2019 Portland Psychedelic Conference

Saturday, October 27th 2018


The inaugural Portland Psychedelic Conference 2018 featured both local and visiting psychedelic science scholars speaking on the therapeutic and medicinal uses of psychedelics.

The keynote speaker was psychedelic luminary Dennis McKenna, PhD, who talked about the international and interdisciplinary research findings in psycho-ethnopharmacology (interdisciplinary study of medicines and toxins used in indigenous societies). This conference offers continuing education credits for mental health professionals and is open to the general public as well

Dennis McKenna, PhD

What a Long, Strange Trip it’s Been: Reflections on the Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs, 1967-2017

Dennis McKenna, PhD, In 1967, the first interdisciplinary and international conference on the use of psychoactive plants in the context of indigenous and non-Western societies was held with follow up gatherings planned. However, Nixon’s war on drugs intervened until Dr. McKenna resurrected the conference in 2017 with an audience of about 400,000 when including livestream viewers. In this presentation Dr. McKenna reviewed the genesis of the project, some of the significant discoveries in ethnopharmacology in the last 50 years, and speculate on the future direction of psycho-ethnopharmacology.

Peter Addy, PhD

Post-Psychedelic Integrative Follow-Up Sessions

The therapeutic potential of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy does not lie solely in the acute effects of the psychoactive substance. Therapeutic processes can continue in the participant for hours, days, or weeks after the effects of the drug wear off. Early psychedelic research focused on the psychedelic or psycholytic effects of the drugs themselves, which may last 6–12 hours after ingestion. While it has been established that intrapsychic processing continues after that time, comparatively little has been written on the topic of helping a participant integrate their psychedelic experiences into their everyday lives. This presentation will provide an overview of current writing on post-psychedelic integration in the context of evidenced-based clinical trials.

Erica Zelfand, ND

Spirit Plus Science: Proposed Mechanisms of Psychedelic Medicine

Unlike conventional pharmaceuticals, psychedelic medicines offer both brain chemistry-altering science and mystical experiences. The nuances and proposed mechanisms of these synergistic properties of psychedelics will be explored, blending intangible, spiritual matters with hard, objective science. As with every presentation by Dr. Zelfand, this one promises to be packed with information, aha! moments, evidence-based science, and humor.

Nicole Dalton, JD

Psilocybin, Psychedelics, and the Law

Psilocybin and most psychedelics are listed as Schedule I substances under federal law and in many states. Although current research has identified some psychedelics as promising and potentially revolutionary therapeutic tools, health care professionals need to be aware of the laws regarding such substances and understand the risks and potential legal parameters around working with patients who incorporate psychedelics into their healing and spiritual growth. This presentation will provide an overview of: 1) drug classification, scheduling, federal and state laws; 2) how criminal offenses involving psilocybin and other psychedelics may be defined or understood; 3) if it’s not legal, is it defensible – the ethics and legal quagmire around defensible illegal acts; 4) medical practitioner licensing and ethical requirements; 5) legislation, rules and application of laws by courts and administrative authorities; and 6) emerging defenses, trends and how the protections afforded by freedom of speech and freedom of religion clauses in federal and state constitutions might apply to patients and practitioners.

Alissa Bazinet, PhD

MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy: Current State of Affairs and the Road Ahead

This presentation reviewed the state of research on MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy, with a focus on results from the Multidisciplinary Association on Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Phase 2 clinical trials of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD. In addition, basic principles of the MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy method (according to the MAPS protocol) were discussed, including specific elements of preparatory sessions, MDMA-assisted sessions, and integration sessions. Finally, considerations for therapists wishing to be trained in this method (as well as in complementary psychotherapeutic techniques) were highlighted.

Jane Latimer, MA

Trauma as Catalyst for Transformation: Entheogenic Journeys for Discovering and Celebrating the True Self

Developmental trauma can create defensive personality patterns that stop us from moving in the direction of our greatest fulfillment. Latest research reveals that psychedelics can play a vital role in healing. In this presentation Jane Latimer, MA will discuss trauma as a catalyst for transformation. Clinicians will learn 1) how individuals struggling with the symptoms of childhood trauma can utilize psychedelic psychotherapy effectively; 2) how therapists can appropriately prepare their clients for these experiences; 3) how stages of growth (and healing) impact a client’s experience of psychedelic medicine; and 4) contraindications for clients with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD).

Albert Garcia-Romeu, PhD

Psilocybin in the Treatment of Mood and Substance Use Disorders

Research on classic hallucinogens as an aid in the treatment of mood and substance use disorders has generated renewed interest over the past decade. Recent pilot studies have shown safety and feasibility of psilocybin, a naturally occurring serotonin 2A receptor agonist, as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of depression, end-of-life anxiety, alcohol, and tobacco use disorders. Moreover, data suggest a notable effect of psychedelics in occasioning profound and lasting changes in mood, behaviors, and attitudes consistent with enhanced health and well-being in diverse populations.