NEURONS TO NIRVANA: UNDERSTANDING PSYCHEDELIC MEDICINES is a documentary about the resurgence of psychedelics as medicine. Film is available at



Neurons to Nirvana

A Mind-Blowing Documentary about the resurgence of psychedelics as medicines

Through interviews with the world’s foremost researchers, writers, psychologists and pioneers in psychedelic psychotherapy, Neurons to Nirvana explores the history of five powerful psychedelic substances (LSD, Psilocybin, MDMA, Ayahuasca and Cannabis) and their now established medicinal potential. 

Strictly focusing on the science and medicinal properties of these drugs. The filmmakers understand that this film touches on controversial territory but are committed in their belief in the message. Giancarlo Canavesio (Founder/President) of Mangusta Productions states:“This is an extremely important film. We understand that it challenges the standard perception of the war on drugs but our aim is simple, to help alleviate human suffering." 

For the first time in two generations, the use of these drugs is not being presented as harmful or as self-indulgent, but as a rational and valuable addition to therapeutic practice.



Several well-respected researchers are conducting clinical trials to treat a range of afflictions: PTSD, addictions and the psychological stresses suffered by late-stage terminal cancer patients. The initial results of all these studies are remarkable.

The story extends beyond these trials however. Clients of licensed therapists are using psychedelics not as escape routes or addictive crutches, but in a quest for transformation, mental health, creativity, intellectual and spiritual enhancement and insight.




Meet our all-star cast of psychedelic luminaries


Dr. Gabor Mate

Dr. Gábor Máté

Gabor Maté is a Hungarian-born Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction and is also widely recognized for his unique perspective on Attention Deficit Disorder and his firmly held belief in the connection between mind and body health.
For twelve years Dr. Maté worked in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with patients challenged by hard-core drug addiction, mental illness and HIV, including at Vancouver’s Supervised Injection Site.  He continued to work with some of them in experiemental program with ayahuasca that was documented in the film The Jungle Prescription.
Maté is a sought-after speaker and seminar leader, and a regular columnist for the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail.
Dr. Maté's website


Dr. Maté in the documentary film: The Jungle Prescription, about the use of ayahuasca in addcition treatment 

The jungle Prescription - Film Trailer from The Ayahuasca Project on Vimeo.

Dennis McKenna, PhD.
Dennis McKenna, PhD.

Dennis McKenna, PhD

Author/ethnopharmacologist Dennis McKenna, is the founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that studies the therapeutic uses of psychedelics.
Additionally, he currently holds an appointment as an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Center for Spirituality and Healing in the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. McKenna received his Master's Degree in Botany from the University of Hawaii in 1979, and his Ph.D. in Botanical Sciences from the University of British Columbia in 1984. His doctoral research focused on phytochemical and pharmacological investigation of Amazonian ethnomedical plants. He received post-doctoral research fellowships in the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and in the Department of Neurology, Stanford University School of Medicine.
Dr. McKenna serves on the Advisory Board of the American Botanical Council, and on the Editorial Board of Phytomedicine, International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute ( a non-profit research and educational institution focused on investigations of the therapeutic applications of psychedelic medicines. He has conducted extensive ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brasilian Amazon. He was PI on a project funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute, to investigate Amazonian ethnomedicines for potential applications in the treatment of cognitive deficits.
McKenna is author or co-author on over 40 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. His publications have appeared in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, European Journal of Pharmacology, Brain Research, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurochemistry, Economic Botany, Alternative and Complementary Therapies, and elsewhere. Dr. McKenna and two colleagues are co-authors of a widely recognized reference work on herbal medicines, Botanical Medicines: the Desk Reference for Major Herbal Supplements (Haworth Herbal Press, 2002)
Rick Doblin

Rick Doblin Ph.D.

Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).
He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master's thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients.
His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences.
He also conducted a thirty-four year follow-up study to Timothy Leary’s Concord Prison Experiment.
Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner.
His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist.
He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife and three children.

Source: MAPS  

Rick's twitter


Charles Grob

Charles S. Grob, M.D.

