MAPS conference set to turn Mile High City into melting pot of psychedelic culture
Next week, thousands of advocates, academics, entrepreneurs—as well as a slew of celebrities and politicians—will descend on Denver for the Psychedelic Science 2023 conference. The weeklong Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) event is likely to be one of the largest gatherings of sacred plant medicine to date.
MAPS has long been at the forefront of psychedelic research, involved in a slew of studies that may revolutionize the way the world engages with entheogenic compounds. Their fourth annual conference will see presentations and news not only from MAPS officials but an abundance of other psychedelic professionals and activists.
World-class scientists, Hollywood elite on deck to present
The agenda for the Psychedelic Science show is massive, with more than 450 sessions, workshops, and panels set to take place. Covering everything from breakthrough therapies to the intersection of Indigenous rituals and corporate plant medicine, the MAPS conference has literally something for everyone.
Attracting the top names in the consciousness-expanding landscape, the MAPS conference will also welcome a number of high-profile personalities that have come out in support of psychedelic medicine. NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, Grammy Award-winning musician Melissa Etheridge, comedian and actor Eric Andre, rapper and Hollywood royal Jaden Smith, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry are all set to take the stage.
“Psychedelic Science 2023 will be a watershed moment in the psychedelic zeitgeist. It’s a historic opportunity to be at the vanguard of societal transformation,” said Dennis Walker, host of the Mycoprenreur podcast, who will be on the panel Satire is Sacred: The Role of Humor in Keeping Us Sane.
Workshops, pre-show programming offer additional opportunities for growth
The official conference schedule is jam-packed, but those wishing to make the most of their time in Denver will have plenty of chances to build their psychedelic knowledge and skills. Courses and workshops designed for healthcare providers, spiritual care professionals, and community activists will offer cutting-edge tools and actionable insights.
Pre-show programming includes consciousness-expanding breathwork from pioneer Stanislav Grof, guiding psilocybin therapy, psychedelic liberation and decolonization, meditation and contemplative science, and psychedelic Judaism.
Event-goers will also have several opportunities to reflect, relax, and integrate. On-site yoga, ecstatic dance, peer support, and even therapy dogs will be available for those who need a break from the action.
Ancillary events, parties, and benefits round out Psychedelic Science 2023
If the official conference agenda isn’t enough, there are also countless offsite gatherings to keep the vibes high. In true choose-your-own-adventure fashion (appropriate given the set and setting), MAPS conference attendees can blaze their own psychedelic trail once the convention center has closed for the day.
Events that are of particular intrigue include the Ketamine Task Force dinner honoring female veterans, a concert featuring the Flaming Lips benefiting MAPS, and Lounge CashoM, where there are dinners, readings, and electrifying after-parties happening every day next week.
“We have an incredible space that is decorated with visionary art from Steven Newman, has meditation and prayer rooms, content creation rooms, herbal lounges, as well as elixir and cacao bars,” explained Philip Wolf, founder of Cultivating Spirits, who is producing the events at Lounge CashoM. “We’ll be doing very emergent musical performances and high-level talks in the space throughout the week.”
Another highlight will certainly be the Psychedelics Pipeline Party, presented by Oakland Hyphae and Students For Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). The Juneteenth celebration will offer an authentic, relaxed space for connection and collaboration, starting the week off on a high note.
“The goal for our event is to give people who want to be in the psychedelic space a chance to connect with people who are actually in the psychedelic space,” said Reggie Harris, founder of Oakland Hyphae. “We can all kick back, play a game of cards or whatever, talk a little, and have some fun.”
Psychedelic Science 2023 promises to be a revolutionary week, uniting the global psychedelic community on a scale never seen before. And while the event promises to be brimming with inquiry and excitement, it may also shift perspectives on what this moment in time truly means: honoring sacred medicines and bringing them to people who may benefit most.