Examining the Psychedelic Renaissance Episode 13 – Dr. Bia Labate

Dr. Bia Labate is a Brazilian anthropologist and a leading expert on ayahuasca culture. It is this specialization, alongside her study of shamanism and plant medicine, that we’re excited to explore in the next episode of Examining the Psychedelic Renaissance. Dr. Labate will discuss the implications of Ayahuasca’s soaring popularity, including sustainability, safety and socioeconomic concerns.

Date: Tuesday, August 18th

Time: 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM PST (6:00 PM – 7:30 PM EST)

About Dr. Bia Labate

Dr. Bia Labate completed a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at the State University of Campinas in Brazil, where she studied Amazonian religion, ritual shamanism and application of plant medicines. An expert on the beneficial use of entheogens, she acts as the Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute and enhances MAPS through her position as Public Education and Culture Specialist.

To pass on her wisdom and inspire the next generation of anthropologists, Dr. Labate teaches at Guadalajara’s Center for Research and Postgraduate Studies in Social Anthropology, in addition to the California Institute of Integral Studies in California. She has also authored over twenty-one books, including The Therapeutic Use of Ayahuasca, and contributed to HuffPost as a guest author on research into psychedelics. 

The ayahuasca industry has seen an explosion in recent years, with the medicine achieving global acclaim. Traditionally, the psychoactive beverage made from the stems of the ayahuasca vine and chakruna leaves, was confined to shamanic rituals deep in the Amazon. However, as a result of widespread demand to treat mental illness, ayahuasca ceremonies are now conducted all over the world and the entheogenic brew readily available.

It is this booming popularity and accessibility that Dr. Labate will discuss in the upcoming webinar episode. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork and experience with ayahuasca tourism, she will discuss the issues that may potentially damage the fledgling industry – such as environmental, economic and cultural concerns.

To meet the unsatiated demand for ayahuasca, indigenous Amazon communities are venturing further into the jungle to source the ayahuasca vine as supplies deplete. The most prized brews are made from the oldest vines, which can take several decades to mature, and when the stalks are harvested it can cause irreparable damage to the entire plant.

Where there are patients there are profits and unfortunately it can be difficult for spiritual seekers to separate the shamans from the charlatans. This has led to a worrying spike in sexual abuse and fatalities, that needs to be appropriately addressed for ayahuasca and its ritualistic use to gain acceptance in the medical community.

Dr. Labate will discuss these implications and investigate how appropriate regulation could legitimize the industry and expand the beneficial use of ayahuasca globally. To promote regulation and oppose the prohibition of psychoactive substances, she co-founded the the Nucleus for Interdisciplinary Studies of Psychoactives – an international network of researchers that publishes literature in Portuguese, Spanish, French and English.

You can learn more about Dr. Labate here.


MAPS Canada has priced the Examining the Psychedelic Renaissance webinar series at an affordable $111 for the full 14 episodes. Single episodes are available for $22 each, with discounted rates for students, seniors and those affected by COVID-19. Tickets can be purchased online at www.mapscanada.org/webinar

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