Charles Grob, M.D. is professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine and Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
He is also a founding board member and Director of Clinical Research for The Heffter Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to the scientific study of psychedelics.
He conducted the first government-approved study of MDMA
He led an international team of experts looking into the long-term effects of ayahuasca use by Brazilian members of the União do Vegetal church, finding beneficial effects on those with substance addiction problems. The team also found that platelet serotonin uptake sites increased in those who drank ayahuasca, which may have implications related to potential antidepressant effects of this visionary brew.
He is currently conducting an investigation of the effects of psilocybin on anxiety in cancer patients.
Dr. Grob has published numerous articles in medical and psychiatric journals and collected volumes, and is the editor of Hallucinogens: A Reader.
Jeremy Narby
Jeremy Narby

Jeremy Narby

An anthropologist and writer. Narby grew up in Canada and Switzerland, studied history at the University of Canterbury, and received a doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University.
He spent several years living with the Ashaninca in the Peruvian Amazon cataloging indigenous uses of rainforest resources to help combat ecological destruction. An experience with ayahuasca during his research inspired his first book. The cosmic serpent: DNA and the origins of knowledge.
He lectures worldwide and has sponsored an expedition to the rainforest for biologists and other scientists to examine indigenous knowledge systems and the utility of Ayahuasca in gaining knowledge.
Since 1989, Narby has been working as the Amazonian projects director for the Swiss NGO, Nouvelle Planète.
Source Wikipedia
Jeremy Narby "Why are these substances illegal?" from the documentary DMT: The Spirit Molecule

Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D.
Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D.

Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D.

Stanislav Grof’s professional career has covered a period of over 50 years in which his primary interest has been research of the heuristic and therapeutic potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness.
This included initially four years (1956-1960) of laboratory research of psychedelics -- LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and tryptamine derivatives -- and 14 years of research of psychedelic psychotherapy. He spent seven of these years (1960-1967) as Principal Investigator of the psychedelic research program at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
This was followed by seven years of research of psychedelic psychotherapy in the United States. The first two of these years, he worked as Clinical and Research Fellow at The Johns Hopkins University and in the Research Unit of the Spring Grove State Hospital in Baltimore, MD.
The following five years, he held the position of Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. In this capacity he headed for several years the last surviving official research project of psychedelic therapy in the USA. From 1973 until 1987, he was Scholar-in-Residence at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where he developed jointly with his wife Christina a powerful non-drug form of self-exploration and psychotherapy that they call Holotropic Breathwork. They have used this method in workshops and in professional training in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
They have also worked with many individuals undergoing spontaneous episodes of non-ordinary states of consciousness, psychospiritual crises or “spiritual emergencies.” During these years of psychotherapeutic research, Stan Grof has made the following contributions.
-Developed theory and practice of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and described it in his book LSD Psychotherapy, which has been until this day the only comprehensive treatise on this subject.
-Published over 150 articles and 20 books discussing the theoretical and practical implications of modern consciousness research for psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy.
-Created a new extended cartography of the psyche that includes, besides the biographical-recollective level and the Freudian individual unconscious, two additional levels -- perinatal (related to the trauma of birth) and transpersonal (including the ancestral, racial, collective, phylogenetic, karmic, and archetypal matrices).
-Developed, with his wife Christina, Holotropic Breathwork (a method of psychotherapy that uses non-ordinary states induced by faster breathing, evocative music, and focused body work), and The Grof Transpersonal Training, an extensive training program for Holotropic Breathwork facilitators that has certified over 1000 practitioners in various parts of the world.
-Formulated jointly with Abraham Maslow, Anthony Sutich, Sonya Margulies and Jim Fadiman the basic principles of transpersonal psychology, a discipline that explores the full spectrum of human experience and attempts to integrate spirituality and new paradigm science. He received from the Association of Transpersonal Psychology (ATP) on the occasion of its conference in Asilomar, CA, celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of its existence, a special award for his contributions to the development of this field. Transpersonal psychology has been rapidly growing since its inception in the late 1960s. At present, it is being taught at several American universities and accredited schools, has two special journals, and symposia at professional conferences. Associations of transpersonal psychology also exist in many countries of the world.
-Attempted to provide a solid theoretical basis for transpersonal psychology by exploring in his writings its relationship with various revolutionary advances of new paradigm sciences.
-Founded and served as president of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA). Organized jointly with his wife Christina nine large international conferences of this association in Boston, MA; Melbourne, Australia; Bombay, India; Santa Rosa, CA; Eugene, OR; Atlanta, GA; Prague, Czechoslovakia; and Manaus, Brazil. (Click here to read "The Past and Future of the International Transpersonal Association," published in The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies [Vol. 28, 2008].)
-Together with his wife, Christina, was invited by Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer as special consultants for the science fiction movie Brainstorm and later for the movie Millenium. At present, Stan Grof is interested in returning to this work in a project that would use the best of special effects available today to portray various non-ordinary states of consciousness in the context of movies with transpersonal orientation.
Professor David Nutt
Professor David Nutt

