Skip to main content
Arts & Entertainment

Magic Mushroom Experts Descend on SF for Two Expos in April

Written by Astrid KanePublished Apr. 05, 2023 • 4:30pm
San Francisco decriminalized psychedelics such as psilocybin in late 2022. | Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Now that cannabis has been legalized in dozens of states, therapists and academics are turning their attention to naturally derived psychedelics as new frontiers in medicine. In April alone, San Francisco will host not one but two conferences that bring together spiritual practitioners and enthusiasts for discussions on the status of the so-called psychedelic renaissance.

The city, long associated with alternative medicine, finds itself a leader once again. In 2022, in support of their therapeutic potential and in a nod to their centuries of religious use by Indigenous people, San Francisco decriminalized the possession of “entheogens." That term, which refers to any chemical that produces an altered state of consciousness for spiritual purposes, includes psilocybin (i.e. “magic mushrooms"), peyote, ayahuasca and other substances.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 8 and 9, Dogpatch indoor-outdoor venue The Midway hosts Spirituality and Beyond 3, which brings together prominent Northern California experts in psychedelics, like Buddhist Lama Mike Crowley, anthropologist Acacea Lewis and Dave Hodges of Oakland’s Zide Door, the church that regards psilocybin as sacramental, which recently announced an expansion into San Francisco.

Panels and lectures range from topics like death and witchcraft to more medical discussions about what exactly constitutes a “high” dose of mushrooms. But no exploration into the nature of consciousness in 2023 would be complete without the topic of artificial intelligence, which happens to be the theme of Hodges’ Sunday sermon, capping off the weekend.

Two weeks later, on Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, Brava Theater Center hosts Queering Psychedelics II, which anchors the renewed popularity of psychedelics in the LGBTQ+ community.

“As the so-called psychedelic renaissance reaches a pivotal moment of mainstream interest and regulatory legitimacy, it is vital that traditionally underrepresented communities share a seat at the table,” the organizers noted, “to ensure access to all the benefits that psychedelics and plant medicine offer.”

In light of the effects of 20th century Western psychology’s repression of same-sex desire, and a renewed push across the U.S. to marginalize queer people and queer expression, Queering Psychedelics II promises to explore the healing power of entheogens through discussions that touch on on astrology, LGBTQ+ people and the wilderness, and “the cosmos of gender expansiveness.”

Spirituality and Beyond 3

🗓️  April 8-9
📍 The Midway | 900 Marin St., SF
🎟️ $20-$100

Queering Psychedelics II

🗓️  April 22-23
📍 Brava Theater Center |  2781 24th St., SF
🎟️ $250-$350

Astrid Kane can be reached at

A white temple made of granite and topped with gold decorations sits in a tropical clearing.

How a Spectacular Hindu Temple in Hawaii Began as a Dream in San Francisco

A composite image of two posters that are featured in the “Art on Market Street” series that include comics of visual artist Ruth Asawa standing behind one of her wires structures, left, and fashion designer Kaisik Wong sitting behind his sewing machine, right.

Comics Highlight Asian American Artists on San Francisco’s Market Street

A costumed man and woman stand in front of a step-and-repeat.

‘Star Wars,’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ Fans Pack San Francisco Sci-Fi Convention: Photos

Couples dance while clad in Victorian era clothing at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair.

Great Dickens Christmas Fair Returns to Cow Palace After Boycott

A man in a tan jacket and brown fedora stands beside a woman with a scarf draped over her shoulders.

San Francisco Jazz Club Owner Leaves Storied Legacy Behind in the Fillmore