Psymposium 2014: The Nature of Psychedelics

Amherst, MA    April 12-13, 2014

Last year's conference at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Psymposium: The Nature of Psychedelics brought together 10 speakers and more than 700 attendees from 27 countries. The mind-expanding two-day conference discussed the impact of psychedelics on science, politics, and society. You can watch the trailer and download selected talks on Vimeo. Watch Dennis McKenna on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. 

Amherst, Massachusetts, April 12-13 - The Nature of Psychedelics speaker panel. From left, Lily Kay Ross, Alexandre Tannous, Dennis McKenna, Jag Davies, Tony Maci, Hamilton Morris, Jason Wallach, and Joshua Wickerham.

Amherst, Massachusetts, April 12-13 - The Nature of Psychedelics speaker panel. From left, Lily Kay Ross, Alexandre Tannous, Dennis McKenna, Jag Davies, Tony Maci, Hamilton Morris, Jason Wallach, and Joshua Wickerham.


Psymposium presenters Dennis McKenna & Joshua Wickerham on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

                                                                                         Dennis McKenna

The professional and personal interests of Dennis McKenna are centered on the interdisciplinary study of ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He received his Doctorate in 1984 from the University of British Columbia, where his doctoral research focused on ethnopharmacological investigations of the botany, chemistry, and pharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two orally-active tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute and serves on the advisory board of non-profit organizations in the fields of ethnobotany and botanical medicines. At the Heffter Research Institute, he continues his focus on the therapeutic uses of psychoactive medicines derived from nature and used in indigenous ethnomedical practices.


     Hamilton Morris


Hamilton Morris is a journalist and science editor of Hamilton's Pharmacopeia for Vice Magazine and a contributor to Harper's Magazine. Hamilton is known as "a mad scientist, a chemical genius, and alchemist on the hunt for the chemical elixir of consciousness." Hamilton hails from Brooklyn, New York.




         Jag Davies

As director of communications strategy for the Drug Policy Alliance, Jag works with communications, program, development and senior management staff to oversee production of all DPA publications and to facilitate best practices in the implementation of the organization’s messaging and brand identity.  Davies manages a team that includes DPA’s research coordinator and communications coordinator, as well as external consultant relationships with writers, designers, and multimedia content producers. Before joining the organization, he served as director of communications for MAPS  


  Alexandre Tannous


Alexandre Tannous has been active as a musician, educator, composer, ethnomusicologist, sound researcher and as a sound therapist. He holds a Bachelor of Music with a double major in Music Theory and Composition, and a Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Columbia University Teachers College. Alexandre is also active as an ethnomusicologist. He has conducted fieldwork for over 14 years in many countries around the world. 

For the past seven years he has been researching the esoteric and therapeutic properties of sound from a scientific, shamanic, historical, and practical perspectives. This has lead him to design a protocol he calls “Sound Meditation” in which he shares the findings from his research, raising an awareness to how a specifically designed sound can have the ability to help us to disconnect from habitual patterns, and guiding people in how to disconnect from the mind in this setting while listening to the specific traditional instruments he plays.

    Lawrence Millman


Mycologist-author Lawrence Millman, PhD has written 15 books including such titles as Last Places, A Kayak Full of Ghosts, An Evening Among Headhunters, Hiking to Siberia, Fascinating Fungi of New England, and -- most recently -- Giant Polypores & Stoned Reindeer. In search of fungi, he has traveled to (among other places) East Greenland, the jungles of Panama, northern Siberia, the Amazon, Western Samoa, and Grimsey, an island north of Iceland on which he was the first mycologist ever to set foot. Dr. Millman is a Fellow of the Explorers Club, a recipient of Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, and a former professor at various universities. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.



         Clint Canal


Clint Canal, PhD is a Research Assistant Professor at Northeastern University with extensive experience in molecular and behavioral neuropharmacology. His areas of focus include the function of serotonin systems, drug discovery targeting serotonin systems to treat psychiatric disorders, the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders and pharmacology. Clint received his B.S in Psychology from the University of Florida and Doctorate in Neuroscience in 2006 from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Clint is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Dr. Canal will be discussing the mechanisms of action of hallucinogenic drugs: from ketamine to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).


Joshua Wickerham

Joshua Wickerham headshot.jpg

Joshua Wickerham is chief advisor to the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC), a nonprofit devoted to transforming lives by assuring the sustainability and safe use of traditional medicinal plants. The ESC's flagship project is the Ayahuasca Dialogues to build consensus on sustainability and safe use of this traditional medicine. Joshua specializes in designing and implementing transparent and credible international governance systems that balance economic growth with social and environmental sustainability. For more than ten years, he has worked in China, Southeast Asia, Europe, and North and South America with government, corporate and nonprofit partners to advance sustainable development, offering research and advisory services such as stakeholder engagement, sustainability strategy design, organizational governance, and implementation of access and benefit sharing for. Recent clients include Botanical Dimensions, MAPS, UNEP, World Wildlife Foundation, UNCTAD, DotEco, and the ISEAL Alliance and its members (which include standards like Fairtrade, FSC, Rainforest Alliance and others). Joshua has a Bachelor's degree in History from the University of Michigan and Masters in International Relations and Pacific Studies from the University of California San Diego and speaks and reads Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, and Thai. In his spare time, Joshua tends an Urban Micro Garden at his home in Thailand and explores historical Chinese ethnopharmacology.


         Tony Macie

Veterans for Entheogenic Therapy (VET)

A national group formed by veterans for veterans recovering from PTSD who have been treated and cured by MDMA-assisted psychotherapy and other psychedelics. Based on the premise of self-help, we boldly beseech federal politicians to consider repealing national policy that would ban the medicinal use of these plants. By these specific intentions, we act by spreading awareness and personal testimony to other veterans who have shown resistance to conventional VA treatments and are seeking alternatives routes to recovery.Tony served with the United States Army Airborne Division.

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