Professor David Nutt

Professor David Nutt is currently the Edmond J. Safra professor of neuropsychopharmacology and director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Centre for Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Imperial College London. He was chair of the advisory committee on the misuse of drugs until sacked by Alan Johnson, after his claims that research proved that ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol
You can read Prof David Nutt's Guardian articles here 
Dr. Julie Holland M.D.

Dr. Julie Holland M.D.

Dr. Julie Holland is a board-certified psychiatrist in New York City. As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Holland majored in the "Biological Basis of Behavior," a series of courses combining the study of psychology and neural sciences, with a concentration in psychopharmacology, or drugs and the brain.
In 1992, Dr. Holland received her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine, where she performed research on auditory hallucinations, extensively interviewing nearly one hundred psychotic patients. In 1996, she completed a psychiatric residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where she was the creator of a research project treating schizophrenics with a new medication, obtaining an IND from the Food and Drug Administration. In 1994, she received the Outstanding Resident Award from the National Institute of Mental Health.

From 1996 to 2005, Dr. Holland ran the psychiatric emergency room of Bellevue Hospital on Saturday and Sunday nights. A liaison to the hospital's medical emergency room and toxicology department, she is considered an expert on street drugs and intoxication states, and lectures widely on this topic. She published a paper in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, describing a resurgence of the drug phenomenon smoking marijuana soaked in embalming fluid, which may be a carrier for PCP.  

During her college years, Dr. Holland grew interested in a new drug being used as a psychotherapeutic catalyst, and authored an extensive research paper on MDMA (ecstasy), resulting in multiple television appearances, forensic consultations, and a book, Ecstasy: The Complete Guide.

She has been quoted as an authority on MDMA in magazine, newspaper and website articles (Harper's, Slate, SF Chronicle, LA Times, Wall Street Journal).

Dr. Holland runs a private psychiatry practice in Manhattan, established in 1996.

Dr. Julie Holland — Editor: "Ecstasy: The Complete Guide" from oliver hockenhull on Vimeo.

Dr. David Healy
Dr. David Healy

David Healy, PhD

Dr. David Healy is an internationally respected psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, scientist, and author.
A professor of Psychiatry in Wales, David studied medicine in Dublin, and at Cambridge University. He is a former Secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, and has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed articles, 200 other pieces, and 20 books, including The Antidepressant Era and The Creation of Psychopharmacology from Harvard University Press, The Psychopharmacologists Volumes 1-3 and Let Them Eat Prozac from New York University Press, and Mania from Johns Hopkins University Press.
David’s main areas of research are clinical trials in psychopharmacology, the history of psychopharmacology, and the impact of both trials and psychotropic drugs on our culture.
He has been involved as an expert witness in homicide and suicide trials involving psychotropic drugs, and in bringing problems with these drugs to the attention of American and British regulators, as well raising awareness of how pharmaceutical companies sell drugs by marketing diseases and co-opting academic opinion-leaders, ghost-writing their articles.
David’s latest book, Pharmageddon, documents the riveting and terrifying story of how pharmaceutical companies have hijacked healthcare in America and the life-threatening results. David is a founder and Chief Executive Officer of Data Based Medicine Limited, which operates through its website, dedicated to making medicines safer through online direct patient reporting of drug effects.
Michael Mithoefer, M.D.
Michael Mithoefer, M.D.

