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Between Science and Eco-Awareness: Bringing the Lab to Ayahuasca

November 10, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm CET

Between Science and Eco-Awareness: Bringing the Lab to Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca left the amazon half a century ago and as it spreads we hear stories of love and redemption in syncretic religions, drug tourism, psychedelic science, shamanism and eco-awareness. The social narratives seem as diverse as the effects’ in an individual can be. Some feel connected to life and the universe, others may struggle with strangely challenging experiences about death and dying. Meanwhile, biomedical researchers around the world investigate the brew’s therapeutic potentials: cerebral organoids, animals models, EEG and clinical trials. With biomedicine’s results’ being increasingly used to propose ayahuasca as a new psychiatric drug, it is time to critically examine the epistemic authority conferred to biomedicine regarding the therapeutic potentials of this amerindian medicine and the consequences of this movement. Just one of the many indications now under biomedical scrutiny, depression, affects 300 million people worldwide, has high overall prevalence internationally (around 6 %), and is estimated by the WHO to become the first cause of the burden of disease by 2030. It has high direct and indirect medical costs, with an economic burden estimated in 200 billion dollars in the USA alone. This inserts this ancient, indigenous medicinal practice into a billionaire pharmaceutical market. Can ayahuasca be sustainably developed using the mainstream biomedical approach and pharmaceutical markets, while the ecological and socio-economic situation in the Amazon quickly aggravates? Or has this process already violated indigenous rights, with other potentially negative consequences for the forest and its people? In this talk I will explore why a new, epistemically just research and development program about ayahuasca, respectful of indigenous rights, is essential to turn it into a genuine amerindian biotechnology. I will show some of the first steps already taken in this effort and propose that inserting ayahuasca into Amazonia 4.0 and sharing the benefits with the people who use it for millenia can allow preservation and sustainable development to coexist for its people, from which we all depend to maintain a stable climate in order to thrive in the anthropocene.


About Eduardo Schenberg, PhD

Dr. Eduardo Schenberg is a Brazilian neuroscientist studying ayahuasca and psychedelics for almost twenty years, from the inside looking out and from the outside looking in. He has a Bachelor in Biomedicine (2002), a Master in Psychopharmacology (2005), a PhD in Neuroscience (2010) and is a Holotropic Breathwork facilitator. Author of ayahuasca, ibogaine and MDMA studies and co-author of LSD neuroimaging, Eduardo now pioneers psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in Brazil and leads an international cooperation together with Tomas Palenicek and his team at Nudz.cz to study Nixi Pae (aka ayahuasca) with the Huni Kui people in the heart of the enchanted Amazon forest.


Event in the MIND Academy’s Forum Bewusstseinskultur

The Forum Bewusstseinskultur includes events that address a general public. Usually there is no or low requirement for technical terminology. The Forum Bewusstseinskultur strives for connecting science and culture. We seek to establish an evidence-based culture of consciousness. The Forum Bewusstseinskultur integrates first and third person perspectives on consciousness and particularly the psychedelic experience. Click HERE for more information about the MIND Academy and its four different tracks.

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November 10, 2019
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm CET
Event Category:


MIND Academy
030 290 476 58


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Berlin, Berlin 10245 Germany
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