AMA Tues 6/30/20: Bia Labate, Executive Director of Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines

We are very excited to announce that Bia Labate, Executive Director of Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic, is joining as a special guest to do an AMA on Tues Jun 30 from 5-6pm PT. Chacruna aims to provide public education and cultural understanding about psychedelic plant medicines and promote a bridge between the ceremonial use of sacred plants and psychedelic science.

Dr. Beatriz Caiuby Labate (Bia Labate) is a queer Brazilian anthropologist. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, and religion. She is Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines ( She is Adjunct Faculty at the East-West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco. She is also Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). She is co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil, and editor of NEIP’s website (, as well as editor of the Mexican blog Chacruna Latinoamérica ( She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twenty-one books, two special-edition journals, and several peer-reviewed articles (


Please post your questions here for Bia to answer by 5pm PT on Tuesday! We will be recording an interview with her and posting the video response by 6pm PT Tuesday.


Hi Dr. Labate, thank you for doing this! I would love to hear your thoughts about how we should take a holistic approach to medicine and mental health care, combining approaches from a more pharmacologic or “mainstream” (for lack of a better word) medical perspective with approaches from plant medicines, traditional practices, rituals, and holistic healing. What is the best way to fit these different perspectives together in mental health care, and in particular the psychedelic medicine space?

I’m currently in medical school and we are taught with a “Western medicine” approach. What would you say to medical educators about sacred plants and psychedelic plant medicines?

I’m not very knowledgeable about this space. Could you explain what shamanism is? And what plant psychedelics are most useful/promising as medicines? Thank you!

what are the plant medicines that are working towards FDA approval and what are their timelines?

are people legally allowed to have psychedelic plant medicines in the US prior to FDA approval?

Greetings, Dr. Labate! I’m a little awestruck that your listed interests so closely parallel my own (as a layman, of course).

Shamanism seems to me to provide a doorway through and to the ineffable. In those cases, the discipline of the path shapes the experience. I suspect that people seeking ketamine therapy rarely have that degree of discipline to call upon.

Have you any suggestions as to how we, as patients, might more effectively shape and focus our psychedelic experiences to our own benefit?

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I know in other parts of medicine there have been examples of pharma companies taking molecules from plant medicines that are known to work and then creating “new medicines” from those plant compounds to patent and get through FDA approval. Could you talk about this trend in general and also for psychedelics specifically? thanks so much

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Hey Bia! What are the important principles and practices contemporary practitioners should incorporate/abide by from indigenous and ancient cultures that have used plant medicines for 1,000s of years?

Attending specifically to the needs of BIPOC clients what can be brought in to support the therapeutic/healing space?

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You most likely will cover this but is there a protocol for a person to get off of SSRI’s and start to microdose? Is there an issue in doing both while trying to maintain a microdosing routine to completely eliminate SSRI for depression and PTSD? Thank you

Could you tell me more about sexual abuse in ayahuasca settings? What makes it prevalent in ayahuasca circles?

Hi Bia,
What are your favorite “deep dive” reads about psychedelic assisted therapy? Something for people who have read classics like “LSD: My Problem Child” or “How to Change Your Mind”?

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Hi everyone! Thanks for having me. Video answers should be up a bit after 6!

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