Michael Mithoefer, M.D.

Michael Mithoefer, M.D., is a psychiatrist who practices in Charleston, SC, where he divides his time between clinical research and outpatient clinical practice specializing in treating posttraumatic stress disorder with an emphasis on experiential methods of psychotherapy.
He is a Grof certified Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator and is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Internal Family Systems Therapy.  He is board certified in Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine. 
On November 2, 2001, Mithoefer (as principal investigator) and his wife Annie (a psychiatric nurse) obtained FDA approval to run a clinical trial in the United States giving MDMA in combination with psychotherapy to treat chronic, treatment-resistant post-traumaticstress disorder in 12 patients. The first experimental session of his phase II clinical trial happened on April 16, 2004, and the last experimental session took place on July 18, 2008. The trial showed MDMA to be a safe and effective adjunct to psychotherapy for the small group of patients included in the study. After suffering from PTSD for an average of 19 years, people in MAPS’ first study didn’t just experience immediate relief. An average of 3½ years after therapy, the vast majority of them still felt they had moved past the trauma.
They will soon begin a second trial with veterans who have PTSD resulting from service in the US Armed Forces, and are conducting psychotherapy training programs for MAPS researchers.
He is medical monitor for MAPS-sponsored clinical trials in Europe, the Middle East and Canada.
Before going into psychiatry in 1995 he practiced emergency medicine for ten years, served as medical director of the Charleston County and Georgetown County Emergency Departments and has held clinical faculty positions at the Medical University of South Carolina. He is currently board certified in Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine..

David Nichols, PhD
David Nichols, PhD

David Nichols, PhD

Dr. Nichols originally conceived of a privately funded Institute as the most effective mechanism for bringing research on psychedelic agents into the modern era of neuroscience. This vision led to the founding of the Heffter Research Institute in 1993.
He currently is the Robert C. and Charlotte P. Anderson Distinguished Chair in Pharmacology at the Purdue University College of Pharmacy, and also is adjunct Professor of Pharmacology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. In 2004 he was named the Irwin H. Page Lecturer, and in 2006 was named the first Provost’s Outstanding Graduate Mentor at Purdue.
The focus of his graduate training, beginning in 1969, and of much of his research subsequent to receiving his doctorate in 1973 has been the investigation of the relationship between molecular structure and the action of psychedelic agents and other substances that modify behavioral states. His research has been continuously funded by government agencies for more three decades. He consults for the pharmaceutical industry and has served on numerous committees and government research review groups. Widely published in the scientific literature and internationally recognized for his research on centrally active drugs, he has studied all of the major classes of psychedelic agents, including LSD and other lysergic acid derivatives, psilocybin and the tryptamines, and phenethylamines related to mescaline. Among scientists, he is recognized as one of the foremost experts on the medicinal chemistry of hallucinogens. His high standards and more than four decades of research experience set the tone to ensure that rigorous methods and quality science are pursued by the Institute.
Amanda Fielding
Amanda Fielding

Amanda Feilding

Amanda Feilding is the founder and director of the Beckley Foundation, a UN accredited NGO. The Foundation conducts a Drug Policy Program and is dedicated to providing a rigorous, independent review of global drug policy, aiming at reducing the harms associated with both the misuse of drugs and the policies that aim to control them. The intention of the Foundation is to help develop policies that are evidence-based and rational, rather than those that are ineffectual and harmful, due to being rooted in unsubstantiated ideology.
Towards this end, Amanda has hosted seven influential seminars on International Drug Policy, entitled “Society and Drugs – A Rational Perspective”. These meetings bring together leading academics, experts and policy-makers from around the world, and have done much to broaden the debate, and also initiate such innovations as the call for a drug classification system based on a scientifically evaluated scale of harm.
Stephen Ross, M.D.
Stephen Ross, M.D.

Stephen Ross, M.D.

