Exploring Psychedelics

Our mission at the Exploring Psychedelics Conference is to present diverse and accurate information about psychedelics concerning their roles in art, music, culture, spirituality, religion, science, medicine, and health and healing. Our aim is to bring together local experts and practitioners in the field, community members, and selected speakers to investigate the many ways that psychedelics are valued and utilized historically and in the modern world. In many ways, this is "the people's conference," in that it is open for free (no cost to attend), and speakers range from experts and PhDs and MDs to practitioners, enthusiasts, visionaries, and many first-time presenters, including students at SOU. The result is that this event has a very "family" feel to it, with each year being a mix of previous presenters and new initiates to the stage. It all takes place in one room, so no one misses anything.

Due to the "War on Drugs," hysteria, misinformation, and propaganda, psychedelics have been widely demonized and misunderstood by the general public, with the result that the majority of psychedelic substances have been made illegal around the world. Now that the War on Drugs has largely been determined to be a complete policy failure, resulting in massive numbers of otherwise law-abiding and productive citizens being incarcerated (often in racially-biased ways), cultural and political attitudes around psychedelics are starting to shift. Psychedelic research has begun a new renaissance around the world, with new studies showing up on a regular basis demonstrating the vast therapeutic potential of psychedelics. Court cases, such as the landmark Santo Daime case in Ashland, Oregon, in 2009 has made the religious consumption of ayahuasca legal in the state of Oregon. Historians, Religion scholars, and Anthropologists are concluding that the evidence indicates that psychedelics and mind-altering substances have been a part of human cultures, religions, and traditions since the dawn of human history. The time to re-evaluate these powerful substances has arrived.

At the Exploring Psychedelics Conference, we aim to bring all these, and many other, issues to light, where they can be discussed in an atmosphere of academic honesty, intellectual freedom, and scientific rigor.

This is a free and open event, welcoming students, academics, spiritual and religious practitioners, community members, scientists, policy makers, public figures, artists, musicians, writers, and event organizers.

Disclaimer: The views presented by speakers at the Exploring Psychedelics Conference are there own and are not reflective of official Southern Oregon University policies or views, nor those of the conference organizers and hosts.

The Exploring Psychedelics Conference is organized by Martin W. Ball, Ph.D., adjunct professor of religion at Southern Oregon University.