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INTRODUCTION: The American continent is very rich in psychoactive plants and fungi, and many pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures used them for magical, therapeutic and religious purposes. OBJECTIVES: The archaeological, ethno-historical and ethnographic evidence of the use of hallucinogenic substances in Mesoamerica is reviewed. RESULTS: Hallucinogenic cactus, plants and mushrooms were used to induce altered states of consciousness in healing rituals and religious ceremonies. The Maya drank Balché (a mixture of honey and extracts of Lonchocarpus) in group ceremonies to achieve intoxication. Ritual enemas and other psychoactive substances were also used to induce states of trance. Olmec, Zapotec, Maya and Aztec used peyote, hallucinogenic mushrooms (teonanacatl: Psilocybe sp.) and the seeds of ololiuhqui (Turbina corymbosa), that contain mescaline, psilocybin and lysergic acid amide, respectively. The skin of the toad Bufo sp. contains bufotoxins with hallucinogenic properties, and was used since the Olmec period. The jimson weed (Datura stramonium), wild tobacco (Nicotiana rustica), water lily (Nymphaea ampla) and Salvia divinorum were used for their psychoactive effects. Fungal stones dating from 3000 BC have been found in ritual contexts in Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence of peyote use dates back to over 5000 years. Several chroniclers, mainly Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, described their effects in the sixteenth century. CONCLUSIONS: The use of psychoactive substances was common in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican societies. Today, local shamans and healers still use them in ritual ceremonies in Mesoamerica.
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... Entheogens are a group of substances with known psychoactive effects that are used within spiritual and religious ritual contexts, often with a goal of awakening, transcendence, and/or personal development (4). Many Native American cultures, both past and present, have drawn on their botanical knowledge and incorporated particular species into ritual, social, and medicinal practices (5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14). There are numerous plant species native to South America that contain psychoactive compounds, and their use by ancient specialists provides significant clues concerning past knowledge systems and the importance of certain species for cultural practices (5,11,15). ...
... There are numerous plant species native to South America that contain psychoactive compounds, and their use by ancient specialists provides significant clues concerning past knowledge systems and the importance of certain species for cultural practices (5,11,15). Hallucinogenic plants, in particular, have been used in numerous American contexts to establish a bridge between society and supernatural forces (6,7,9,16,17). In South America, the ethnographic documentation of the consumption of some critical plants has been linked with a deeper history of their use by means of archaeological research (18). ...
... One significant compound we did not identify in the ritual bundle is mescaline, a phenethylamine alkaloid (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine), which is known for its hallucinogenic effects and has a history of being used in the Americas as an entheogen (6,7,9). Echinopsis pachanoi (previously listed as Trichocereus pachanoi), also known as San Pedro cactus, is native to South America and contains mescaline. ...
Humans have a long history of using natural resources, especially plants, to induce nonordinary states of consciousness. Imbibing substances derived from plants have been linked to ancient and elaborate knowledge systems and rituals. While archaeological evidence of the consumption of psychotropics, such as alcohol or caffeine, dates back thousands of years, evidence of the use of other psychoactive substances has been more difficult to document. This article presents the results of chemical analyses of organic residues found in a 1,000-year-old ritual bundle recovered from the highland Andes. The analyses provide evidence of the use of multiple psychoactive plants associated with a sophisticated botanical knowledge system among ritual specialists (shamans) during pre-Columbian times.
... Natural sources of psychedelic indolethylamines, such as psilocybin, N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-methoxy-DMT) have long been used for ceremonial and medicinal purposes. Traditional preparations from plants (ayahuasca), fungi ('magic mushrooms'; Psilocybe spp.), and animals including certain toads are known to induce trance-like states important in the cultural practices of various peoples, especially those in Mesoamerica (Carod-Artal, 2015). Toad skin and parotid gland tissues accumulate a variety of specialized metabolites including toxic guanidine alkaloids, lipophilic alkaloids, poisonous steroids, and hallucinogenic indolethylamines such as DMT, 5-methoxy-DMT, and bufotenin in varying quantities depending on the species (Figure 1, Supplemental Figure 1) (Rodríguez et al., 2017). ...
... The biosynthesis of these toad alkaloids has also not been elucidated, aside from early cursory investigations establishing tryptophan as the entry-point metabolite (Udenfriend et al. 1956). Cane toad is an important ingredient in the mildly intoxicating balché prepared by modern and ancient Mayan peoples (Carod-Artal, 2015) although its status as an invasive pest has prompted more intense investigation over the past two decades (Tingely et al. 2017). ...
Psychedelic indolethylamines have emerged as potential medicines to treat several psychiatric pathologies. Natural sources of these compounds include ‘magic mushrooms’, plants used to prepare ahayuasca, and toads. Owing to the occurrence of indolethylamines such as N,N -dimethyltryptamine, toad skin and parotid gland preparations have a history of ceremonial use, yet their biosynthesis remains uncharacterized. We report the isolation of an indolethylamine N -methyltransferase (RmNMT) from cane toad ( Rhinella marina ). Unlike functionally similar mammalian and fungal enzymes, the efficiency and promiscuity of RmNMT made it suitable for the bioproduction of new-to-nature indolethylamine derivatives. N,N -Dimethylated indolethylamines showed reduced affinity and engagement at 5-HT 1A and 5-HT 2A receptors respectively, compared with primary amine equivalents. Despite reduced 5-HT 2A receptor engagement of tertiary amines, only these molecules induced hallucinogenic behavior in mice underscoring the importance of metabolic stability. The discovery of RmNMT facilitated the establishment of a bioproduction platform for the isolation and pharmacological screening of novel indolethylamines.
... Balché is very low. The presence of alkaloids has been reported (Quezada-Euán, 2018), mainly nicotine, quinine, caffeine, and morphine (Carod-Artal, 2015;Crane, 2001). In addition, the presence of flavonoids in the bark of L. yucatanensis has been described (Borges-Argáez et al., 2017). ...
... Several anthropological or ethnobotanical studies indicate that the leaves of L. longistylus are used as a treatment for asthma and headaches, and as an antitussive agent. The beverage has also been associated with antiparasitic effects, certain laxative and antibacterial effects, and finally, as a narcotic effects when used in a balché extract (Crane, 2001;Carod-Artal, 2015;Knowlton & Yam, 2019). Some ingredients that are present in the bark or added during production have exhibited some interesting properties. ...
In Mexico, close to 200 fermented products have been described, of which, approximately 20 are beverages. They were obtained through rustic and ancestral fermentation methods by different indigenous Mexican communities; most of them were used in ceremonies, agricultural work, and other occasions. For their elaboration, different substrates obtained from plants are used, where uncontrolled and low-scale spontaneous anaerobic fermentation occurs. In Mexico, some of these products are considered as nutritional sources and functional beverages; the study of those products has revealed the presence of multiple compounds of biological importance. Additionally, elder generations attribute healing properties against diverse illnesses to these beverages. The aim of this review is to highlight the available information on twelve traditional Mexican fermented beverages, their traditional uses, and their fermentation processes along with toxicological, chemical, nutritional, and functional studies as seen from different areas of investigation. In the literature, pulque, cocoa, and pozol were the beverages with the greatest amount of described health properties; sendechó and guarapo were less characterized. Polyphenols, gallic and ferulic acid, anthocyanins and saponins were the most abundant molecules in all beverages. Finally, it is important to continue this research in order to determine the microorganisms that are involved in the fermentation process, as well as the organoleptic and beneficial properties they lend to the traditional Mexican fermented beverages.
... well-documented and nicotine from tobacco is considered a key element in these practices 42,44 . To examine the influence of nicotine on behavioral arrest and the HTR, animals were given an oral dose of nicotine and returned to their home cage for 30 min before injection with 25I-NBOH and being placed in the open field. ...
... Hallucinogens have been used by knowledgeable and highly skilled pre-Columbian Mesoamerican practitioners for over 5000 years, with the ritualistic and religious use of hallucinogens often incorporating the use of tobacco (Nicotiana rustica) 42 . It is thought that the addition of nicotine enhances the effects of hallucinogens on states of consciousness 44 . ...
Perception, emotion, and mood are powerfully modulated by serotonin receptor (5-HTR) agonists including hallucinogens. The 5-HT2AR subtype has been shown to be central to hallucinogen action, yet the precise mechanisms mediating the response to 5-HT2AR activation remain unclear. Hallucinogens induce the head twitch response (HTR) in rodents, which is the most commonly used behavioral readout of hallucinogen pharmacology. While the HTR provides a key behavioral signature, less is known about the meso level changes that are induced by 5-HT2AR activation. In response to administration of the potent and highly selective 5-HT2AR agonist 25I-NBOH in mice, we observe a disorganization of behavior which includes frequent episodes of behavioral arrest that consistently precede the HTR by a precise interval. By combining behavioral analysis with electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings we describe a characteristic pattern composed of two distinctive EEG waveforms, Phase 1 and Phase 2, that map onto behavioral arrest and the HTR respectively, with the same temporal separation. Phase 1, which underlies behavioral arrest, is a 3.5–4.5 Hz waveform, while Phase 2 is slower at 2.5–3.2 Hz. Nicotine pretreatment, considered an integral component of ritualistic hallucinogen practices, attenuates 25I-NBOH induced HTR and Phase 2 waveforms, yet increases behavioral arrest and Phase 1 waveforms. Our results suggest that in addition to the HTR, behavioral arrest and characteristic meso level slow waveforms are key hallmarks of the response to 5-HT2AR activation. Increased understanding of the response to serotonergic hallucinogens may provide mechanistic insights into perception and hallucinations, as well as regulation of mood.
