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Recently, our very own Louie Schwartzberg had the opportunity to speak at The Psychedelic Science Conference, held June 19-23 in Denver. As the largest psychedelic conference in history, it featured over 300 speakers and was organized by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.
We sat down with Louie to get his thoughts on this groundbreaking event — how it aligns with his vision for a better world.
Q: Why did you attend the Psychedelic Science Conference?
I was there as a speaker — and to deepen my own knowledge. Beyond my documentary work, I made a therapy film called Journey Through Nature, part of my Visual Healing® series of short films. That film was used as part of a clinical trial to treat alcohol addiction, with positive results.
Over 12,000 people attended the conference, with presentations from those from both sides of the aisle. Current Colorado governor Jared Polis, a Democrat, and conservative former governor of Texas, Rick Perry, both spoke about advocating for psychedelics to help US veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues. That goes to show you how far we’ve come on this topic.
Q: What was the vibe like?
It was held at the big convention center in Denver, with hundreds of exhibits — and a mega giant mushroom explosion. And some folks recognized me and said Fantastic Fungi changed their life. They shared stories that can break your heart and blow your mind. The look of many young attendees reminded me of Woodstock, where fashion, music, art, politics, and elevating consciousness spawned a global movement that quickly became mainstream.
Q: What was the response to your film?
We screened our Journey through Nature therapy film, and the audience told us it was a transcendent experience. That’s what we learned in our clinical trial with Pacific Neuroscience Institute, too. When combined with psilocybin, the film proved more beneficial for patients with alcohol use disorder than psilocybin by itself. Those results will be published in the coming months.
Q: How does this intersect with Fantastic Fungi?
We have built a community — and a global movement. We’re so grateful for everyone who loves and honors us. And this is the next phase for the fungi community. Self care equals world care. And the more we can help ourselves, the more we can help each other — and the planet.
What I saw at the conference was incredible: from mushroom CPG products you can ingest to clinics, mental health specialists, resorts, biotech/pharmaceutical companies, immersive vibration strobe chairs, visionary art, yoga, dance, Burning Man-style floats, transcendent music and youth demanding environmental and social justice. Everyone was just trying to reduce stress and figure out how to love themselves, in order to love their family, coworkers, community and the world.
Q: That’s incredible — where do you see yourself fitting into the psychedelics community?
Even though we’re not selling psychedelic products today, we want to be a trusted source for information about mushroom wellness, including psychedelic research, science articles and digital content.
I’d love for our community to grow — and for us to share more about all the progress with veterans. There are clinical trials at over 60 major universities, breakthrough technologies in virtual reality, AI, wearable digital sensors and vibrators. It’s super exciting.
We are already spreading the word about mushrooms in other ways, such as with our partnership with the Fungi Foundation. We offer an educational version of Fantastic Fungi for schools K-12, and curriculum for teachers in English and Spanish.
Our Visual Healing series is used in hospitals — from oncology and addiction medicine to palliative care. And we are hosting Gratitude Revealed events to honor and support frontline nurses who are suffering from burnout.
We have also recently launched The Louie Channel, which offers our community a plethora of free content to celebrate nature’s beauty and integrate this into your practice. MAPS conference showed how we can each take a journey of our own making, and I’d like to think that my content is a tool or resource to enrich that journey.
Q: What was your big takeaway?
The main theme of workshops and presentations was INTEGRATION. What do you do after you overcome trauma? What challenges hold you back? And which mystical or breakthrough experiences can help?
We already have the perfect film for that with Gratitude Revealed! We share stories about how people overcome adversity and still have hope, joy and love in their lives, with real people and well-known luminaries.
In Fantastic Fungi, we reveal the wisdom below the ground with the mycelial network, where nutrients are shared between trees and plants without greed, to foster eco systems that flourish. That wisdom can change your life. It can make you grateful for connection. There’s an old biblical truth: “As Above So Below.” Now our spiritual mantra is “As Below So Above.”
We are the Changers, leading a movement that is time-critical, for the survival of our children and future generations. Let’s celebrate life and protect what we love.