Arthur Heffter
was the first scientist to study, systematically, a naturally-occurring hallucinogen, publishing his work in 1897. Learn More arrow

Our Mission


The Heffter Research Institute promotes research of the highest scientific quality with the classical hallucinogens and related compounds (sometimes called psychedelics) in order to contribute to a greater understanding of the mind leading to the improvement of the human condition, and to alleviate suffering.

The Heffter Research Institute was incorporated in New Mexico in 1993 as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. The Institute is named after Dr. Arthur Heffter, a turn-of-the century German research pharmacologist, who was the first scientist to study, systematically, a naturally-occurring hallucinogen, publishing his work in 1897. Learn more about Arthur Heffter here.

Our Objectives


The general objectives of The Heffter Institute include:

  • Developing knowledge regarding, and standards of practice for, the appropriate and safe use of classical hallucinogens in a medical context.
  • Conducting basic chemical, pharmacological, and neurobiological investigations on various psychoactive substances and their mechanisms of action.
  • Conducting ethnopharmacological investigations designed to clarify our understanding of the role played by psychoactive plants in the religious, medical, and social institutions of other cultures.
  • Conducting phytochemical and pharmacological investigations of plants and other naturally occurring materials, designed to discover, isolate, and characterize novel natural products with novel types of psychoactivity.
  • Publishing scientific reports, earning grants and awards; organizing and sponsoring scientific conferences to present research results, and providing a forum for discussions of the appropriate medical and scientific uses of classical hallucinogens.
  • Conducting clinical research studies to investigate potential therapeutic applications of classical hallucinogens.
  • Informing the scientific and medical communities about the issues of safety, adverse effects, and therapeutic potentials related to the use of classical hallucinogens in a medical context.

The current political and intellectual climate offers new opportunities to reopen avenues of research that have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to pursue in the past within conventional frameworks. Government agencies will provide support to legitimate researchers of classical hallucinogenic agents, as the Institute Founders can testify from long periods of research funding. Nevertheless, when it comes to extending the investigations from animal models to human subjects, or to testing hypotheses that the effects of these agents may in certain circumstances be beneficial rather than entirely detrimental, the government's role as a supporter of research has been insufficient.
In order for truly uncompromised and creative research in the field of classical hallucinogen neuropsychopharmacology to have any hope of fulfilling its promise, it must be pursued from within the context of an independent research institute whose operations and research programs are independent of government funding. The Heffter Research Institute will neither condemn classical hallucinogenic drugs nor advocate their uncontrolled use. The sole position of the Institute in this regard will be that these substances, utilized in thoughtfully designed and carefully conducted scientific experiments, can be used to further the understanding of the mind.