... Psychedelics have been used for healing purposes since prehistoric times in some cultures (Carod-Artal, 2015;Guerra-Doce, 2015). However, more widespread use, as well as clinical research on psychedelics in the West, did not start until the mid-20th century, following the discovery of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)'s psychoactive properties in 1943 (Hofmann and Ott, 1980), and the isolation and synthesis of psilocybin from 'magic mushrooms' in the following decade (Hofmann et al., 1959). ...
Growing numbers of people are using psychedelics for personal psychotherapy outside clinical settings, but research on such use is scarce.
This study investigated the patterns of use, self-reported outcomes and outcome predictors of psychedelic 'self-treatment' of mental health conditions or specific worries/concerns in life.
We use data from the Global Drug Survey 2020, a large online survey on drug use collected between November 2019 and February 2020. In all, 3364 respondents reported their self-treatment experiences with lysergic acid diethylamide (N = 1996) or psilocybin mushrooms (N = 1368). The primary outcome of interest was the 17-item self-treatment outcome scale, items reflecting aspects of well-being, psychiatric symptoms, social-emotional skills, and health behaviours.
Positive changes were observed across all 17 outcome items, with the strongest benefits on items related to insight and mood. Negative effects were reported by 22.5% of respondents. High intensity of psychedelic experience, seeking advice before treatment, treating with psilocybin mushrooms and treating post-traumatic stress disorder were associated with higher scores on the self-treatment outcome scale after averaging values across all 17 items. Younger age, high intensity of experience and treating with LSD were associated with increased number of negative outcomes.
This study brings important insights into self-treatment practices with psychedelics in a large international sample. Outcomes were generally favourable, but negative effects appeared more frequent than in clinical settings. Our findings can help inform safe practices of psychedelic use in the community, and inspire clinical research. Future research can be improved with utilisation of prospective designs and additional predictive variables.
... Serotonergic ("classic") psychedelics are a broad category of drugs that includes psilocybin, dimethyltryptamine (DMT, the psychoactive ingredient of ayahuasca), and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). These psychedelics have been used as therapeutic agents for thousands of years in various cultures (6). Clinical research into psychedelic treatments began in the 1950s; about 40,000 individuals had been studied by the late 1960s when concerns about their safety and their recreational use led to their classification as Schedule 1 narcotics in the US (7). ...
Current treatment options for major depressive disorder (MDD) have limited efficacy and are associated with adverse effects. Recent studies investigating the antidepressant effect of serotonergic psychedelics-also known as classic psychedelics-have promising preliminary results with large effect sizes. In this context, we conducted a review of the putative neurobiological underpinnings of the mechanism of antidepressant action of these drugs.
A narrative review was conducted using PubMed to identify published articles evaluating the antidepressant mechanism of action of serotonergic psychedelics.
Serotonergic psychedelics have serotonin (5HT)2A agonist or partial agonist effects. Their rapid antidepressant effects may be mediated-in part-by their potent 5HT2A agonism, leading to rapid receptor downregulation. In addition, these psychedelics impact brain derived neurotrophic factor and immunomodulatory responses, both of which may play a role in their antidepressant effect. Several neuroimaging and neurophysiology studies evaluating mechanistic change from a network perspective can help us to further understand their mechanism of action. Some, but not all, data suggest that psychedelics may exert their effects, in part, by disrupting the activity of the default mode network, which is involved in both introspection and self-referential thinking and is over-active in MDD.
The mechanisms of action underlying the antidepressant effect of serotonergic psychedelics remains an active area of research. Several competing theories are being evaluated and more research is needed to determine which ones are supported by the most robust evidence.
... Psychedelics (from the Greek psyche (mind) and delius (to manifest)) are substances that induce transient states of profoundly altered perception, thought and emotion, and have been used for thousands of years in ceremonial contexts in multiple cultures (Carod-Artal, 2015;Grinspoon and Bakalar, 2018;Sessa, 2005Sessa, , 2007. Their effects are particularly dependent on the context in which they are administered Nichols and Walter, 2021) -when administered in a safe context, a common acute effect is a disruption of ego-boundaries, which results in a blurring of the distinction between self-representation and object-representation, known as 'ego dissolution' (Anderson and Rawnsley, 1954;Cohen and Eisner, 1959;Denber, 2006;Eisner and Cohen, 1958;Klee, 1963;Lewis and Sloane, 1958;Millière, 2017;Nour et al., 2016). ...
Ketamine is an N-methyl-d-aspartate antagonist which is increasingly being researched and used as a treatment for depression. In low doses, it can cause a transitory modification in consciousness which was classically labelled as ‘dissociation’. However, ketamine is also commonly classified as an atypical psychedelic and it has been recently reported that ego dissolution experiences during ketamine administration are associated with greater antidepressant response. Neuroimaging studies have highlighted several similarities between the effects of ketamine and those of serotonergic psychedelics in the brain; however, no unified account has been proposed for ketamine’s multi-level effects – from molecular to network and psychological levels. Here, we propose that the fast, albeit transient, antidepressant effects observed after ketamine infusions are mainly driven by its acute modulation of reward circuits and sub-acute increase in neuroplasticity, while its dissociative and psychedelic properties are driven by dose- and context-dependent disruption of large-scale functional networks. Computationally, as nodes of the salience network (SN) represent high-level priors about the body (‘minimal’ self) and nodes of the default-mode network (DMN) represent the highest-level priors about narrative self-experience (‘biographical’ self), we propose that transitory SN desegregation and disintegration accounts for ketamine’s ‘ dissociative’ state, while transitory DMN desegregation and disintegration accounts for ketamine’s ‘ psychedelic’ state. In psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, a relaxation of the highest-level beliefs with psychotherapeutic support may allow a revision of pathological self-representation models, for which neuroplasticity plays a permissive role. Our account provides a multi-level rationale for using the psychedelic properties of ketamine to increase its long-term benefits.
... Psychedelics constitute a class of drugs with origins in certain plants, animals, and fungi that have a long history of human use. Records indicate that their consumption in ancient cultural rituals-to achieve altered states of consciousness and spiritual insightdate back millennia (Wasson, 1978;Carod-Artal, 2015;Byock, 2018). Their inception into mainstream Western culture followed the introduction of mescaline in the early 1900s and the synthesis of a novel psychedelic, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), in 1938 (Nichols, 2016;Nichols and Walter, 2021) (The psychoactive effects of LSD were not discovered until 5 years later, in 1943). ...
Neuroimaging studies of psychedelics have advanced our understanding of hierarchical brain organization and the mechanisms underlying their subjective and therapeutic effects. The primary mechanism of action of classic psychedelics is binding to serotonergic 5-HT2A receptors. Agonist activity at these receptors leads to neuromodulatory changes in synaptic efficacy that can have a profound effect on hierarchical message-passing in the brain. Here, we review the cognitive and neuroimaging evidence for the effects of psychedelics: in particular, their influence on selfhood and subject-object boundaries—known as ego dissolution—surmised to underwrite their subjective and therapeutic effects. Agonism of 5-HT2A recep-tors, located at the apex of the cortical hierarchy, may have a particularly powerful effect on sentience and consciousness. These effects can endure well after the pharmacological half-life, suggesting that psychedelics may have effects on neural plasticity that may play a role in their therapeutic efficacy. Psychologi-cally, this may be accompanied by a disarming of ego resistance that increases the repertoire of perceptual hypotheses and affords alternate pathways for thought and behavior, including those that undergird selfhood. We consider the interaction between serotonergic neuromodulation and sentience through the lens of hierarchical predictive coding, which speaks to the value of psychedelics in understanding how we make sense of the world and specific predictions about effective connectivity in cortical hierarchies that can be tested using functional neuroimaging. Significance Statement——Classic psychedelics bind to serotonergic 5-HT2A receptors. Their agonist activity at these receptors leads to neuromodulatory changes in synaptic efficacy, resulting in a profound effect on information processing in the brain. Here, we synthesize an abundance of brain imaging research with pharmacological and psychological interpretations informed by the framework of predictive coding. Moreover, predictive coding is suggested to offer more sophisticated interpretations of neuroimaging find-ings by bridging the role between the 5-HT2A receptors and large-scale brain networks.
... Plant-based hallucinogens and dissociative agents have been used within various cultures' medicinal and religious practices for thousands of years (Carod-Artal, 2015;Nichols, 2004). Although hallucinogens were classified as a Schedule I substance in the 1970 U.S. Controlled Substances Act (Belouin & Henningfield, 2018), empirical studies have brought a resurgence of attention to potential risks and benefits related to their use, which have recently resulted in multiple state initiatives to reevaluate their legal status (Ballotpedia, 2020;California Legislative Information, February 17, 2021). ...
Information on time trends in use of different plant-based hallucinogens is lacking. The current study used nationally representative U.S. data to assess overall and age-specific time trends in the prevalence of lifetime and 12-month use of plant-based hallucinogens and dissociative agents.
Participants were respondents aged ≥12 years (N=1,006,051) from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002-2019. Predictors were continuous years. Outcomes included illicit use of peyote, mescaline, psilocybin, ketamine, salvia, and tryptamine. Sociodemographic variables (gender; age; race/ethnicity; educational level; family income) were modeled as covariates. Trends were estimated overall and by age (12-17, 18-25, 26+). Prevalence differences [PDs] were obtained for each category, along with 95% confidence intervals [CI].
