Coronavirus (COVID-19) notice

In accordance with the Quebec government directive, McGill University will remain closed until further notice. As a result, kindly note that the McGill Biomedical Ethics Unit team is working remotely.

The best way to reach us is via ssom [at] (email )

The Psychedelic Resurgence in Psychiatry: Ethics, Epistemology, and Enthusiasm

The symposium has been postponed until further notice.

This symposium will explore growing enthusiasms related to the use of psychedelics in psychiatric contexts and beyond. The afternoon will include three talks on this topic: 1) an examination of the rich history of psychedelic research in Canada by Erika Dyck 2) an overview of current research and policy discussions by Mark Haden 3) and an anthropological exploration of the psychedelic framework of set and setting by Tehseen Noorani. These talks will be followed by a panel discussion including the three speakers which will explore in greater depth the ethical and epistemological questions that arise as psychedelic science is increasingly taken up in medicine.

The event is hosted by the Biomedical Ethics Unit and co-sponsored by the Institute for Health and Social Policy, the Culture, Mind & Brain Program, the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, and the Department of Social Studies of Medicine.


Date and Time:

Thursday 19 March 2020

1:00 - 4:30 PM


Erika Dyck

Professor, Department of History, University of Saskatchewan    

Mark Haden

Adjunct Professor UBC School of Population and Public Health,

Executive Director of MAPS Canada (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies)


Tehseen Noorani

Research Fellow, Anthropology, Durham University


Allan Memorial Hospital 

1025 Pine Ave W

Montreal, Quebec H3A 1A1

South Seminar Room


1:00 - 1:20 PM

Opening Remarks

Land Acknowledgement

Welcome from the Biomedical Ethics Unit - Jonathan Kimmelman

The ghosts of the Allan Memorial Institute’s past - Andrea Tone

1:20 - 2:00 PM                                                                     

Psychedelic Flashbacks: What can history teach us about psychedelics?

Erika Dyck, Professor, Department of History, University of Saskatchewan

Abstract: In this talk, I compare the historical reactions to the introduction of psychedelics in the 1950s, tracing them through the scientific labs and out onto the streets where a new acid culture inspired new drug policies aimed at promoting abstinence. I consider some of the historical reactions to psychedelic science and what is different in the 21st century psychedelic renaissance.

2:00 - 2:40 PM                                              

Psychedelics: Overview of current and recent research

Mark Haden, Adjunct Professor, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Executive Director of MAPS Canada (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies)

Abstract: This presentation will explore recent and current research on psychedelic medicine by both MAPS Canada and others. Predictions will be made regarding how psychedelics could be integrated into the health care system. Some future challenges will be explored.

2:40 - 3:00 PM Coffee Break
3:00 - 3:40 PM

Containing Psychedelics? The Set and Setting of Emerging Psychedelic Psychiatry

Tehseen Noorani, Research Fellow, Anthropology, Durham University

Abstract: Ethnographically-informed, this presentation will turn the psychedelic-inspired framework of ‘drug, [mind]set, setting’ back on psychedelic psychiatry itself. It will offer reflections on containers and containment in the contemporary mainstreaming of psychedelics, across both research and clinical therapeutics.

3:40 - 4:20 PM

Panel Discussion with Erika Dyck, Mark Haden and Tehseen Noorani, chaired by Phoebe Friesen

4:20 - 5:30 PM Reception

The Biomedical Ethics Unit is committed to facilitating access to all of our events. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the access provided, please get in touch with Phoebe Friesen at phoebe.friesen [at] or 514-398-6336 in advance of the event.

McGill University is situated on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka, a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst nations. We recognize and respect the Kanien’kehà:ka as the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we meet today.

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