For inquiries regarding the utilization of ethnobotanicals, or in case you are experiencing an adverse situation or difficulty integrating and experience, please read this page. For inquiries regarding legal support , please read this page.

  • We don’t offer sessions of ayahuasca or iboga.
  • We don’t recommend centers or people who perform/do sessions.

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    Carrer de Sepúlveda, 65 , Oficina 2, 08015 Barcelona España +34 931 88 20 99
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    Frequently Asked Questions

    This FAQ section is regularly updated with useful information about ICEERS and its activities. If you do not find the answer to your question here, please contact us. We will respond to the inquiries and, if appropriate, add them to this section. We are committed to collaborating with the community to ensure transparent, accurate, and appropriate information in all the fields we work in.

    Last updated: February 2024.

    Since 2010, the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research, and Service (ICEERS) has led efforts to evolve the relationship of Western societies with traditional plant medicines and the cultures they are part of. Our goal is a future in which ceremonial plant work is recognized and can be safely and legally practiced while being in right relationship with the Indigenous knowledge holders. ICEERS collaborates with plant medicine community representatives, Indigenous leaders, government agencies, law enforcement, and NGOs. Alliance building is imperative to develop successful strategies to guarantee the health, safety, and fundamental rights of all communities involved.

    If you want to learn more about our organization, you can find further information here.

    ICEERS is comprised of a multidisciplinary team with extensive experience in fields such as pharmacology, law, political science, psychology, communications, human rights, anthropology, among others. Our team is made up of people with six doctorates and 16 master’s degrees. We collaborate with universities, hospitals, associations, foundations, consortiums, governmental institutions, and Indigenous groups. Learn more about our collaborators and sponsors.

    “Ethnobotany” is the science that studies the relationship between human cultures and plants. It can also refer to the knowledge that different cultures have acquired over time about the properties of various botanicals. In addition, psychoactive plant species with a longstanding relationship with different cultures are considered “ethnobotanicals”. Nearly 60% of modern medicines, from aspirin to the first anesthesia, originate from traditional medicinal plants. In fact, many of the components of today’s drugs are based on natural products that humans have worked with for centuries or millennia. Although science has only recently begun to take an interest in plants such as iboga or ayahuasca, their long standing relationship with humanity supports the essential fact that when humans have worked with plants for centuries, it is generally because they are considered “effective.” 

    No. ICEERS specifically warns against using ethnobotanicals when it violates the law, practices are conducted without proper professional guidance and/or supervision, or careful personal evaluation of the potential hazards and risks is lacking. The information provided by ICEERS is in no way intended to encourage the use of ethnobotanicals. You can find more information in the footer of this website and in Point 5.1 of the terms of use page.

    No. ICEERS never endorses or recommends any ethnobotanical center or facilitator. We do not offer psychoactive plant experiences, nor do we recommend centers or professionals offering sessions or retreats. This is clearly stated on our contact page, as well as on other parts of our website here and here. As a harm reduction strategy, we provide psychoactive plant information and a free good practices guide so that people can make their own choices and learn how to mitigate risks.

    Our organization works to help build relationships between the grassroots community, the government, and policymakers to protect public health through informed policies based on scientific evidence and human rights. We do this work in various spaces, such as the United Nations, and in partnership with diverse Indigenous movements and community associations. We connect the Global North with Indigenous communities to support the biocultural conservation of the medicines, ecologies, and traditional knowledge that Indigenous peoples have honored for thousands of years. Therefore, we work closely with the Indigenous Medicine Conservation Fund and Grow Medicine to create opportunities to support on-the-ground initiatives and share important information on how to maintain being in “right relationship” with traditional territories and their origins. You can keep track of updates about our work on our blog. Additionally, you can also subscribe to our newsletter.

    Science and research:

    All ICEERS studies are published in peer-reviewed, indexed journals that follow the highest methodological and ethical standards. We also develop expert reports used in legal proceedings involving psychoactive plants in various countries. We regularly work in collaboration with the University of São Paulo, the Autonomous University of Madrid, and Rovira i Virgili University. We have also conducted research with Oxford University (United Kingdom), Leiden University (The Netherlands), Haifa University (Israel), among others. Our work has been published in international journals such as Harvard Health and Human Rights Journal, Plos Global Public Health, Scientific Reports (Nature), and others. You can find the list of our collaborators and journal publications here


    Law and policy:

    The Ayahuasca Defense Fund (ADF) works on court cases around the world to bring together cutting-edge legal, scientific, and public policy expertise to provide reliable information that promotes sensible public policy. We have intervention protocols to handle legal cases from the moment information about a new incident is received. The level of involvement is decided on a case-by-case basis. These decisions depend on the degree of support we are able to offer and take selection criteria and available resources into account.


    Human rights:

    We address the human rights and Indigenous rights dimensions of psychoactive plant practices within a global context. Our interdisciplinary approach brings together legal, scientific, community, and public policy expertise. We advocate for sensible policies informed by evidence that respect Indigenous traditions and support the right to science and freedom of research. Our team has also helped develop international human rights and drug policy guidelines at the United Nations and elsewhere. We also work to advance the recognition of Indigenous and religious rights in global policy.


    Community services:

    In addition to organizing the World Ayahuasca Conference, we offer free risk and harm reduction services, such as information on drug interactions with psychoactive plants and the Integration & Support Center, where we offer sessions to support people who have questions or difficulties integrating processes with psychoactive plants.