Increases in lifetime use were observed for psilocybin (2002-2019 PD=+1.61), tryptamine (2006-2014 PD=+0.55; 2015-2019 PD=+0.44), and ketamine (2006-2014 PD=+0.27; 2015-2019 PD=+0.21). Mescaline use decreased (PD=-0.89). While overall lifetime salvia use increased between 2006-2014 (PD=+1.81), prevalence did not change between 2015-2019. Twelve-month use of tryptamine and ketamine increased between 2006-2014 (PD=+0.14; +0.03, respectively). Twelve-month ketamine use also increased from 2015-2019 (PD=+0.03). By age, participants aged 12-17 and 18-25 showed decreases in use of most types of hallucinogens, but those age 26+ generally showed increases.
While use of plant-based hallucinogens and dissociative agents remains rare, lifetime use of ketamine, tryptamine, and psilocybin is increasing in adults. Considering these increases alongside concerns about unsupervised use of illicit products whose dose and composition is uncertain, clinicians and policymakers should remain mindful of the rising rates of illicit use in the general population.
... Amanita muscaria; psilocybin-produced mushrooms), they were worshiped and venerated as gods and played important roles in some civilizations (e.g. ancient Mesoamerica) (Wasson, 1957;Crundwell, 1987;Furst, 2004;Carod-Artal, 2015;Guzm an, 2015). The discovery of mushroom motifs and mushroom stones in excavations of Mayan temple ruins strongly underscores the important cultural roles these mushrooms played (De Borhegyi, 1961). ...
Mushrooms have long been considered as delicacies as well as used as important dietary supplements and food. However, there are major concerns with poisonous mushrooms as these pose threats to public health and safety. In this paper, we provide a review focusing on poisonous mushrooms, their toxins, symptoms and utilizations. In addition, this paper establishes a poisonous mushroom list which includes 643 species from two phyla, 16 orders, 51 families and 148 genera. The toxicity of all these species was verified and 332 species were ranked as P1 signifying that these species have toxic studies and or clinical poisoning case records and 311 species were P2 meaning they had previously been recorded as poisonous in other studies. Furthermore, we discuss advances in technology including how genomic studies could be used as a breakthrough tool in the field of toxic mushrooms. With this comprehensive review, we aim to promote public awareness of poisonous mushrooms, including how to avoid mushroom poisoning, and how to better utilize poisonous mushroom resources.
... The relatively short history of psychedelics in the western world began with early research on mescaline in the early twentieth century and was then accelerated by the discovery of LSD by Hofmann in 1943 (Nichols andWalter, 2021). On the contrary, in Central-and South America plant-derived substances like psilocybin, DMT (in the form of ayahuasca) and mescaline (in the form of peyote and the san pedro cactus) look back on a rich history in traditional medicinal and spiritual use of 1´000 to over 5′000 years (Miller et al., 2019, Bruhn et al., 2002, Carod-Artal, 2015, Carod-Artal and Vazquez-Cabrera, 2006. The term atypical psychedelics can be used to summarize substances that also induce characteristic altered states of consciousness and profound perceptual changes but do so via various molecular mechanisms and pharmacological receptor profiles (Calvey and Howells, 2018). ...
This is a narrative review about the role of classic and two atypical psychedelics in the treatment of unipolar and bipolar depression. Since the 1990s, psychedelics experience a renaissance in biomedical research. The so-called classic psychedelics include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin, mescaline and ayahuasca. Characteristic effects like alterations in sensory perception, as well as emotion- and self-processing are induced by stimulation of serotonin 2A receptors in cortical areas. The new paradigm of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy suggests a therapeutic framework in which a safely conducted psychedelic experience is integrated into a continuous psychotherapeutic process. First randomized, controlled trials with psilocybin show promising efficacy, tolerability, and adherence in the treatment of unipolar depression. On the other hand, classic psychedelics seem to be associated with the induction of mania, which is an important issue to consider for the design of research and clinical protocols. So called atypical psychedelics are a heterogeneous group with overlapping subjective effects but different neurobiological mechanisms. Two examples of therapeutic value in psychiatry are 3,4-methyl enedioxy methamphetamine (MDMA) and ketamine. Since 2020 the ketamine enantiomer esketamine has been granted international approval for treatment-resistant unipolar depression, and also first evidence exists for the therapeutic efficacy of ketamine in bipolar depression. Whether psychedelics will fulfil current expectations and find their way into broader clinical use will depend on future rigorous clinical trials with larger sample sizes. A well-considered therapeutic and legal framework will be crucial for these substances to create new treatment settings and a potential paradigm shift.
... The sacramental consumption of mescaline, via ingestion of the Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii), occurred in Native American ceremonies as far back as 5 millennia , and there is evidence to suggest that DMT-containing plants have been ingested by some in South America since 2130 BC . Similarly, psilocybin-containing mushrooms may have been used in Mesoamerican ceremonies for at least 3500 years . ...
There is currently renewed interest in the use of psychedelic therapy in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, including depression. The proposed systematic review will aim to identify, evaluate and summarise the psychological processes of change underlying psychedelic therapy for depression in the current literature and consider the implications these processes may have on the psychotherapy component of treatment.
Scopus, PsycINFO, PubMed and Web of Science databases will be searched using relevant terms. Studies will be included if they discuss the use of a classic psychedelic to treat depression symptomology in an adult population and report or propose psychological processes responsible for depression symptom change. Two authors will independently screen articles, complete quality assessment tools and conduct data extraction. Empirical and non-empirical research will be extracted and synthesised separately. A narrative synthesis approach will be used to report psychological processes identified in the literature.
This systematic review will be the first to collate available evidence on the psychological processes associated with psychedelic therapy for depression. The preliminary nature of this research field is expected to result in the review having several limitations, namely heterogeneity between studies and the inclusion of limited empirical research. We intend for this review to present the current state of the literature, identify gaps and generate candidate variables that warrant further investigation.
... Psilocybin containing mushrooms were used ceremonially in 16 th century Mexico prior to Spanish prohibition. There are some indications that use extended far earlier than this; stone sculptures of mushrooms capped with faces of Gods or animal-like demons were found in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico, the oldest of which dates back to before 500 B.C. 4,5 Despite this long history of use, psilocybin mushrooms were only popularised in Western culture in the 1950s through the article 'Seeking the magic mushroom', written by mycologist Gordon Wasson and published in Life magazine. 6 He was inspired to write the article after being introduced to the ritualistic use in Mexico, where he ingested psychoactive mushrooms in a group session and emerged 'awestruck' from the experience. ...
Psilocybin as a novel treatment for depression is garnering a lot of attention from both the mainstream media and the academic community. Although phase 3 trials are only just beginning, we feel that it is important for clinicians to consider what psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy might look like in the clinical setting. In this narrative review article we have considered the difficulties that may arise as psilocybin emerges from the research setting, which may hamper its progress towards becoming a licenced medication. Psilocybin has its own unique challenges: the expectation patients come to dosing with having read overwhelmingly positive media; patient suggestibility under the influence of psilocybin and requirement for specialised therapists to name a few. We have also made some recommendations for measures that should be taken in both the phase 3 trials and with clinicians to try and minimise some of the issues raised. In doing so our hope is that psilocybin will continue towards becoming a licenced medication that suitable patients are able to access with relative ease. Practicing psychiatrists need to have an awareness of the potential pitfalls of psilocybin as they will be responsible for prescribing it in the future.
... Psilocybin-containing mushrooms ('magic mushrooms') have been used in some ancient cultures from prehistoric times (Carod-Artal, 2015), but more widespread use of the psychedelic did not start until the 1970s, following modern western research on psilocybin and increased knowledge about identification and cultivation of magic mushroom species (Andersson et al., 2009). The subjective effect of psilocybin is likely determined by partial agonism at the 5-HT2A receptor, which includes perceptual alterations (e.g. ...
Psilocybin-containing mushrooms are used for recreational, spiritual, self-development and therapeutic purposes. However, physiologically relatively nontoxic, adverse reactions are occasionally reported.
This study investigated the 12-month prevalence and nature of magic mushroom-related adverse reactions resulting in emergency medical treatment seeking in a global sample of people reporting magic mushroom use.
We use data from the 2017 Global Drug Survey – a large anonymous online survey on patterns of drug use conducted between November 2016 and January 2017.
Out of 9233 past year magic mushroom users, 19 (0.2%) reported having sought emergency medical treatment, with a per-event risk estimate of 0.06%. Young age was the only predictor associated with higher risk of emergency medical presentations. The most common symptoms were psychological, namely anxiety/panic and paranoia/suspiciousness. Poor ‘mindset’, poor ‘setting’ and mixing substances were most reported reasons for incidents. All but one respondent returned back to normality within 24 h.
The results confirm psilocybin mushrooms are a relatively safe drug, with serious incidents rare and short lasting. Providing harm-reduction information likely plays a key role in preventing adverse effects. More research is needed to examine the detailed circumstances and predictors of adverse reactions including rarer physiological reactions.
... Another potential drink once held in the Pacbitun vase is balché. This fermented drink is made from honey and the bark of the balché tree (Lonchocarpus violaceus), and has mild intoxicating properties (Carod-Artal 2011;Ratsch 2005;Slotkin 1954). Balché was an important ritual drink for the ancient Maya, and continues to be part of ritual practices among Mayan speakers of Central America today (De Lima et al. 1977;McGee 1990;Ratsch 2005;Thompson 1972: 43;Vail and Dedrick 2020). ...
The material plays a fundamental and active role in the social lives of people, from objects like containers or buildings to food and other consumables. In this paper, evidence from absorbed residues are used to explore the contents of an Ulúa-style marble vase found in a royal courtyard at the ancient Maya site of Pacbitun in west-central Belize. Those results indicate that the vase once held concoctions containing cacao, willow and possibly vanilla. Significantly, the results also confirm residues of the important Maya ritual drink balché, in an ancient container. By placing the vase and its contents in the history of Pacbitun, we demonstrate the important role of this object and its contents in dedicatory rituals practiced in this region; we argue that subsequent disturbance of the context and the vase in antiquity points to the fragmentation of kingship.
