© 2024 Aspen Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures, discussions, and conversations from area events and festivals, thanks to a remarkable collection of community partners. Click here to view the full archive. Events are recorded at no cost to the partner and archived here online; select recordings are broadcast on Aspen Public Radio Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Aspen Psychedelic Symposium: Mental Health Breakthroughs

(Photo by Kelsey Brunner)
Kelsey Brunner/DP
(Photo by Kelsey Brunner)

This event was recorded on June 2, 2023 at the Wheeler Opera House, in partnership with Aspen Public Radio, Aspen Psychedelic Resource Center, and Healing Advocacy Fund.

The recent successful state passage of the Natural Medicine Health Act (Proposition 122) represents a massive shift in public perception regarding psychedelics. Colorado's ballot initiative was the first to decriminalize the possession and use of psychedelic mushrooms and certain plant-based psychedelic substances in Colorado law for individuals aged 21 and over, and requires the state to establish a regulated system for accessing psychedelic mushrooms and additional plant-based psychedelic substances.

This day-long event was presented as a deep dive into the tradition, science, and advocacy behind integrating these life-saving medicines into modern culture. Panels throughout the day included experts from Colorado and across the country. Hear from groundbreaking researchers, scientists, doctors and others working in the field— alongside individuals who have had these life-changing experiences.

The second panel of the day, “Mental Health Breakthroughs,” was directed at those struggling to heal from depression, anxiety or substance use disorder, where psilocybin –and other psychedelic-assisted therapies– can offer hope.

Panelists included Kevin Franciotti, Meg Richmond, and Matthew X. Lowe, moderated by Brandon Burns.

Brandon Burns (moderator), CEO/Owner of Peaks Recovery Centers, a comprehensive dual diagnosis drug & alcohol addiction treatment center, who sees the behavioral healthcare industry as fraught with fragmentation, lacking a unified approach to treating substance use disorder and mental health, and has moved to challenge industry wide narratives in support of patient care and outcomes, including his passion and support for the Natural Medicine Health Act and the innovative potential for plant based medicines within behavioral healthcare settings

Kevin Franciotti, MA, a Colorado-based writer, therapist, advisor & thought leader in the fields of psychology, psychedelics & substance abuse counseling. He is a Licensed Addiction Counselor and the founder of Psychedelics in Recovery, a 12-step based program for individuals using plant medicines in their recovery process

Meg Richmond, a Celtic medicine woman, Ayahuasca church founder, and policy reform advocate; pioneering a nationally viable model for the protected use of plants as sacraments; co-founder of The HeartQuarters organization in Denver, Colorado, pioneering a hybrid profit/nonprofit model for community centers which facilitate the use of entheogens under the constitutionally protected liberties of the Religious Freedoms and Restorations Act

Matthew X. Lowe, PhD, Director of Research for Realm of Caring, a non-profit cannabis research organization; Executive Director & Chief Scientific Officer for Unlimited Sciences, a psychedelics research non-profit

What is Healing, What is Ceremony?” with Veronica Lightning Horse Perez and Remi Olajoyegbe, moderated by Jaz Cadoch.

The Neuroscience of Psychedelics” with Court Wing, Dave Rabin, and Scott Thompson, moderated by Nicole Foerster

Where do we go from here?” with Scarlet Masius, Kevin Matthews, and Natasia Poinsatte, moderated by Zach Leary

Keynote: "Speculations on the Antiquity of Human Consciousness” by Dennis McKenna

Please note: Fireside Project is a nonprofit organization which operates the Psychedelic Peer Support Line, the first national support line for people navigating psychedelic experiences - whether that experience happened a day or a decade ago. The organization also offers “identity-based integration support,” meaning that if you are Black, Indigenous, a person of color, a military veteran, or identify as transgender, you can ask to speak to someone sharing your identity. Call or text 62-FIRESIDE. Open everyday 11:00am - 11:00pm PT.