Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs

In May 2022 the McKenna Academy presented ESPD55. This historic four-day online symposium was hosted by Dennis McKenna and included esteemed speakers like Paul Stamets, Monica Gagliano and Wade Davis. 33 of the most exciting minds in psychoactives research, presented 37 sessions exploring the world of ethnopharmacologic knowledge through various life-centric perspectives.

A symposium with a selection of the most well-respected and emerging researchers

Esteemed researchers interested in the confluence of psychoactive catalysts and global change were presented at ESPD55. Under the thoughtful curatorship of Dennis McKenna and the ESPD55 coordination team, a selection of the most well-respected researchers, together with emerging investigators, shared their most recent findings. Register and watch their recordings.

In 1967, a landmark symposium entitled Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs was held in San Francisco, California. It was the first international, interdisciplinary group of specialists – from ethnobotanists to neuroscientists – who gathered in one place to share their findings on the use of psychoactive plants in indigenous societies. Follow-up meetings were intended to be held every ten years, but the War on Drugs intervened. The findings of the convention were printed in a book entitled with the same name as the gathering. This book was an inspiration to Dennis to become an ethnopharmacologist. Under his leadership two anniversary conferences were held and it is the McKenna Academy’s vision to host an ESPD conference every five years to stay abreast of the latest research in the field of ethnopharmacology.

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ESPD Publications

“The discovery of ESPD’s publication changed my life. For me, at least, that book was influential because it provided a cultural context for psychedelics based on traditions older and richer than anything I had encountered in mass media sources.”

Read about Dennis’ personal journey with the first ESPD symposium volume here

ESPD50 Collector’s Box Set

In collaboration with Synergetic Press, the McKenna Academy reprinted the 1967 symposium volume and published the 2017 ESPD conference findings together in a high quality collector’s edition box set that won the esteemed James A. Duke Botanical Literature Award. This popular publication has been reprinted seven times already.

ESPD55 Symposium Volume

The McKenna Academy is again working closely with Synergetic Press to publish the findings of the third edition of ESPD as a stand-alone volume, “ESPD55” in 2023.