... Most relevant clinical trials for depression focus on the therapeutic potential of psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in "magic" mushrooms. In the West, Albert Hoffman was the first to recognize the psilocybin molecule, which exists in over 100 mushroom species (Hofmann et al. 1958), but religious ceremonies and rituals have focused on the fungi for thousands of years (Carod-Artal 2015). Although critics question the efficacy of placebo controls (Muthukumaraswamy, Forsyth, and Lumley 2021), meta-analyses of clinical trials suggest promise, particularly for rapid onset of relief. ...
Depression treatments succeed with many but leave others unimproved, and they can generate concerns about side effects, time, and cost. Psilocybin has generated media attention and empirical support for antidepressant effects, but lay impressions of its effectiveness are unclear. Although perceptions of treatment credibility contribute to outcome, beliefs about the credibility of psilocybin-assisted therapy (PAT) among potential patients remain uninvestigated, especially relative to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a common, empirically-validated approach. The present study examined credibility ratings for CBT and PAT among individuals reporting depressive symptoms. Participants (N = 803) from Amazon’s MTurk platform reported demographics, depressive symptoms, and psychotherapy experience, then read data-based vignettes describing each therapy and rated their credibility. Individuals rated CBT as more credible than PAT. Those with therapy experience rated CBT as more credible than those without. Men and lifetime hallucinogen users rated PAT more credible than women and non-users, but few other predictors accounted for much variance in credibility. Results suggest that potential clients appear cautious about PAT. As continued work examines the effectiveness of psychedelic-assisted interventions, researchers and clinicians must consider patients’ beliefs about treatments as potential predictors of outcomes. Additionally, the paradigm used here might have potential for examining credibility of many interventions.
... Dupuis argues that even hallucinatory images are influenced by extrapharmacological factors including "cultural priors and acquired knowledge" (Dupuis, 2021). In the study of Indigenous cultures, anthropologists and other researchers have long asserted that the suggestibility-enhancing attributes of psychedelics are key ingredients in fostering social cohesion and reinforcing group norms. 1 Dobkin de Rios and Rumrrill (2008) have linked this phenomenon to the psychological concept 1 Group norms famously vary: large-scale ritual human sacrifice of the Nahua Aztecs and Mayans occurred in a context of regular consumption of both mescaline and psilocybin (Carod-Artal, 2015;Jay, 2019). Some members of the Northwestern Amazonian Jivaro-Shuar have used ayahuasca for war-making where the brew is used specifically to prepare the user to fight and improve their killing abilities (Rubenstein, 2012;Gearin and Devenot, 2021). of "bounded rationality, " defined as the human tendency to act based on social influence. ...
Recent media advocacy for the nascent psychedelic medicine industry has emphasized the potential for psychedelics to improve society, pointing to research studies that have linked psychedelics to increased environmental concern and liberal politics. However, research supporting the hypothesis that psychedelics induce a shift in political beliefs must address the many historical and contemporary cases of psychedelic users who remained authoritarian in their views after taking psychedelics or became radicalized after extensive experience with them. We propose that the common anecdotal accounts of psychedelics precipitating radical shifts in political or religious beliefs result from the contextual factors of set and setting, and have no particular directional basis on the axes of conservatism-liberalism or authoritarianism-egalitarianism. Instead, we argue that any experience which challenges a person's fundamental worldview—including a psychedelic experience—can precipitate shifts in any direction of political belief. We suggest that the historical record supports the concept of psychedelics as “politically pluripotent,” non-specific amplifiers of the political set and setting. Contrary to recent assertions, we show that conservative, hierarchy-based ideologies are able to assimilate psychedelic experiences of interconnection, as expressed by thought leaders like Jordan Peterson, corporadelic actors, and members of several neo-Nazi organizations.
... Since the 1970s, mushrooms containing these hallucinogens have been commonly eaten by young people in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and other European countries for recreational purposes . However, a long-term obsession with such substances will cause neurotoxicity, and the out-of-control of behaviours will easily lead to the occurrence of criminal cases . On account of the psilocybin-induced hallucinations and intensified emotions, the non-medical administration of psilocybin might also induce dangerous behaviours or even suicides [7,8]. ...
Hallucinogenic mushroom is a kind of toxic strain containing psychoactive tryptamine substances such as psilocybin, psilocin and ibotenic acid, etc. The mushrooms containing hallucinogenic components are various, widely distributed and lack of standard to define, which made a great challenge to identification. Traditional identification methods, such as morphology and toxicology analysis, showed shortcomings in old or processed samples, while the DNA-based identification of hallucinogenic mushrooms would allow to identify these samples due to the stability of DNA. In this paper, four primer sets are designed to target Psilocybe cubensis DNA for increasing resolution of present identification method, and the target markers include largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (marked as PC-R1), psilocybin-related phosphotransferase gene (marked as PC-PT), glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (marked as PC-3) and translation EF1α (marked as PC-EF). Real-time PCR with high-resolution melting (HRM) assay were used for the differentiation of the fragments amplified by these primer sets, which were tested for specificity, reproducibility, sensitivity, mixture analysis and multiplex PCR. It was shown that the melting temperatures of PC-R1, PC-PT, PC-3 and PC-EF of P. cubensis were (87.93 ± 0.12) °C, (82.21 ± 0.14) °C, (79.72 ± 0.12) °C and (80.11 ± 0.19) °C in our kinds of independent experiments. Significant HRM characteristic can be shown with a low concentration of 62.5 pg/µL DNA sample, and P. cubensis could be detected in mixtures with Homo sapiens or Cannabis sativa. In summary, the method of HRM analysis can quickly and specifically distinguish P. cubensis from other species, which could be utilized for forensic science, medical diagnosis and drug trafficking cases.
Supplemental data for this article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1080/20961790.2021.1875580.
... Psilocybin is the active ingredient in a group of naturally occurring mushrooms around the world and has been consumed by humans for centuries . It was first isolated from Central American mushrooms known as Psilocybe Mexicana by, again, the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann . ...
The utility of hallucinogenic drugs within psychiatry is an emerging topic, although not entirely a novel idea. After their introduction to western society in the mid-twentieth century, psychologists and psychiatrists studied their properties for use as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of psychiatric illness. Unfortunately, their classification as Schedule 1 drugs by the Drug Enforcement Administration in the 1970s put an end to this research. In the past decade, however, interest in hallucinogens has been reignited. The psychiatric community has begun to reinvestigate their role in mental health treatment, with addiction being one focus. Though there is a growing pool of research surrounding the use of hallucinogens in addiction treatment, there have been few reviews focusing on this topic. This paper will serve to summarize this data, focusing specifically on the following hallucinogenic agents: lysergic acid diethylamide, psilocybin, ketamine, ibogaine, and ayahuasca. It will review both the basic pharmacology of each of these chemicals and studies assessing their use in treating various addictions including alcoholism, nicotine addiction, opioid use disorder, and cocaine use disorder. Though more robust research is needed before use of these drugs can be effectively adopted into clinical practice, the current data is promising and suggests the potential for a new and unique avenue for the treatment of addiction.
... 4 Psilocybin can be found in over 100 species of mushrooms, many of them belonging to the genus Psilocybe, 5 and their use dates back more than 3500 years in Mexico. 6 However, psilocybin was first isolated only in 1958 by Albert Hofmann. 7 Shortly after, it became marketed as Indocybin; however, clinical research on psilocybin was scarce, limited to anecdotal casereports. ...
Background: Psilocybin is a predominant agonist of 5HT1A and 5HT2A/C receptors and was first isolated in 1958, shortly before it became a controlled substance. Research on the potential therapeutic effects of this compound has recently re-emerged alongside what is being addressed as a psychedelic renaissance.
Methods: In this paper we performed a systematic review of the clinical trials conducted so far regarding the therapeutic effects of psilocybin on psychiatric disorders. The eligibility criteria included clinical trials that assessed psilocybin's potential therapeutic effects on patients with psychiatric disorders. Nine hundred seven articles were found and screened in regard to the title, from which 94 were screened through abstract and 9 met the eligibility criteria and were included.
Results: The papers published focused on 3 disorders: depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and substance use disorder (namely tobacco and alcohol). Psilocybin has shown a relatively safe profile and very promising results, with reductions found on most of the psychiatric rating scales’ scores. Research on depression showed the most solid evidence, supported by 3 randomized controlled trials. Studies on OCD and substance use disorder showed more limitations due to their open-label design.
Conclusions: Altogether, the results from the studies reviewed in this paper suggest a substantial therapeutic potential. This calls for further research to confirm the results observed so far and further explain the underlying mechanisms.
... There are hundreds of hallucinogenic mushrooms found in nature that contain active compounds, and most of them can be abused and hazardous to human health . In recent years, the consumption of natural biological products with hallucinogenic properties, such as Psilocybe cubensis, has greatly increased [2,3]. The abuse of hallucinogenic mushrooms, plants, or other new types of narcotics leads to a negative influence on society, while the existence of many similar species, various hallucinogenic components, and widespread distribution all make the species identification of these hallucinogens difficult . ...
