Psychedelic Science 2023

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Plant medicine and reciprocity


Plant medicine and reciprocity

This panel will look at the use of “reciprocity” in response to the colonial structures of increasingly globalized plant medicine spaces. We will address issues surrounding disparate participation in the so-called “psychedelic renaissance” between communities in the Global North (GN) and Global South (GS), focusing on Indigenous peoples’ status in a psychedelic ecosystem consisting of diverse stakeholders with different ontological frameworks. The panelists will analyze political, economic, ecological and cultural relationships to gain a better understanding of what reciprocity means in the current context, taking a biocultural approach in the pursuit of effective advocacy and education. Partnerships between investors in the GN and GS communities often function to re-create and reinforce exploitative dynamics; we will discuss the causes and implications of impoverished economic settings where cultural resources are commodified, considering the inherent limitations of capitalist market-based models for access and benefit-sharing agreements, whether non-profit, corporate or non-governmental organizations. As psychedelic science grapples with the relational world of diverse beings Indigenous plant medicine refers to, we engage in a modest and mindful exercise to re-think and explore the possibilities of decolonization in the psychedelic space. With this insight, we will begin moving away from cynicism and helplessness towards embodying reciprocity in all our work.

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