It’s one thing to read articles and study reports, or the results of trials on the potential benefits of psychedelic plants on humans. It’s another to watch and listen to experts in the field speaking about their research, discoveries, and insights on the topic.
Here are six of our favourite talks on psychedelic plant medicine:
Cynthia Palmer is an author and co-director of the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library in San Francisco, the only library in the world devoted to literature on psychedelic drugs. In this 2008 talk at the World Psychedelic Forum in Basel, Switzerland, she illustrates the historic role of women in interacting with psychoactive plants through myths, art, literature, and the lives of feminists, activists, artists, authors, and other pioneers. Listen for why the Garden of Eden story may have been the original “war on drugs.”
Michael Pollan is a well-known author and journalist who has written about the relationship between nature and culture, including food, plant life, and psychedelics. At the Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) in May 2019, Artistic Director Alison Cuddy interviewed him about topics from his newest book, How to Change Your Mind. They discuss the decriminalization of psychedelics and its parallels with cannabis, why there is a resurgence, and how he views his role in the industry.
Pollan also answered questions about what influences his lifestyle, how he felt before and during a trip, and the dark age of research. He describes what psychotherapeutic centres and sessions might look like in a new medical regime vs. existing indigenous, religious, and underground models.
Author and speaker Dr. Gabor Maté – an expert on addiction and stress – talks about the roots of disease and trauma: a loss of connection to ourselves. He explains two significant personal dynamics that happen during trips, and how psychedelics could help with integration.
The talk has been viewed 187,000 times since the 2015 Spirit Plant Medicine Conference.
Roland Griffiths is a psychopharmacologist and the Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. In this talk for TEDMED, he speaks on the therapeutic applications of psilocybin mushrooms, using the Johns Hopkins Psilocybin Research Project as a primary example. Griffiths also reviews pilot studies on patients who are smokers, the potential for scientific research, and what we can learn from the spiritual “awakening” experiences psilocybin can provide.
The talk was viewed over 570,000 times since 2016.
Graham Hancock is an author and lecturer whose books have been translated into 27 languages. He is recognized as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity’s past. In this talk – which was banned from the TED website for Hancock’s controversial claims – he takes an evolutionary and personal perspective of Ayahuasca, talks about DMT and its potential medicinal benefits, and explores ideas around consciousness, spirituality, and death.
The talk has been viewed 1.5 million times since the original TEDxWhitechapel event in 2013.
Peter Sjȍstedt-H is a philosopher who specializes in panpsychism and altered states of being. At TEDxTruro, he talks about philosophies of idealism and intellectualism and their intersection with the psychedelic experience, early documentations of hallucinogenic experiences such as Phaedrus by Plato (who may have taken ergot fungi), and how psychedelics could evolve our – and our understanding of – consciousness.
The talk has had over 100,000 views since October 2019.
This talk – viewed 1.5 million times since TEDGlobal in 2014 – isn’t on psychedelics, but we love Dr. Mark Plotkin’s coverage of Amazonian plants and animals, and why working with indigenous people may have the keys to unlocking the secret to treating medical conditions that plague the Western world.
Are there any talks on psychedelic plant medicine that you’ve enjoyed? Please share them with us on social media.