In recent years, trafficking and abuse of hallucinogenic mushrooms have become a serious social problem. It is therefore imperative to identify hallucinogenic mushrooms of the genus Psilocybe for national drug control legislation. An internal transcribed spacer (ITS) is a DNA barcoding tool utilized for species identification. Many methods have been used to discriminate the ITS region, but they are often limited by having a low resolution. In this study, we sought to analyze the ITS and its fragments, ITS1 and ITS2, by using high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis, which is a rapid and sensitive method for evaluating sequence variation within PCR amplicons. The ITS HRM assay was tested for specificity, reproducibility, sensitivity, and the capacity to analyze mixture samples. It was shown that the melting temperatures of the ITS, ITS1, and ITS2 of Psilocybe cubensis were 83.72 ± 0.01, 80.98 ± 0.06, and 83.46 ± 0.08 °C, and for other species, we also obtained species-specific results. Finally, we performed ITS sequencing to validate the presumptive taxonomic identity of our samples, and the sequencing output significantly supported our HRM data. Taken together, these results indicate that the HRM method can quickly distinguish the DNA barcoding of Psilocybe cubensis and other fungi, which can be utilized for drug trafficking cases and forensic science.
... The sacramental consumption of mescaline, via ingestion of the Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii), has occurred in Native American ceremonies for at least 5 millennia (4), and there is evidence to suggest that DMT-containing plants have been ingested by some in South America since 2130 BC (5). Similarly, psilocybin-containing mushrooms may have been used in Mesoamerican ceremonies for 3500 years (6). ...
There is currently renewed interest in the use of psychedelic therapy in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, including depression. The proposed systematic review will aim to identify, evaluate and summarise the psychological processes of change underlying psychedelic therapy for depression in the current literature and consider the implications these processes may have on the psychotherapy component of treatment. Methods
Scopus, PsycINFO, PubMed and Web of Science databases will be searched using relevant terms. Studies will be included if they discuss the use of a classic psychedelic to treat depression symptomology in an adult population and report or propose psychological processes responsible for depression symptom change. Two authors will independently screen articles, complete quality assessment tools and conduct data extraction. Empirical and non-empirical research will be extracted and synthesised separately. A narrative synthesis approach will be used to report psychological processes identified in the literature. DiscussionThis systematic review will be the first to collate available evidence on the psychological processes associated with psychedelic therapy for depression. The preliminary nature of this research field is expected to result in the review having several limitations, namely heterogeneity between studies and a lack of empirical research. We intend for this review to present the current state of the literature, identify gaps and generate candidate variables that warrant further investigation. Systematic Review RegistrationPROSPERO CRD42020197202
... Los mayas llamaban al Psylocibe cubensis, el teonanacatl y los aztecas lo denominaban k'aizalaj Okox. En rituales también era popular utilizar otras especies como Paneollus y Stropharias (Carod 2015). ...
En la última década han sido realizados dos estudios importantes sobre hongos en el Caribe nicaragüense. Ambos estudios están aislados en el tiempo, sin embargo proveen de una importante base científica que ayuda a entender la composición de la biota fúngica de nuestro Caribe. Este artículo es un resumen de ambas investigaciones en las cuales se presenta una lista de las especies de hongos encontradas en ambos estudios y se muestran con especial interés algunas especies que tienen importancia por su comestibilidad, El artículo contiene además fotografías de hongos que incluyen algunas de las especies mencionadas.
... Transformation into a nahual by donning a mask permitted communication with the divine using an alternative 'face' (Monaghan 1995, 99) or 'skin' (Galinier 1990, 619) of a deity or ancestor. This process was akin to, and perhaps enhanced by, such activities as the use of hallucinogens, sustained meditation or chanting, dancing, or physical exhaustion producing states of altered consciousness (Carod-Artal 2015;Tedlock 2005, 142-70). ...
The production and use of masks at multiple scales and in diverse contexts is a millennia-long tradition in Mesoamerica. In this paper, we explore some implications of Mesoamerican masking practices in light of materiality studies and the archaeology of the senses. We also discuss a collection of 22 masks, miniature masks and representations of masks from the lower Río Verde valley of coastal Oaxaca, Mexico. The iconography of these artefacts as well as their recovery from well-documented archaeological contexts inform our interpretations of masking practices during an approximately 2000-year span of the Formative period (2000 bc–ad 250). Specifically, we argue that these masking-related artefacts index sociocultural changes in the region, from the first villages and the advent of ceramic technology during the Early Formative period (2000–1000 bc ) to a time of increasing consolidation of iconographic influence in the hands of the elite in the final centuries before the Classic period. As indicated by their continued use today, masks have long been intimates of communal activities in Oaxaca.
... Such perceptions are likely based on the proposed similar rationale to the other substances that it is already illegal, and participants struggle to envision a reality in which psilocybin is socially acceptable. In other cultures where psychedelic drugs are used in ritual healing ceremonies (Carod-Artal, 2015), it is unlikely many participants would have a bad feeling at the suggestion of a healing substance being available in a pharmacy. ...
Contemporary research indicates that the legal classifications of cannabis (Schedule 2, Class B), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) (Schedule 1, Class A) and psilocybin (Schedule 1, Class A) in the United Kingdom are not entirely based on considerations of harm and therapeutic utility. The legal classifications of the substances discussed are typically determined by legislators such as Parliament and, therefore, may be a reflection of the views or perceived views of the general public.
The aim of the study was to provide an indication of the underlying psychology regarding the legislated sale of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, MDMA and psilocybin in pharmacies according to a UK general population sample.
A sample of 105 UK nationals was selected for the survey. Participants were asked questions on perceived relative harm of the five substances. After viewing contemporary information on reported relative harm and therapeutic applications, the participants were asked questions related to using the pharmacy retail model for the sale of the substances discussed. Participants who opposed the substances being sold primarily in pharmacies were asked to explain their rationale according to a predetermined list of options for each of the five drugs. Participants were also asked whether they consider it a human right to be legally permitted to consume the substances.
The participants' perceptions of relative harm (tobacco > MDMA > psilocybin > alcohol > cannabis) were not in agreement with the relative harm reported in the literature (alcohol > tobacco > cannabis > MDMA > psilocybin). Principal objections to the currently illicit substances being legally available in pharmacies include it sending the wrong message; it feels wrong; it is too dangerous; disliking the smell of cannabis; disapproval of the people; and not liking the idea of people using psychoactive drugs for entertainment or to have mystical/religious experiences. Overall, the participants determined that being legally permitted to consume the substances discussed is an issue of relevance to human rights. A majority of the male participants concluded that being legally permitted to consume alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and Psilocybe mushrooms is a human right in contrast to the majority of female participants who solely considered alcohol consumption to be a human right.
The data suggest that the legal classifications may not simply be based on considerations of harm. Misperceptions of the dangers, biases and non-health-related aversions likely contribute to the continuation of policies that do not reflect the state of scientific research.
... God encounter and mystical experiences have also been described after ingestion of classic psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and mescaline, all of whose actions are mediated at the serotonin 2A receptor . Historically, the use of psychedelic-containing plants and fungi in ceremonial and religious contexts dates back hundreds and likely thousands of years . Indeed, the Aztecs called one or more species of psilocybin mushrooms Teonanácatl, which is translated as "flesh of the gods" or "God's flesh" [17,18]. ...
Naturally occurring and psychedelic drug–occasioned experiences interpreted as personal encounters with God are well described but have not been systematically compared. In this study, five groups of individuals participated in an online survey with detailed questions characterizing the subjective phenomena, interpretation, and persisting changes attributed to their single most memorable God encounter experience (n = 809 Non-Drug, 1184 psilocybin, 1251 lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 435 ayahuasca, and 606 N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT)). Analyses of differences in experiences were adjusted statistically for demographic differences between groups. The Non-Drug Group was most likely to choose "God" as the best descriptor of that which was encountered while the psychedelic groups were most likely to choose "Ultimate Reality." Although there were some other differences between non-drug and the combined psychedelic group, as well as between the four psychedelic groups, the similarities among these groups were most striking. Most participants reported vivid memories of the encounter experience, which frequently involved communication with something having the attributes of being conscious, benevolent, intelligent, sacred, eternal, and all-knowing. The encounter experience fulfilled a priori criteria for being a complete mystical experience in approximately half of the participants. More than two-thirds of those who identified as atheist before the experience no longer identified as atheist afterwards. These experiences were rated as among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant lifetime experiences, with moderate to strong persisting positive changes in life satisfaction, purpose, and meaning attributed to these experiences. Among the four groups of psychedelic users, the psilocybin and LSD groups were most similar and the ayahuasca group tended to have the highest rates of endorsing positive features and enduring consequences of the experience. Future exploration of predisposing factors and phenomenological and neural correlates of such experiences may provide new insights into religious and spiritual beliefs that have been integral to shaping human culture since time immemorial.
... The shamanic practices with entheogens form an impressive record of acquired knowledge of ASC and may contribute new insights in the neuroscience of consciousness (Perry, 2010). In shamanic cultures, psychoactive plants and preparations have been used for millennia by in the New World and the Old World to explore spiritual realms and for healing purposes (Ratsch, 2005;Carod-Artal, 2014). Psychoactive plants and mushrooms also played a key role in Old World religions (Shanon, 2002;Rush, 2013). ...
... Humans have been consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms for centuries . The Psilocybe cubensis mushroom is one of the more commonly sought species by people using hallucinogenic mushrooms recreationally. ...
Psilocybe mushrooms are consumed for their hallucinogenic properties. Fortunately, there are relatively few adverse effects associated with their consumption. This is the first reported case of acute kidney injury (AKI) secondary to confirmed ingestion of Psilocybe cubensis mushroom.
A 15-year-old male developed symptomatic AKI 36 h post-ingestion of Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms. He was admitted to hospital with hypertension, nausea and abdominal pain and a creatinine of 450 mmol/L. A sample of the crop of mushrooms was confirmed by mass spectrometry to contain psilocin. On day 5 post-admission, he was discharged home. Outpatient follow-up confirmed complete resolution of his renal function.