Stephen Ross, MD, is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine and Director of the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, among other postings.
His research interests revolve around novel diagnostic and treatment approaches to addictive illnesses and psychological distress in patients with advanced or terminal cancer.
He directs the NYU Psychedelic Research Group and is Principal Investigator of the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Project.
The primary objective of this double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study is to assess the efficacy of psilocybin on psychosocial distress, with the specific primary outcome variable being anxiety associated with advanced cancer. Secondary outcome measures will look at the effect of psilocybin on symptoms of pain perception, depression, existential/psychospiritual distress, attitudes toward disease progression, quality of life, and spiritual/mystical states of consciousness.
Dr. Ross receives his research funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Heffter Research Institute.
Ralph Metzner
Ralph Metzner Ph.D.

Ralph Metzner, Ph.D.

Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., has a B.A. in philosophy and psychology from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Harvard University, has been involved in the study of transformations of consciousness ever since, as a graduate student, he worked with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) on the Harvard Psilocybin Projects.
He co-wrote The Psychedelic Experience, and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. During the 1970s, Ralph spent 10 years in the intensive study and practice of Agni Yoga, a meditative system of working with light-fire life-energies.
He wrote Maps of Consciousness, one of the earliest attempts at a comparative cartography of consciousness, and Know Your Type, a comparative survey of personality typologies, ancient and modern.
Metzner was the Academic Dean at the California Institute of Integral Studies for ten years, during the 1980's, where he taught courses on "Altered States of Consciousness" and "Developing Ecological Consciousness". He is now Professor Emeritus.
He maintains a part-time psychotherapy practice and conducts workshops on consciousness transformation, and ecological consciousness, both nationally and internationally. Metzner's published books include The Well of Remembrance, The Unfolding Self, Green Psychology, and two edited collections on the science and the phenomenology of ayahuasca (Sacred Vine of Spirits) and teonanácatl (Sacred Mushroom of Visions). The practices have been developed by Ralph Metzner on the basis of extensive experiential research with transformative states of consciousness. These practices have been applied and tested over the past twenty years in the context of psychological work with individuals and groups.
Metzner is also the president and co-founder of the Green Earth Foundation, dedicated to healing and harmonizing the relations between humanity and the Earth. 

Horizons 2012: RALPH METZNER, PH.D - “Psychoactive Substances in Shamanism and Psychotherapy” from Horizons on Vimeo.

Gillian Maxwell
Gillian Maxwell

Gillian Maxwell

Gillian Maxwell is the Project Director of Keeping the Door Open - Dialogues on Drug Use (KDO).
KDO is a multi-sectoral, community-based coalition that organizes dialogues on problematic substance use to educate the public and inform public policy in Vancouver.
Maxwell is a knowledge exchange broker and is well known in British Columbia as the host and facilitator of many public forums that have taken place at Simon Fraser University's Wosk Centre for Dialogue.
An experienced organizer, public speaker and facilitator, Maxwell brings human warmth to match a sophisticated and well-crafted rigour to public debate and dialogue events.
Manuel Schoch
Manuel Schoch

Manuel Schoch

Manuel Schoch was a Swiss psychiatrist, neuroscientist,mystic and spiritual healer, best known for developing the healing method of “time therapy.”
He established his own practice in 1971, and in 1974 he helped found the HiHo-Collective, which was well known in the 1970s for its anti-psychiatric views.
Manuel’s style of teaching was both practical and very simple—ideally suited for twenty-first-century life. He taught classes at the University of Zurich on “Bridging Science and Spirituality.”
Manuel developed Time Therapy, about which he gave international talks, workshops, and training programs, and he was the director of the Tune-In Centre for Time Therapy based in Zurich, London, and Athens, which he founded in 1984.
Manuel Schoch died in October 2008.
Michael Winkelman, Ph.D.
Michael Winkelman, Ph.D.

