decade. Today, there are dozens of studies taking place to evaluate the medical safety and efficacy of psychedelics, and the Supreme Court has ruled that psychedelics can be used as part of the practices of certain organized religions.

Keynote speaker Dennis McKenna, Ph.D., who has more than 40 years of experience studying and authoring works on hallucinogenic and medicinal plants of the Amazon, will present on “Plant & Human Symbiosis and the Origins of the Imagination”. Vice Magazine journalist Hamilton Morris will be discussing the history of pharmaceutical and designer drugs along with the legal, technological, and scientific developments that have driven their evolution. And Joshua Wickerham of the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council will discuss the sustainable harvesting and safe use of traditional medicinal plants, and collaborative projects within the communities that use them.

Other notable speakers include:

Saturday, April 12 – Opening Reception

6:30 p.m. – Doors open
7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Welcoming Address by Jag Davies of the Drug Policy Alliance and Introduction by Dr. Lyle Craker of UMass; screening of documentary film Neurons to Nirvana; concluding Q&A panel with Dennis McKenna, Jag Davies and other special guests.
Sunday, April 13 – Presentations
9:00 a.m. – Doors open
10:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Introduction by Lex Pelger. Clint Canal, Ph.D.: “Psychedelic Neuroscience”. Lily Kay Ross: “Sex, Drugs and Power”. Alexandre Tannous: “Psychedelic Sound and Healing”. Lawrence Millman: “Ritual Use of Amanita muscaria in Siberia”. Hamilton Morris: “From MXE to PCP: A History of Arylcyclohexylamines”. Sound Meditation by Alexandre Tannous. Joshua Wickerham: “The Sustainability and Safe Use of Traditional Plants”. Dennis Mckenna: “Plant and Human Symbiosis and the Origins of the Imagination”. Concluding panel discussion.
Mahar Auditorium, 119 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA 01003
$20 in advance and $30 at the door. Other ticket options include signed books, the PSYMPOSIUM 2014 DVD, and breakfast with speakers. See for details.
Live Streaming
PSYMPOSIUM 2014 will be professionally filmed with three HD cameras and available live on the for $10. All presentations will be recorded for future use. A portion of the proceeds will go to Veterans for Entheogenic Therapy (VET) and Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC). See for more information.
Social Media
Follow us on Twitter @psymposia for conference updates. Presenters, media, and attendees are encouraged to participate in the lead-up and live at the event using hashtag #Psymposium2014
Brett Greene, [email protected]
Brian Normand, [email protected]
Nathaniel Putnam, [email protected]
A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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