While psychedelics have been shown to improve psycho-spiritual well-being, the underlying elements of this change are not well-characterized. The NIH-HEALS posits that psycho-social-spiritual change occurs through the factors of Connection, Reflection & Introspection, and Trust & Acceptance. This study aimed to evaluate the changes in NIH-HEALS scores in a cancer population with major depressive disorder undergoing psilocybin-assisted therapy.
In this Phase II, single-center, open label trial, 30 cancer patients with major depressive disorder received a fixed dose of 25 mg of psilocybin. Participants underwent group preparation sessions, simultaneous psilocybin treatment administered in separate rooms, and group integration sessions, along with individual care. The NIH-HEALS, a self-administered, 35-item, measure of psycho-social spiritual healing was completed at baseline and post-treatment at day 1, week 1, week 3, and week 8 following psilocybin therapy.
NIH-HEALS scores, representing psycho-social-spiritual wellbeing, improved in response to psilocybin treatment (p < 0.001). All three factors of the NIH-HEALS (Connection, Reflection & Introspection, and Trust & Acceptance) demonstrated positive change by 12.7 %, 7.7 %, and 22.4 %, respectively. These effects were apparent at all study time points and were sustained up to the last study interval at 8 weeks (p < 0.001).
The study lacks a control group, relies on a self-report measure, and uses a relatively small sample size with limited diversity that restricts generalizability.
Findings suggest that psilocybin-assisted therapy facilitates psycho-social-spiritual growth as measured by the NIH-HEALS and its three factors. This supports the factors of Connection, Reflection & Introspection, and Trust & Acceptance as important elements for psycho-social-spiritual healing in cancer patients, and validates the use of the NIH-HEALS within psychedelic research.
The use of plants with psychoactive properties by ancient communities has been confirmed in numerous archaeological studies conducted in almost every place on earth. Many tribes used their own characteristic psychoactive potions and, according to researchers, their use fostered the integration of the members of a given community, facilitated their existence in an occupied area and could be of significant importance for its survival. Around the psychoactive plants and toxic secretions of some species of fauna a conglomerate of myths, cults and the properties attributed to them has developed. Permanent traces of their presence remain in both non-material and material culture. The aim of this article is to present the representations of psychoactive substances in the beliefs of ancient communities, their occurrence in myths, rock or sepulchral art, and to discuss the reasons for their use during rituals. The article presents also the main causes of the diffusion of the use of psychoactive plants from the sacred to the profane sphere.
The hallucinogen psilocybin is a potential novel treatment for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Our goal is to review current knowledge on psilocybin and its efficacy in TRD. Literature searches were done on PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar, references reviewed in identified articles and other articles found on the website of COMPASS Pathways. Psilocybin treatment consists usually of a single oral administration of 25 mg of psilocybin along with psychological support for 5-8 hours during the ensuing hallucinogenic trip. Common side-effects include headache, nausea, fatigue and insomnia. A systematic review has demonstrated significant antidepressant efficacy in certain groups and a double-blind randomized study found antidepressant efficacy of psilocybin comparable to the SSRI escitalopram. In the phase 2 study of COMPASS Pathways, the psilocybin-COMP360 treatment led to a rapid response and remission as early as three weeks following the treatment for around one third of participants. Recent studies have shown that psilocybin significantly decreases the severity of depressive symptoms and is generally well tolerated. Further research will reveal whether it will be granted a license to treat treatment-resistant depression in the near future. There remains an urgent need for novel treatments for those who do not respond to current antidepressant therapies.
Psilocybin microdosing involves repeated self-administration of mushrooms containing psilocybin at doses small enough to not impact regular functioning. Microdose practices are diverse and include combining psilocybin with substances such as lion's mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus; HE) and niacin (vitamin-B3). Public uptake of microdosing has outpaced evidence, mandating further prospective research. Using a naturalistic, observational design, we followed psilocybin microdosers (n = 953) and non-microdosing comparators (n = 180) for approximately 30 days and identified small-to medium-sized improvements in mood and mental health that were generally consistent across gender, age and presence of mental health concerns, as we all as improvements in psychomotor performance that were specific to older adults. Supplementary analyses indicated that combining psilocybin with HE and B3 did not impact changes in mood and mental health. However, among older microdosers combining psilocybin, HE and B3 was associated with psychomotor improvements relative to psilocybin alone and psilocybin and HE. Our findings of mood and mental health improvements associated with psilocybin microdosing add to previous studies of psychedelic microdosing by using a comparator group and by examining the consistency of effects across age, gender, and mental health. Findings regarding the combination of psilocybin, HE and B3 are novel and highlight the need for further research to confirm and elucidate these apparent effects.
Cannabis sativa, Datura stramonium, Nicotiana tabacum, and Carica papaya are plants that naturally grow in Nigeria. They are reportedly rich in neuroactive compounds that are capable of reacting with the nervous system to elicit psychoactive and/or toxic effects that deter predators. However, despite the toxicological potential of these plants, their recreational use is on the rise due to the psychoactivity they proffer and prevalence in Nigeria. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the plants’ recreational use, mechanism of actions and toxicities. Relevant published documents on psychoactive plants in Nigeria were obtained from Web of Science between 2002 and 2020. Non-English documents, documents not in Science Citation Index Expanded and Google Scholar were removed while 1186 documents were reviewed. Results showed that the plants are recreationally used in Nigeria with a higher prevalence than the global frequency. They are very addictive and lead to dependence. The plants were also observed to elicit different mechanism of action, though the activation of monoaminergic neurotransmission system was common to all. Regrettably, the plants could be toxic when ingested under non-medical conditions. Conclusively, these plants are addictive with potential toxic effects. Therefore, control of the recreational use of these plants should be revamped and overhauled.
Through a socio-legal and historical exploration of ecological controversies, this dissertation attempts to demonstrate the following thesis: that Western legal systems have historically tended to exclude the ecological practices and traditions of indigenous and other marginalized communities; and that the emergence and progressive structuration of discourses and legal regulations aiming at the protection of the environment have not resulted in a structural questioning of these dynamics. Yet, despite these patterns of discrimination within the law, our inquiry shall reveal that there exist a variety of avenues that could allow more inclusive legal arrangements, recognizing the ecological pluralism inherent to every human society. Can marginalized minorities, and most notably indigenous communities, be prevented from hunting endangered species, living in protected areas or using psychoactive substances, when these prohibitions violate their core ecological values? Under what conditions can legal institutions find a way beyond ethnocentrism and articulate ecological pluralism despite persisting colonial legacies? These are among the questions that this dissertation endeavors to address.
Psychedelic drugs including psilocybin, N,N'-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) are undergoing a renaissance as potentially useful drugs for various neuropsychiatric diseases, with a rapid onset of therapeutic activity. Notably, phase II trials have shown that psilocybin can produce statistically significant clinical effects following one or two administrations in depression and anxiety. These findings have inspired a 'gold rush' of commercial interest, with nearly 60 companies already formed to explore opportunities for psychedelics in treating diverse diseases. Additionally, these remarkable phenomenological and clinical observations are informing hypotheses about potential molecular mechanisms of action that need elucidation to realize the full potential of this investigative space. In particular, despite compelling evidence that the 5-HT2A receptor is a critical mediator of the behavioural effects of psychedelic drugs, uncertainty remains about which aspects of 5-HT2A receptor activity in the central nervous system are responsible for therapeutic effects and to what degree they can be isolated by developing novel chemical probes with differing specificity and selectivity profiles. Here, we discuss this emerging area of therapeutics, covering both controversies and areas of consensus related to the opportunities and perils of psychedelic and psychedelic-inspired therapeutics. We highlight how basic science breakthroughs can guide the discovery and development of psychedelic-inspired medications with the potential for improved efficacy without hallucinogenic or rewarding actions.
Algae and fungi share a rich history in the fields of basic and applied natural science. In biotechnology, in particular, algae and fungi are of paramount importance, due to the production and development of valuable compounds, such as pharmaceuticals, enzymes, and biofuels. They are also used in waste fermentation, biocontrol of pathogens, and food processing and improvement, among other fields. Although a substantial number of different microorganisms are utilized for these purposes, there lies tremendous potential in uncharacterized microbial species. For this reason, biodiversity hotspots offer a wealth of potential in the discovery of new products and processing strategies based on these microorganisms. This review presents an overview of the use of algae and fungi in pre-Hispanic times/modern-day Mexico for the benefits of mankind. One of our objectives is to raise awareness about the potential of developing research projects for identification and biotechnological utilization of algae and fungi in a megadiverse country, such as Mexico.
The use of psychedelic substances at sub-sensorium ‘ microdoses’, has gained popular academic interest for reported positive effects on wellness and cognition. The present study describes microdosing practices, motivations and mental health among a sample of self-selected microdosers ( n = 4050) and non-microdosers ( n = 4653) via a mobile application. Psilocybin was the most commonly used microdose substances in our sample (85%) and we identified diverse microdose practices with regard to dosage, frequency, and the practice of stacking which involves combining psilocybin with non-psychedelic substances such as Lion’s Mane mushrooms, chocolate, and niacin. Microdosers were generally similar to non-microdosing controls with regard to demographics, but were more likely to report a history of mental health concerns. Among individuals reporting mental health concerns, microdosers exhibited lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress across gender. Health and wellness-related motives were the most prominent motives across microdosers in general, and were more prominent among females and among individuals who reported mental health concerns. Our results indicate health and wellness motives and perceived mental health benefits among microdosers, and highlight the need for further research into the mental health consequences of microdosing including studies with rigorous longitudinal designs.