    Information and education:

    Our website offers the public information, resources, and perspectives based on scientific evidence completely free of charge. We also organize numerous courses, workshops, and seminars in various languages. Some examples are the Cannabmed Campus, courses promoting greater safety during ayahuasca sessions, and integration workshops. In addition, the Psycheplants program educates about the pharmacology, psychological effects, legality, and cultural and historical backgrounds of commonly known psychoactive species. In addition, we send out a monthly newsletter to our subscribers. ICEERS is a primary source of reliable information for various media outlets around the world.


    One of ICEERS’ main priorities is the creation and cohesion of communities. We work with facilitators and communities in different countries and have gathered thousands of people at the World Ayahuasca Conferences (Ibiza in 2014, Brazil in 2016, and Girona in 2019). We have participated in the creation of the Patient Union for Cannabis Regulation and the Clinical Endocannabinology Society. We have also produced several reports via the Iboga and Ibogaine Community Engagement Initiative and the Towards Better Ayahuasca Practices guide published by the Health Department of the Government of Catalonia. We have developed strategies for biocultural conservation and regeneration of plants and Indigenous knowledge systems in the Amazon, Central Africa, and Central America.

    No, ICEERS is not a membership-based organization. ICEERS is a private, non-profit foundation with United Nations consultative status (ECOSOC). Although on occasions individuals might make regular donations, these should not be construed as a method of forming an affiliation. Moreover, the act of donating does not serve as a means to secure any form of reciprocation from us. We unequivocally reject donations that come with any stipulations. We offer information and support services free of charge, and our work is supported through donations. While people at times may make recurring donations, they are not considered a form of membership or compensation. You can find more information about our legal status here.

    …other institutions?

    ICEERS is in favor of transparency and supports good practices in all areas, as defined by the community. We therefore take a clear position against bad practices, whether in the relationship with master plants and Indigenous communities, biocultural conservation, journalism, science, or therapy.

    We advocate for objective, quality journalism based on primary sources, proven facts, and verified sources. For this reason, we have media relations and journalists that guarantee objectivity. We prefer to work with communication professionals who are aware of their social responsibility. We avoid working with media that are clearly biased, sensationalist, have low journalistic standards, or do not comply with a journalistic Code of Ethics.

    That being said, ethnobotanicals are a complex subject, where even the best media often makes mistakes during their coverage. This article (especially in the final paragraphs) is an example of how ICEERS provides current, factual, and expertly-sourced information. 

    ICEERS can help guide media outlets who want to better understand the globalization of ethnobotanicals or discuss these topics with reliable scientific and legal experts. If you would like to interview us or learn more about our work, you can contact us and visit our ICEERS In the Press page.

    ICEERS never endorses any individuals or organizations. We advocate for good practices, regardless of who practices them. Part of our work consists of collecting the best practices developed by the ayahuasca community, and making them visible through publications such as the ayahuasca good practices guide and courses on ayahuasca session safety. In addition, our support criteria for legal assistance is very clear in what we consider best practices. We strictly adhere to them when deciding on which legal cases to support.

    With respect to bad practices, we actively take a stand against those who engage with ethnobotanicals solely for their own benefit or who lack respect for individual or cultural integrity. We do not support practices that lack adequate preparation, use ethnobotanicals to manipulate others for personal gain, or approaches that are in service to others for purely economical reasons.

    Although the evidence on the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca 1, 2, 3, 4 and other ethnobotanicals is quite clear, our position always advocates caution and common sense. We support therapeutic practices that put people (and not economic gain) as the center focus. We also advocated for practices based on scientific evidence (even when coming from Indigenous knowledge systems1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and well-established cultural and community roots.

    All ICEERS studies are published in peer-reviewed, indexed journals that follow the highest methodological and ethical standards. We also develop expert reports used in legal proceedings involving psychoactive plants in various countries. ICEERS has published more than 100 research articles in areas such as drug policy, Global Mental Health, and polypharmacology. We advocate for rigorous, open, discerning, replicable, evidence-based science.

    Various political organizations from around the world approach us for expert advice in the fields we work in: drug policy, human rights, research, Indigenous knowledge systems, legislation, etc. ICEERS defines itself as an apolitical organization but expressly supports any political action focused on human rights relating to ethnobotanicals and the cultures that honor them.

    At ICEERS, we recognize that the journey toward a more just, sustainable society requires a steadfast and ethically responsible commitment, wherein Indigenous traditions and practices are respected and valued.

    We are aware that significant challenges arise in the quest to solve contemporary social problems due to the globalization of ayahuasca and other Traditional Indigenous Medicines. Our Support Center witnesses the daily difficulties of individuals who have had adverse experiences with various medicines, ceremonies, or facilitators who do not adhere to proper ethical standards.

    ICEERS’ mission is to foster and advocate for better practices in our community. This commitment is exemplified in our multidisciplinary projects. These include extensive scientific research that meets the highest standards of ethics and rigor, legal assistance, community services, and many others. Through these initiatives, we created a Better Practices Guide, online courses designed to educate the members of our community on safety and integration issues, as well as legal support for cases involving plant medicine based on clearly established criteria. We focus on working hand in hand with the community to ensure that better practices are integrally incorporated into all actions related to Traditional Indigenous Medicines. We are deeply committed to fostering an ethic of responsibility and care.

    Therefore, as an organization, we not only promote better practices but vehemently condemn all types of exploitation and malpractice.

    We strongly oppose any form of criminal activity, including those that compromise public health, involve illegal activities, and violate human and/or labor rights or sexual freedom. It is our firm belief that no community can thrive and be sustainable if it is based on exploitation, coercion, or harm to others.

    We therefore stand against any action that detracts from human dignity and the sanctity of the traditions we seek to preserve and honor. We reaffirm our commitment to life, justice, equity, and sustainability. We invite the entire community to join us on this path, working together to build a future where respect, dignity, and harmony are fundamental pillars.