Alta Live: The Gentrification of Psychedelics

Roberto Lovato and Gustavo Arellano have a candid conversation on the cultural history of psychedelics and their uncertain future.

This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Gustavo Arellano put it well when describing Roberto Lovato’s piece on the gentrification of psychedelics: it’s about “all these intersections—of gentrification, of San Francisco, psychedelics, Indigenous history, fascist history, future trauma.” Lovato and Arellano traced a rough history of psychedelics and their use in therapies for Indigenous and non-white communities, debunking the myth that hippies were the first to trip. Today, as psychedelic-based therapies become more common and California gets closer to legalizing certain types of psychedelic drugs, “we’re at an inflection point in the history of consciousness,” Lovato said on Alta Live. “These are powerful medicines, and they also can be powerful weapons in the wrong hands.”

Lovato’s concern is that the so-called psychedelic renaissance, a term he takes issue with, is being appropriated by Silicon Valley titans like Peter Thiel and will make drug-assisted psychotherapies inaccessible to groups that have historically benefited from the treatments, a pattern he already sees in ketamine-assisted therapies. “My story is as much about, you know, sparking a part of the imaginary—of the decolonizing imaginary—and bringing it to psychedelics,” Lovato said. “Like the Black Panthers, like funk and Sly Stone, like Silicon Valley, like hot tubs…California is going to make an outsized contribution to the psychotherapeutic and other implications of psychedelics. And we have to be in on this, not this marginal 10 percent whose history has been completely erased.”

Check out these links to some of the topics Lovato and Arellano brought up this week.

    Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
    More From Events