Mushrooms are highly valued for a number of medicinal properties as well as a source of food from prehistoric times. They are the fructifications of higher fungi largely Basidiomycetes and to some extant Ascomycetes, which are present above the ground or underground. Mushrooms are classified as wild, cultivated, edible and poisonous ones. The consumption of mushrooms might have started with the wild ones as part of the human diet from the ancient times, because of their nutritive and therapeutic values. Some mushrooms were considered sacred by ancient people. They have been used for thousands of years to attain spiritual heights. The ethnomycological knowledge of mushrooms remained restricted for a longer time within local communities and tribes. There is a huge literature about the use of psychoactive mushroom in religious ceremonies by different ancient cultures, to induce states of trans and connect with the divine. Also a number of medicinal mushrooms were being used in the healing of various diseases. With the advancement of scientific knowledge, research on the mushrooms have extended beyond its food values. Many bioactive components present in diverse species of wild and edible mushrooms have been isolated, identified and characterized which are responsible for their hallucinogenic, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant and other beneficial properties. Globally, they have become more popular nowadays and are being cultivated for these conventional values, non-conventional values as well as a source of income for landless farmers. The present chapter supplies a critical Significance of Indian Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms-Dr. Ved Prakash ISBN 978-93-90627-49-3 435 overview of the ethno-mycology of mushrooms along with their antioxidant properties.
Nowadays, the use and harnessing of vegetal resources has resulted in much ethnobotanical research, which has documented a rapid erosion of traditional knowledge in native Peruvian cultures, encouraging its preservation and consequent revaluation. In order to ease the analysis of the data obtained in the multiple studies that have been made, this proposal constitutes an approximation of the classification criteria for the categories of plant uses associated with the life and culture of Peruvian inhabitants. These use categories’ definitions are the result of 130 field expeditions carried out by the authors, in coastal, Andean and Amazon Peruvian communities, as well as the evaluation of 17 281-use registries documented in nine foreign and Peruvian herbaria. The nine use categories proposed in this article, are divided in 60 subcategories: medicinal (21), social (8), human food (3), animal food (3), materials (10), toxic (4), ethnoveterinary medicine (2), environmental (6) and fuel (3). The authors conclude that the proposal of the use categories standardization will simplify the compilation and analysis of plant uses in a community, and it will allow making comparisons between different ecosystems and communities.
An international ban on psychedelics initiated by the United Nations’
Convention on Psychotropic Substances in 1971 restricted the clinical use of these
ancient psychoactive substances. Yet, in an era marked by rising mental health
concerns and a growing ‘‘Deaths of Despair’’ epidemic (i.e., excess mortality and
morbidity from suicide, drug overdose, and alcoholism), the structured psychedelic
use that has long been a part of ritual healing experiences for human societies is
slowly regaining credibility in Western medicine for its potential to treat various
mental health conditions. We use a historical lens to examine the use of psychedelic
therapies over time, translate ancient lessons to contemporary clinical and research
practice, and interrogate the practical and ethical questions researchers must grapple
with before they can enter mainstream medicine. Given the COVID-19 pandemic
and its contributions to the global mental health burden, we also reflect on how
psychedelic therapy might serve as a tool for medicine in the aftermath of collective
trauma. Ultimately, it is argued that a ‘‘psychedelic renaissance’’ anchored in the
lessons of antiquity can potentially help shift healthcare systems—and perhaps the
broader society—towards practices that are more humane, attentive to underlying
causes of distress, and supportive of human flourishing.
Smoking pipes discovered in archaeological contexts demonstrate that Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest of North America have practiced smoking for over 4,500 years. Archaeometry and ancient residue metabolomics provide evidence for the association of particular plants with these artifacts. In this article, we synthesize recent research on ancient smoking and present current knowledge on the spatiotemporal distribution of smoking in the past. The presence of stone smoking pipes in the archaeological record is paired with our understanding of past plant use based on chemical residue analyses to create a picture of precontact smoking practices. Archaeological pipe data demonstrate that smoking was a widely distributed practice in the inland Northwest over the past several thousand years, but not on the coast. Distributional data—including positive and negative evidence from chemical residue studies—show that tobacco was an important smoke plant in the region as early as around 1,410 years ago and as far north as the mid-Columbia region. Ancient residue metabolomics contributes to a richer understanding of past use of specific plants through the identification of tobacco species and other indigenous plants, including Rhus glabra , Cornus sericia , and Salvia sp., as contributing to the chemical residues in ancient pipes.
Psychoactive natural products play an integral role in the modern world. The tremendous structural complexity displayed by such molecules confers diverse biological activities of significant medicinal value and sociocultural impact. Accordingly, in the last two centuries, immense effort has been devoted towards establishing how plants, animals, and fungi synthesize complex natural products from simple metabolic precursors. The recent explosion of genomics data and molecular biology tools has enabled the identification of genes encoding proteins that catalyze individual biosynthetic steps. Once fully elucidated, the "biosynthetic pathways" are often comparable to organic syntheses in elegance and yield. Additionally, the discovery of biosynthetic enzymes provides powerful catalysts which may be repurposed for synthetic biology applications, or implemented with chemoenzymatic synthetic approaches. In this review, we discuss the progress that has been made toward biosynthetic pathway elucidation amongst four classes of psychoactive natural products: hallucinogens, stimulants, cannabinoids, and opioids. Compounds of diverse biosynthetic origin - terpene, amino acid, polyketide - are identified, and notable mechanisms of key scaffold transforming steps are highlighted. We also provide a description of subsequent applications of the biosynthetic machinery, with an emphasis placed on the synthetic biology and metabolic engineering strategies enabling heterologous production.
El contenido del presente documento presenta una reflexión sobre el problema de las drogas y su relación con el crecimiento, la globalización y la administración pública, específicamente en lo que respecta a las instituciones gubernamentales que se dedican a la administración y aplicación de medidas preventivas y de justicia, lo cual tiene relación con la normatividad y con la institucionalidad; aunque para la presente investigación, la perspectiva social resulta básica para la comprensión del tema, así como para la implementación de las medidas preventivas del consumo de drogas.
El objetivo del documento va más allá de sólo presentar definiciones y estadísticas, pues se pretende, a través de una variedad de temas y criterios, presentar al lector una visión del quehacer público de las instituciones en la planificación de políticas y programas de prevención de las adicciones, desde la óptica de un grupo multidisciplinario cuyos integrantes comparten criterios para entender el comportamiento de las personas envueltas en esta situación y las consecuencias de la misma, tanto para el individuo que las consume como para la sociedad y el país en su conjunto.
La integración del texto está delimitada por tres enfoques centrales: 1) políticas públicas, 2) histórico y social, 3) investigativo; que se desagregan en nueve capítulos, mediante los cuales los autores buscan adentrar al lector en el tema de las adicciones, brindándole la oportunidad de tener a su alcance información actual sobre el tema, y dejándole la opción de elegir la forma de adentrarse en la lectura.
De tal modo, en el presente libro se ofrece una reflexión del abordaje y previsión que se ha tenido en torno al citado fenómeno social, así como las capacidades para medir y controlar este problema social.
Datura stramonium L., plant has been an exemplary source of folklore medicinal herb known for its mental stimulation and curative properties. The noteworthy pharmacological potential of this plant is utilized by Ayurvedic practitioners in the traditional system of Indian medicine. The major active principles contributing to remedying effects of this plant are ascribed to alkaloids, terpenoids, withanolides, steroids, flavonoids, triterpenes, phenolic compounds, carbohydrates, and tannins. These phytoconstituents bequeathed plant with anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, anticholinergic, antispasmodic, antioxidant, antidepressant, antimicrobial, cytotoxic, insecticidal, larvicidal, and herbicidal activity. So far, 64 tropane alkaloids characterized from the Datura plant are of prime importance to humankind. However, a variety of tropane alkaloids are neurotoxic, and their frequent recreational abuse may lead to delirium and even death. Recent studies have been directed toward the therapeutic efficacy of these metabolites and/or their derivatives as lead molecules offering new perspectives in biological, medicinal, and pharmaceutical research. This also encourages the cultivation and conservation of this highly valuable medicinal herb for its putative health benefits and sustainable use at commercial scale.
A particular type of miniature ceramic vessel locally known as “veneneras” is occasionally found during archaeological excavations in the Maya Area. To date, only one study of a collection of such containers successfully identified organic residues through coupled chromatography–mass spectrometry methods. That study identified traces of nicotine likely associated with tobacco. Here we present a more complete picture by analyzing a suite of possible complementary ingredients in tobacco mixtures across a collection of 14 miniature vessels. The collection includes four different vessel forms and allows for the comparison of specimens which had previously formed part of museum exhibitions with recently excavated, untreated containers. Archaeological samples were compared with fresh as well as cured reference materials from two different species of tobacco ( Nicotiana tabacum and N. rustica ). In addition, we sampled six more plants which are linked to mind-altering practices through Mesoamerican ethnohistoric or ethnographic records. Analyses were conducted using UPLC-MS metabolomics-based analytical techniques, which significantly expand the possible detection of chemical compounds compared to previous biomarker-focused studies. Results include the detection of more than 9000 residual chemical features. We trace, for the first time, the presence of Mexican marigold ( Tagetes lucida ) in presumptive polydrug mixtures.
Multiple initiatives at the national and international level support natural drug discovery. Psychiatrists and patients are not well informed about natural psychotropics in general. Existing antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs were developed from atropine, a natural product. Subsequent drug developments were largely based on extension and modification of earlier molecular scaffolds. This limits their mechanisms of action to similar neuropathways. Natural psychotropic substances, particularly those with hallucinogenic and psychedelic properties and different chemical structures, may serve as new paths to novel psychotropic drug development.
