10 Mind-Altering Sessions at Oakland’s Psychedelic Science Conference

No, you’re not hallucinating-it’s true. The Psychedelic Science Conference is returning to the East Bay this month with more than three days of events and programming that explores the latest in psychedelic drug research.

The conference, happening April 21st-23rd at the Oakland Marriott City Center, will bring together international leaders in the sciences, medicine, education, public policy and arts who are studying the practical application of psychedelics for treating physical and mental disorders.

The upcoming conference offers a little something for everyone and surveys topics in neuroscience, psychotherapy, spirituality and creativity—all frontiers that are still undeveloped and underexplored.

Chances are, you probably know of someone out there who accidentally got “too stoned” and ate an entire blueberry pie or decided to take off all of their clothes at an inopportune time in a public place.

Whether or not that someone was actually you, there’s probably a lot you can stand to learn from the experiences of others. For years, proponents of psychoactive substances have wondered exactly how and why these drugs make us feel, think and act in certain ways.

Industry leaders have often sought support for widespread use of drugs like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, citing both the spiritual significance and ritual use of these drugs throughout history and indigenous cultures, but have generally lacked the legal and scientific backing to prove benefits outweigh the risks.

This past November, California voted to legalize marijuana. Although this pivotal decision introduces a handful of new challenges for healthcare providers and hemp-related businesses, it’s another measure that helps bring legitimacy and funding for psychedelic drug research and its many unanswered questions.

marijuana-2038457_960_720Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Just several months earlier, the Food and Drug Administration also made a bold move to approve clinical trials that treat patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with MDMA, or the street drug commonly known as “Ecstasy”, which has controversial feel-good effects on the body and brain.

Coincidentally, the organization sponsoring this research is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a Santa Cruz-based research outlet working toward the understanding and education of psychedelics, is also the host of this year’s Psychedelic Science Conference.

We’ve hand-picked several mind-altering events from this year’s conference, regardless of how much knowledge (or first-hand experience) you might have, you’re likely to learn a thing or two here.  

We should note: there’s a flat fee of $450 ($250 with a military/student ID) for the full Three-Day Conference Pass. However, there are plenty of free events going on that will feature world-renowned visionary artists and unveil revolutionary scientific data findings.

All free events take place at The Marketplace on the Psymposia Stage, located in the West Hall, with a complete schedule of events listed here.

Friday, April 21

In The Beginning – Psychedelic Art 1965 & Onward
Isaac Abrams
12:30 PM – 1:00 PM • Friday, April 21
Psymposia Stage (Free)

Ecstasis for the Masses: Cognitive Liberty in an Age of Unreason
Jamie Wheal
1:30 PM – 1:30 PM • Friday, April 21
Psymposia Stage

Spirituality & Psychoactive Substances: A Perspective from the 21st Century
Reverend Martin Diaz
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM • Friday, April 21
Psymposia Stage

Microdose VR Experience
Duncan Trussell, Android Jones, and Dr. Bruce Damer
8:30 PM – 9:00 PM • Friday, April 21
Psymposia Stage

ram-jpg-768x455Digitally inspired art by multi-media artist and speaker Android Jones

Saturday, April 22

Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy
Don Lattin
1:00 PM – 1:30 PM • Saturday, April 22
Psymposia Stage

Esalen’s Legacy and the History of Psychedelics
Jim Fadiman, John Harrison
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM • Saturday, April 22
Psymposia Stage

Interview: Stephen Gray, author of Cannabis & Spirituality: An Explorer’s Guide to an Ancient Plant Spirit Ally
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM • Saturday, April 22
Psymposia Stage

Sunday, April 23

Drugstory: Changing the Way We Consume Drug Information
Mikayla Hellwich & Lauren Padgett
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM • Sunday, April 23
Psymposia Stage

The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity
Jerry Brown
11:00 AM – 11:30 AM • Sunday, April 23
Psymposia Stage

Conversation: Rethinking the Drug War
Rhana Hashemi, Oliver Zerrudo
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM • Sunday, April 23
Psymposia Stage

static1-squarespace-comPhoto courtesy of Psymposia

Psymposia is an events group and digital magazine that studies emerging social issues in psychedelic science and their effect on drug reform, harm reduction, law and medicine. By engaging in collaborative projects and organizing networking events across the United States and Europe, it seeks to change perceptions of plants, psychedelics, and psychoactive substances.

In its third year, The Psychedelic Science Conference made its debut in 2010 in San Jose and enjoyed repeated success in 2013 in Oakland.

Register for a Three-Day Conference Pass for the 2017 Psychedelic Science Conference here and find a schedule of both pre and post-conference workshops here. Find more information about supporting organization MAPS and their groundbreaking work in psychedelic research here.