Michael Winkelman, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Winkelman’s teaching and research interests focus on shamanism and 
psychedelic medicine, applied medical anthropology, and cross-cultural 
His research on shamanism includes cross-cultural studies, 
investigations into the origins of shamanism, and contemporary applications of shamanic healing in substance abuse rehabilitation.
He has pioneered perspectives on shamanism as humanity’s original neurotheology and studies on the biological bases of religion.
He received his B.A. from Rice University (1976), a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine (1985), and a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Practice from the University of Arizona (2002).
He served as the Head of Sociocultural Anthropology and is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. He also teaches in the Human Health Program on the ASU Polytechnic Campus.
Dr. Winkelman is past-president of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness and the founding president of the Anthropology of Religion Section of the American Anthropological Association.

William Richards, Ph.D.
William Richards, Ph.D.

William Richards, Ph.D.

William A. Richards, Ph.D. is a psychologist in the Psychiatry Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bayview Medical Center.
His graduate degrees include a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, a Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) from Andover-Newton Theological School, and a Ph.D. from Catholic University.
Richards also studied with Abraham Maslow at Brandeis University and with Hanscarl Leuner at Georg-August University in Goettingen, Germany, where his involvement with psilocybin research originated in 1963.
From 1967 to 1977, Richards pursued psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA and psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. His research included protocols designed to investigate psychedelics as a treatment for alcoholism, severe neuroses, narcotic addiction, and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer, and also their use in the training of religious and mental-health professionals.
He helped design and served as the primary guide in the John Hopkins research that demonstrated the positive correlation between psilocybin and mystical experiences.  
He is part of the team on the new Psilocybin & Cancer research project at Johns Hopkins.

Horizons 2009: William Richards Ph.D., The Rebirth Of Research With Entheogens: Lessons From The Past And Hypotheses For The ... from Horizons on Vimeo.

Kathleen Harrison
Kathleen Harrison

Kathleen Harrison

Kathleen (Kat) Harrison is an ethnobotanist, artist, and photographer who researches the relationship between plants and people, with a particular focus on art, myth, ritual, and spirituality.
Harrison teaches at the California School of Herbal Studies, Sonoma State University, University of Minnesota (Hawaii fieldcourse), and at various symposia.
She has done fieldwork in Latin America for 30 years, and is the director of Botanical Dimensions, a nonprofit foundation devoted to preserving medicinal and shamanic plant knowledge from the Amazonian rainforest and tropics around the world. Harrison co-founded the organization in 1985 with former husband Terence McKenna. In her work with Botanical Dimensions, she has done fieldwork and supported indigenous projects in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica.
She continues to document the many faces of ethnobotany with photographs, which she combines with stories in her slide presentations. Kat is a widely-published illustrator, and enjoys teaching people how to see and draw the plant world.
She is based in Northern California, where she is active in local watershed restoration. She reports that she is lucky to be the mother of two wonderful grown children, who make her life even richer.

Roland Griffiths, Ph.D.
Roland Griffiths, Ph.D.

Roland Griffiths, Ph.D.

Roland R. Griffiths, Ph.D., is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
His principal research focus in both clinical and preclinical laboratories has been on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs. His research has been largely supported by grants from the National Institute on Health and he is author of over 300 journal articles and book chapters.
He has been a consultant to the National Institutes of Health, and to numerous pharmaceutical companies in the development of new psychotropic drugs. He is also currently a member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Dependence for the World Health Organization.
He has an interest in meditation and is the lead investigator of the psilocybin research initiative at Johns Hopkins, which includes studies of psilocybin occasioned mystical experience in healthy volunteers and cancer patients, and a pilot study of psilocybin-facilitated smoking cessation. 
Wade Davis

Wade Davis

Wade Davis is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society.
Named by the NGS as one of the Explorers for the Millennium, he has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.”
In recent years his work has taken him to East Africa, Borneo, Nepal, Peru, Polynesia, Tibet, Mali, Benin, Togo, New Guinea, Australia, Colombia, Vanuatu, Mongolia and the high Arctic of Nunuvut and Greenland.
An ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Mostly through the Harvard Botanical Museum, he spent over three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among fifteen indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6000 botanical collections.
His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing Passage of Darkness (1988) and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), an international best seller later released by Universal as a motion picture.
Ingrid Pacey, M.D.
Ingrid Pacey, M.D.

