Ethnobotany of Psychoactive Plants

Examining the Psychedelic Renaissance - Expert Edition

Chris Kilham


Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter, explorer, lifelong yogi, psychedelic advocate and media personality. He has investigated medicinal plants among indigenous people globally for decades, from Siberia to the Amazon to Congo. The author of fifteen books including the international best-seller The Five Tibetans, Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook, and The Lotus and The Bud: Cannabis, Consciousness, and Yoga Practice. Chris has appeared on over 2000 radio and 500 TV programs. The New York Times calls Chris “part David Attenborough, part Indiana Jones.” Read more…

About this Mini-Series: The relationship between people and psychoactive plants dates back to antiquity. For healing, revelation and spiritual exploration, psychoactive plants lubricate the mind and reveal new dimensions of perception. Drawing upon decades of ethnobotanical exploration in the field, medicine hunter Chris Kilham will share his experiences with four key psychoactive plants (ayahuasca, kava, coca, and cannabis), the places where they are employed, and the people who work with them. Personal accounts and rare images bring these accounts vividly to life.

Episodes will consist of a 60 minute presentation from our expert, followed by a 30 minute Q&A. You can find tickets here.


After two successful seasons of Examining The Psychedelic Renaissance, MAPS Canada, has decided to run a parallel mini-series with some of our experts!  Each Expert Edition will feature a previous MAPS Canada Speaker, in a 4 episode mini-series!  Spend an hour and a half learning various topics from our experts in this complimentary series!
~~~ Free or by Donation ~~~
Link for episode will be sent out morning of the event and recordings will be available for playback right after each episode.

If you have any questions or troubles, please email


Session Offerings

Episode 1: Ayahuasca and the Shaman’s Pharmacy

february 23rd, 5:00 - 6:30PM PST

Among the many hundreds of Amazonian plants and plant preparations utilized by shamans and healers, none is as revered or legendary as the psychoactive potion ayahuasca. Drawing upon more than thirty journeys to the Amazon and experience with dozens of Amazonian shamans, we’ll explore the plants, preparation and administration of this profound medicine.

Episode 2: Firewalking Kava Growers of Vanuatu

March 2nD, 5:00 - 6:30PM PST

Following a tradition deriving from Polynesia, the Melanesian kava growers of Vanuatu took up firewalking, fulfilling an ancient and hazardous ritual associated with this most revered plant. Deriving from twenty-five years of experience in the South Pacific and featuring highly unusual images, we’ll take a deep dive into kava, its trade and the magic and mystery of traditional firewalking.

Episode 3: Coca, Shamans and Divination in the Andes

MARCH 9th, 5:00 - 6:30PM PST

Much vilified and immersed in conflict and crime, coca remains one of the most valuable of psychoactive plants, with uses for medicine, as a general tonic, and for divination. From the coca fields of the Peruvian lowlands to the thin atmosphere of the high Andes, we’ll explore coca and its role in society, and its use among shamans for divination.

Episode 4: Cannabis, Siva and Kundalini

MARCH 16TH, 5:00-6:30PM PST

Originating from the Tibetan Plateau nearly 20 million years ago, cannabis has spread throughout the world, and has emerged as one of the most popular psychoactive agents of all time.  Drawing from experience in Siberia, the Silk  Road and the Indian Himalaya, we’ll explore the path cannabis has traveled to  global popularity, and its association with mystical realization in the yogic tradition.

Your Host & Moderator

Michael serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for MAPS Canada as well as Assistant to the Executive Director. In addition to providing operational support to MAPS, Michael is responsible for (organizing, mobilizing) a large team of volunteers. Michael completed a degree in Cognitive Systems at the University of British Columbia with a research focus on mind wandering. He was a Research Assistant with the Cognitive Neuroscience of Thought Laboratory and also ran the UBC Psychedelic Society. Michael is currently learning how to be a psychedelic facilitator and in his free time, Michael enjoys long-distance running, exploring the mountains and making music.