Let’s Get to Know Chacruna!

Our newest Therapeutic Alliance partner is the Chacruna Institute of Psychedelic Plant Medicines, who produce research on plant medicines and psychedelics.

At the Trauma Research Foundation, we champion all elements of healing and self-improvement. Recently, the field of psychedelic research has become very popular in the mainstream – many of the chemicals being used are either extracted directly or derived from naturally occurring substances in plants.  TRF is currently doing research at the Boston site of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).  

Chacruna also publish research designed to educate the general public, moving past impenetrable academic papers and creating genuine public understanding around these subjects with the overall aim of reducing stigma and making these crucial medicines available to the people that need them. Let’s expand our minds and get to know them!

Psychedelics in the Mainstream

There is a cognitive divide between traditional, plant-based medicine and drugs provided by pharmaceutical companies that need not exist. Many of us take medicines that occur in the natural world daily – aspirin is found in the willow tree for example. Chacruna bridge the gap between “traditional ceremonial use” and therapeutic, clinical settings, making knowledge and perspectives of social science available to health care professionals and psychedelic therapy practitioners.

Part of this divide stems from the illegality of most psychedelics in Western countries. The most recent laws were enacted around the 1960s, just as researchers were making real progress with research into psychedelic therapy.

The morality of outlawing psychedelics is questionable. They’ve been shown to be less harmful than alcohol which is still legal, and it’s been proposed that it was a political move to criminalize people who were against the political leaders of the time.

Despite this illegality in some countries, psychedelics continued to be used in many communities, both indigenous and non-indigenous. Chacruna have an initiative called The Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants, which advocates for the legalities of these sacred plant medicines, encourages responsible use through harm reduction, and campaigns for conservation of plant species.

Ayahuasca, a psychedelic preparation made from plants containing dimethyltryptamine (DMT), has been used for over a thousand years by indigenous people in South America. In recent years, global interest has skyrocketed. Chacruna has the Ayahuasca Community Committee, composed of researchers and activists dedicated to “supporting the ayahuasca community” as it goes global, encouraging good practice and providing advice and support.

Representing the Psychedelic Community

As psychedelics have become more commonly used, it’s inevitable that much of the recent research has focused on mainstream use. Chacruna are dedicated to publishing content covering issues that fall out of the conventional focus of research and making sure this important area of study isn’t whitewashed.

They highlight the voices of indigenous people, women, people of color, and LGBTQI, covering areas such as inclusion and diversity, gender and psychedelics, and music and psychedelics in the Chacruna Chronicles.

Chacruna also organizes conferences, panels, and community forums on ritual, religion, plant medicines, drug policy, gender, and the policy of psychedelic science. Some recent events include The Queering of Psychedelics, Sacred Plants in the Americas, and Psychedelic Liberty Summit.

The Future of Psychedelic Therapy

As psychedelics become more and more widely used in a therapeutic context it’s important to listen to the people with experience, rather than just the most recent scientific research. There are cultures and people who have been benefiting from psychedelic use for centuries – organizations like Chacruna provide a vital conduit for this valuable knowledge.

You can find them at https://chacruna.net/.

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