Psychedelics have an incredible potential to catalyse change and transformation or support traditional cultured and ways of life. However, many naturally occurring psychoactive plants and even animals are facing threats from climate change, habitat loss and other anthropogenic pressures like overharvesting. In my talk we will dive deep into the conservation issues around some of the most well-known naturally occurring psychedelics: peyote, ayahuasca, Sonoran Desert toad and iboga. I will also explore possible answers to some of the key questions for psychedelic renaissance: How can we ensure respectful, safe, ethical, inclusive, and sustainable sourcing for psychedelic plants and materials? Are there ethical and sustainable alternatives?
Anya has a motley background and varied research interests in nature conservation, ethnobotany, neuroscience and psychiatry, interweaving and connecting these diverse paths through psychedelic science.
Anya worked at the forefront of psychedelic research as a science officer at the Beckley Foundation and has provided psychedelic welfare and harm reduction services with PsycareUK and Zendo.
A deep love for nature and wildlife has motivated Anya to study biology at the University of Edinburgh, while a quest to understand altered states of consciousness has prompted her to specialise in neuroscience and later continued during her PhD in psychiatry at Cambridge, where she investigated the origins of psychosis. She then worked for the NHS, developing and trialling a new psychosocial intervention for psychosis.
After a brief stint as a clinical trial manager, she decided to pursue her passion for nature, by studying Conservation Science at Imperial College London. She is currently working as a research consultant in London but stays involved in peyote conservation work in the USA. She is a part of Chacruna's Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants and a board member of the Cactus Conservation Institute.