Prague gets ready for Beyond Psychedelics – the Global Multidisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Substances, Mental Health, Alternative States of Consciousness and Technologies. It is one of the largest events of this type in the world and on June 21-24, 2018, it will gather over 120 world leading psychedelic scientists and researchers to discuss potential, current challenges and future direction of research and use of psychedelics. So if you’re around Czech Republic, make sure you mark these dates on your calendar.
What’s on the agenda
The speakers will share the latest in psychedelic drug research. The topics will include challenges and obstacles in sustainable Iboga and Ibogaine drug therapy; Toad medicine and ritual use of Bufo Alvarius secretion for mental health; the therapeutic potential of Ayahuasca for people with bipolar disorder, for preventing of suicides, as well as its risks and benefits for trauma survivors; pharmacology, therapeutics and the future of Salvia Divinorum; LSD and Ketamine therapy; Psychedelic Microdosing; Biohacking; using cyberdelics, moistmedia and mixed reality technologies, and others.
Who are the speakers?
Among the speakers – the veteran luminaries of the global psychedelic movement which is a rare chance to see them all together and to be able to ask them questions.
Rick Doblin, the founder and director of the MAPS (one of the oldest and the most famous non-profit psychedelic research and educational organisation) will present the results of MAPS’ pilot studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people suffering PTSD.
William A. Richards, a psychologist from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (best known for his psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA and psilocybin) will share light on how entheogens can treat alcoholism, severe personality disorders, narcotic addiction and psychological distress associated with terminal cancer.
Amanda Feilding, the director of the Beckley Foundation (which plays one of the major roles in investigating substances as cannabis, psilocybin, LSD, Ayahuasca, DMT and MDMA, as well as reforming global drug policy), will talk on mechanisms underlying altered states of consciousness and reforming global drug policy. She is often dubbed the ‘hidden hand behind the renaissance of psychedelic science and drug policy reform’.
Another famous speaker, a consultant psychiatrist in adult addictions, MDMA-researcher Ben Sessa, is known for his unique study on MDMA in people with alcoholism and his TEDx talk “Is MDMA psychiatry’s antibiotic?” He will talk on Child Abuse, Trauma, MDMA Therapy and the Future of Medicine.
Attendants will also hear Matthew Johnson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who has received more than 8 million US dollars in research funding as principal investigator from the US National Institutes of Health and non-profit foundation. One of his recent investigations is studying of the effects of psilocybin on a meditation program, as well using psilocybin in the treatment of anxiety and depression among cancer patients (full list of speakers is available here).
Psychedelics help where conventional therapy fails.
“Psychedelics provide an extraordinary therapeutic potential, often also for those mental problems where conventional conventional therapy does not provide relief. They are unique in that they facilitate a change in the psychiatric paradigm: instead of symptom suppression they can help in resolving the cause of the problem in controlled and properly managed situations after 1-2 administrations”, – explains Rita Kocarova, Conference Coordinator, researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health.
According to Rita Kočárová, this year’s conference will focus more on maximising therapeutic benefits, understanding and mitigating risks of psychedelic substances, and incorporating cross-cultural perspectives to establish guidelines for their safe use. The program will synthesise knowledge and experience from a wide variety of scientists and practitioners, including Indigenous peoples. “Psychedelic Renaissance is bringing revolution in therapy, PTSD treatment, drug and alcohol abuse treatment. Psychedelics are also widely used in many non-clinical settings. We want to help people learn more about them, becoming more aware of the basis of healthy use and sensible integration. We also want to facilitate the exchange of both scientific knowledge and real practical experience at a global level and across a variety of disciplines, thus creating new synergies.”
One of the big parts of the conference is Technologies section with the gem of the conference to be a showcase of cyberdelic experiences, perceptual technologies, art installations and more brought by the partnership with The Cyberdelic Society (details). This showcase will present and review different projects, with the intention to open an intersubjective portal into the building of deeper insights into the importance of consciousness hacking, transformative experiences and transcendence technologies for the future of human flourishing through a healthy relationship between humans and technology.
Czech Psychedelic Renaissance
The reason the event happens in Prague is the bright phenomenon of Czech Psychedelic Renaissance. The country has a long history of psychedelic research which started back in 1970s (Stanislav Grof being one of the major pioneers). The political situation in Czech Republic also differs from the other countries due to partial decriminalisation of psychedelics and ongoing psychedelic researches including some at the National Institute of Mental Health supported by the government. The first Beyond Psychedelics forum took place in 2016 and brought together hundreds of people from across the globe who were learning about the latest advances and exploring new forms of consciousness.
The Beyond Psychedelics 2018 Conference is held at the Old Wastewater Treatment Plant, Papírenská 6, 160 00, Prague 6, 21-24.6.2018, Czech Republic.