Katherine MacLean: ‘The Psychedelic Experience Doesn’t Have to Be Glamorous, Expensive or Complicated’

The 2023 reMind Psychedelics Business Forum was held Nov. 28-29, 2023, at the Westgate Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. More than 30 expert speakers presented the latest insights and information in the field of psychedelics with the goal of advancing this emerging industry responsibly and ethically. The videos of the sessions are now available online.


Dr. Katherine MacLean gave an inspired and insightful keynote address titled “Why We Look to Psychedelics” at the reMind Psychedelics Business Forum. The highly accomplished research scientist, writer, and educator has spent the past two decades studying the effects of psychedelics — including with Roland Griffiths at Johns Hopkins.

Her debut memoir — Midnight Water — is a deeply personal reflection on the role psychedelics played in how she confronted her own trauma and grief. She been experimenting with psychedelics her whole life, and she shared her vision — and concerns — for the future of these medicines.

In particular, MacLean recalled working with Zendo Project to help people having difficult psychedelic experiences at AfrikaBurn in South Africa.

“So we had a big tent where people could come who were having difficult psychedelic experiences. We had a medical tent right nearby in case there was a medical emergency, and we had this other small tent that was called ‘a womb with a view.’ It was a place where you could go if the big tent was too much and you could just go into your little tent and that could be your little safe sanctuary,” she said.

“And I like to show this image because the psychedelic experience doesn’t have to be glamorous. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to look pretty, it doesn’t have to be fancy. Sometimes all people need is like a little space that is their protected safe zone where they can have their experience and just be fully witnessed and fully themselves. Again, it’s not rocket science, and I think that sometimes we try to make it into rocket science to justify the amount of money and the legal hoops that we have to jump through to make this happen in this insane system that has been created around drugs, but really at the ground level, psychedelic use is not complicated. People know how to do it.”

Watch the full session here

More about our speakers:

Katherine MacLean, PhD, is a writer, research scientist, mother, educator, and adventure-seeker. She has spent the past two decades studying the effects of mindfulness meditation (at UC Davis) and psychedelics (at John’s Hopkins). Her debut memoir about psychedelics, grief and parenthood, Midnight Water, is now available in print and audio formats.