The Indigenous Medicine Conservation Fund: a new paradigm of benefit-sharing in the burgeoning psychedelic science ecosystem

Editor’s Note: Anny Ortiz returns with a third contribution to our Pharmaceutical Inequalities series with reflections on her recent trip to the Medical Psychedelic House of Davos to co-present alongside her colleagues from the Indigenous Medicine Conservation Fund and launch their ‘Grow Medicine’ project. The Pharmaceutical Inequalities series is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.


I recently returned from a 10-day trip to Switzerland and Canada. I was in Toronto, Canada at a conference called “From Research to Reality” co-presenting a poster titled “5-MeO-DMT: Synthesis and therapeutic potential for treating psychological disorders”. It was surprising to see that there were two separate presentations by personnel from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one of which was titled “Challenges in Conducting Clinical Research with Schedule I Psychedelics: From the 1960s to the Present”, presented by Dr. Katherine Bonson, and the other titled “World Regulatory and Policy Discussion: A Pathway Forward”, presented by Javier Muniz. If FDA staff presenting at a psychedelic science conference is not a sign of the times, I don’t know what is.

Immediately preceding the Toronto conference, I was in Davos, Switzerland, as part of the Indigenous Medicine Conservation Fund (IMCF), which was a sponsor of a landmark event titled “Medical Psychedelic House of Davos” (no connection to the World Economic Forum, usually hosted in Davos). I would like to share some highlights of what transpired there.

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Points Interview: “Sacred Places, Sacred Plants, and Sacred People: Carving Out an Indigenous Right amid the Drug Wars,” with Alexander Dawson

Editor’s Note: We’re continuing our series of interviews with the authors of the newest edition of the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, ADHS’s journal, published by the University of Chicago Press. Today we feature Alexander Dawson. Dawson holds a PhD in Latin American History from SUNY Stony Brook, and is an Associate Professor of History …

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The Ayahuasca Phenomenon in Historical Perspective

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from guest contributor Chris Elcock. Elcock is an STS postdoctoral fellow working at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in Paris, where he is investigating the use of ayahuasca in psychedelics science. His previous work has examined the cultural history of psychedelics and his doctoral dissertation focused on the social history of LSD in New York City.

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Chris Elcock

I recently attended the third World Ayahuasca Conference, which was held in Girona, Catalonia/Spain. Ayahuasca is a brew that combines the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and a DMT-containing plant, usually of the psychotria viridis genus. While it has been used for millennia in ritual settings in the Amazon basin, it has gradually drawn the attention of scores of experimenters across the world and the biomedical sciences are also investigating its psychoactive effects. The conference attracted people from broad horizons: indigenous peoples travelling from the Amazon basin; research teams looking into the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca; anthropologists studying the uses of this fascinating substance; theologians who drink it in syncretic brands of religion; and the many who’ve had their lives changed forever. 

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