This week I continue my series of psychedelic elder confessors with the great Dennis McKenna – author of the classic book, The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss: My Life with Terence McKenna.
Dennis, the younger brother of Terence, was featured in my previous book, Psychedelic Medicine, discussing the plant medicine known in South America as ayahuasca – a potent rain forest concoction containing the active ingredient DMT.
McKenna has conducted research in ethnopharmacology for over 40 years, and our last interview focused on the science of this fascinating substance. However, this recent interview focuses more on Dennis’s personal experiences in academia and industry as he gradually found his present niche as a writer, researcher, teacher, and advocate for the study of mind-altering plant medicines.
He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, and was a key investigator on the Hoasca Project, the first biomedical investigation of ayahuasca. He is also the younger brother of Terence McKenna. From 2000 to 2017, he taught courses on Ethnopharmacology and Plants in Human affairs as an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. In the spring of 2019, in collaboration with colleagues in Canada and the US, he
incorporated a new non-profit, the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy. He emigrated to Canada in the spring of 2019 together with his wife Sheila, and now resides in Abbotsford B.C.