Ingrid Pacey, M.D.

Ingrid Pacey, M.D., is the principal investigator for MAPS' upcoming Canadian study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.
She has been a psychiatrist for 35 years and her work has focused on therapy for trauma survivors.
She trained in Holotropic Breathwork from 1987-1990 with Stan and Christina Grof and facilitated Breathwork groups from 1990-2004. Ingrid worked a lot in these groups with trauma survivors and has written about this work in The Inner Door, the journal of the Association for Holotropic Breathwork International.
She is looking forward to beginning working with trauma survivors using MDMA assisted psychotherapy.
Psychiatrist Ingrid Pacey, M.D., talks about the importance of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research for PTSD.

Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett is widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the history of cannabis, having written dozens of articles in Cannabis Culture, High Times, and other magazines as well as three books dealing with the subject; Green Gold the Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic and Religion (Access Unlimited, 1995), Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible (Forbidden Fruit Publishing, 2001) and Cannabis and the Soma Solution (TrineDay, 2010).
Bennett has identified evidence for a religious role for cannabis in a variety of ancient and modern religions, such as Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, but his work regarding evidence in the Bible regarding the use of cannabis by both the ancient Jews and Christians has received the most attention.
In 1990 Bennett experienced a religious epiphany that cannabis was the Tree of Life as described in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation (22.2), and shortly after that he joined Hamilton Ontario’s church of the Universe a group which formed in 1969 and which also recognized cannabis as the Tree of Life. News stories, reviews and the introduction for Bennett’s book on the Biblical references to cannabis can be found here



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Meet the filmmakers

Oliver Hockenhull

Oliver is an artist, screenwriter, communication theorist, stand-up philosopher, essayist and lecturer who works in film, video, hyper media installations, writing, and design. He taught at Northwestern University in Chicago and has presented at Universities in Canada, the US, and Europe. His films are visionary meals, spiced by an intimate, poetic, and enlightening perspective into the complexity of issues and subjects under examination. He has concentrated on pivotal subjects; an early film essay about political discourse and activism, the social and intellectual import of the eminent writer, Aldous Huxley, an experimental film essay on evolution that features Richard Dawkins (and the gorillas of the London Zoo), and an essay on the built environment and the binary code. Neurons to Nirvana is his latest film.


Mikki Willis

Multi award winning filmmaker Mikki Willis is a virtuoso of positive energy and talent that spans mediums. He has produced over 200 independent productions, ranging from network television shows and theatrical features, to music videos and viral media. September 11th, 2001 marked the turning point in Mikki’s life and career. Having been inside the twin towers just hours before they fell, he helped to organize and lead a group of civilians who risked their lives to aid rescue workers. On his return to Los Angeles he began laying the foundation for what is now one of the most respected movements to emerge from Hollywood. Mikki is currently the founding director of Elevate Films, Elevate Foundation, and Elevate Film Festival, which challenges the international film community to create works of social and global importance. Mikki Willis is the recipient of the 2008 Conscious Life Humanitarian Award.





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Elevate ELEVATE FILMS is globally recognized as a cutting-edge innovator of socially conscious movies, media and live events, including the ground-breaking ELEVATE Film Festival, which became the largest single screen film festival in the world. We are totally committed to using the awesome power of movies and viral media to activate real and lasting change – to bridge ancient wisdom with modern technology – to share stories that deserve a voice – to champion worthy causes – to amplify the good news of the world - and of course… to ELEVATE!
Evolver is creating a platform for content, learning, and commerce serving a global community of transformational consumers seeking optimal states of well being in mind, body, and spirit. We intend to become a leading trust-agent for individuals and groups participating in our transformative culture, one of wisdom, beauty, and fun.
DMT, The Spirit Molecule is a documentary film that weaves an account of Dr. Rick Strassman's groundbreaking DMT research through a multifaceted approach to this intriguing hallucinogen found in the human brain and hundreds of plants, including the sacred Amazonian brew, ayahuasca.





2012: Time For Change
Being In The World
The Lottery of Birth
Monogamy and Its Discontents
Lucky Dark