The history of psychedelic drug use in psychotherapy spans over half of a century. Presently, psychedelic drugs are being studied as psychotherapy adjuncts. There are promising findings (Evans et al. 2018; Watts et al. 2017; Gasser et al. 2014) on the usage of such drugs as lysergic acid diethylamide, psilocybin, ketamine, and ayahuasca in the treatment of mood disorders. This may be an alternative way to solve the problem of treatment-resistant mood disorders. Novel findings suggest that psychedelic drugs are capable of changing the neural mechanisms underlying mental dysfunction and producing long-lasting improvements in functioning of clinical populations. The alterations produced by these drugs are clustered in a set of regions - the default-mode network (DMN) - which are engaged in various intrinsic processes, e.g. forming internal experience and building self-narrative. Research shows that changes in the DMN are characteristic for mood disorders (Mulders et al. 2015; Kaiser et al. 2015), and for this reason the DMN can become a trigger for response to therapy. Alterations in the DMN may be a marker of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy efficacy, as the state produced by psychedelics is characterised by a pattern of DMN functioning in an opposite way to that seen in mood disorders. In this narrative review we will take a closer look at how some psychedelics effect DMN activity and functional connectivity, sum up the proposed interpretations of such changes, compare those results to findings in the field of mood disorders (mainly depression), and propose future directions for research on psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
A wide range of fungi and medicinal herbs, rich in hallucinogenic substances and widely used for mystic and medicinal purposes, can give rise to neurotoxic symptoms.
We review the toxic syndromes that can arise from the ingestion of hallucinogenic fungi, cacti and plants, together with descriptions of cases of acute poisoning resulting from the use of medicinal herbs and from foodstuffs that are contaminated by mycotoxins. A series of different psychedelic fungi belonging to the Psilocybe, Panaeolus and Stropharia genera contain hallucinogenic alkaloids such as psilocybin. Some of the most notable plants displaying hallucinogenic and sedative properties are Papaver somniferum, Erytroxylum sp. and Cannabis sativa. Infusions of ayahuasca are obtained from the lianas and roots of different plants with psychoactive properties, such as Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis, which contain alkaloids derived from tryptamine and from the beta carboline harmala. Peyote, a cactus rich in mescaline, and Claviceps purpurea (a fungus rich in LSD) are strong hallucinogens. We also examine ergotism and mycotoxicosis from Arthrinium sp. Poisoning from mycotoxin containing moulds on sugar cane can give rise to encephalopathy and late dystonia. Some of the more noteworthy medicinal plants for which neurological toxicity has been reported are Hypericum perforatum, kava kava (Piper methysticum), Aconitum sp. and Callilepis laureola.
Because of the increasingly more widespread consumption of herbs and fungi and their potentially neurotoxic effects, in clinical practice there is a need to be aware of the neurological syndromes deriving from their use.
Peyote, a psychoactive cactus native to the Chihuahuan Desert, has been preserved from excavations at only two archaeological sites: Shumla Caves in the Lower Pecos region of southwest Texas and shelter CM-79 near Cuatro Ciénegas in Coahuila, Mexico. We determined three indistinguishable radiocarbon ages of 5160 ± 45, 5200 ± 35, and 5210 ± 35 14C years BP, yielding a mean age of 5195 ± 20 14C years BP for the three specimens from Shumla Caves. For one of the Cuatro Ciénegas specimens we obtained the first direct radiocarbon date of 835 ± 35 14C years BP. This study demonstrates the use of peyote by inhabitants of the Lower Pecos region of the Chihuahuan Desert about 6000 calendar years ago, and confirms its use by inhabitants of the Cuatro Ciénegas region of the Chihuahuan Desert in Late Prehistoric times. The Shumla Caves' specimens are composed of an aggregate of ground peyote mixed with other plant material, i.e., they appear to be manufactured peyote effigies, and are definitely not intact peyote buttons.
La obra reúne doce libros, que se acabaron de sacar en blanco en mil quinientos sesenta y nueve. Es como una red barredera para sacar a luz todos los vocablos de la lengua mexicana y otros sin romanizar.
Please note that I have uploaded an important update of this topic separately to Academia.edu in 2020: 4P-9: Drink/enema rituals in ancient Maya art. Part one: text (4P-9a) and Part two: figures (4P-9b).
There are various enema scenes on classic Maya pottery, which undoubtedly represent rituals and may very well indicate that the ancient Maya took intoxicating enemas in a ritual context. This idea is quite contrary to the traditional view that the ancient Maya were a contemplative people, who did not indulge in ritual ecstasy. The occasional display of vomiting actors would seem to provide a plausible reason why the Maya opted for rectal application. Some scenes present a fair amount of evidence that an alcoholic beverage may have been taken rectally. Anecdotal experimental evidence suggests that an alcoholic liquid may certainly induce or intensify a state of inebriation, when it is administered via the rectal route. Other scenes open up the possibility that tobacco and the water lily or some other flowering plant may have served as an enema ingredient. The phytochemistry and psychopharmacology of tobacco are well documented and there can be little doubt that this herb may produce toxic effects, when it is taken in the form of a clyster. Unfortunately, little is still known about the constituents and pharmacological activity of the water lily. It is sometimes speculated that this plant is hallucinogenic, but experimental confirmation of this view is still awaited.
Tobacco originates in the New World, where its use by the Pre-Columbian Indians was described by Spanish chroniclers. Studying these accounts it appears that a relatively large part of the descriptions, dealing with the use of tobacco by the Aztecs in Mexico, and on the Caribbean Isles, is devoted to the narcotic and hallucinogenic use of tobacco. In Mexico this use was mainly associated with the priesthood. It is concluded that in Pre-Columbian times tobacco possessed mind-altering properties, which were used by the indigenous population.
In reconstructing early uses of psychotogens in Mesoamerica, mushrooms have occupied the attention of botanists and anthropologists almost the exclusion of other plant motifs. Not all the images and literary fragments extant lend themselves to mycological interpretation. Some authors have interpreted the peltate leaves and flower buds of the psychotogen Nymphaea ampla as being green mushrooms and/or stalked sea shells. The context of presentation, information on the water lily in Maya antiquity, and recent information on the chemistry of this white water lily suggest that we must reassess the role of Nymphaea ampla. In a reevaluation of these ancient literary and iconographic sources, it would seem that both mushrooms and water lilies emerge as important ritual psychotogens. While the contextual use of mushrooms is well known, the water lily has been largely ignored. This presentation provides some perspective on both of these important New World narcotics.
The Aztecs in pre-Columbian Mexico used not only a large number of single hallucinogens, they also used some combinations. The present article describes reports of the use of teotlaqualli, an unction prepared from ololiuhqui and picietl, with a large number of additions. The work of the chroniclers of pre-Columbian Mexico served as a source of information. The teotlaqualli was offered to the gods, for whom it served as food. The Aztec priests smeared themselves with this unction, to lose fear and to get the appropriate state of mind to serve the Aztec gods. A few cases are reported in which the Aztec emperor or soldiers were smeared with teotlaqualli. It is suggested that the black color of some Aztec deities, as depicted in the codices, was due to anointment with teotlaqualli. In addition to its use for psychoactive purposes, teotlaqualli was used in medicine under the name teopatli.
It is usually believed that drugs of abuse are smuggled into the United States or are clandestinely produced for illicit distribution. Less well known is that many hallucinogens and dissociative agents can be obtained from plants and fungi growing wild or in gardens. Some of these botanical sources can be located throughout the United States; others have a more narrow distribution. This article reviews plants containing N,N-dimethyltryptamine, reversible type A monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), lysergic acid amide, the anticholinergic drugs atropine and scopolamine, or the diterpene salvinorin-A (Salvia divinorum). Also reviewed are mescaline-containing cacti, psilocybin/psilocin-containing mushrooms, and the Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina mushrooms that contain muscimol and ibotenic acid. Dangerous misidentification is most common with the mushrooms, but even a novice forager can quickly learn how to properly identify and prepare for ingestion many of these plants. Moreover, through the ever-expanding dissemination of information via the Internet, this knowledge is being obtained and acted upon by more and more individuals. This general overview includes information on the geographical range, drug content, preparation, intoxication, and the special health risks associated with some of these plants. Information is also offered on the unique issue of when bona fide religions use such plants as sacraments in the United States. In addition to the Native American Church's (NAC) longstanding right to peyote, two religions of Brazilian origin, the Santo Daime and the Uniao do Vegetal (UDV), are seeking legal protection in the United States for their use of sacramental dimethyltryptamine-containing "ayahuasca."
The San Pedro cactus contains the alkaloid mescaline and other derivates of phenethylamine with hallucinogenic properties. This cactus was used throughout history by a number of different pre-Columbine cultures and civilisations that settled in northern Peru. In this article we review the ethno-archaeological and ethno-historical evidence of the ritual use of the San Pedro cactus in the pre-Columbine cultures, and these findings are compared with the information provided by current ethnographical studies.
The longer a cactus has been stored, the stronger and the higher its content in mescaline-derived alkaloids will be. Archaeological evidence has been found of the use of San Pedro for magical-religious purposes in the following pre-Columbine cultures: Cupisnique (1500 BC), Chavin (1000 BC), Moche (100-750 AD) and Lambayeque (750-1350 AD). Today's master shamans use San Pedro on altars ('mesas') erected for healing rites in order to treat enchantment and bad luck. The mesa follows a sophisticated ritual: 'levantar' (raise) or sniff tobacco with alcohol, ingest San Pedro, pinpoint the diseases, cleanse the evil and 'florecer' (flourish) the sick person. The mesa rite is performed in the early hours of Tuesdays and Fridays, which are sacred days in the Andean religions. San Pedro is sometimes replaced by an infusion of plants and seeds that contain hallucinogenic components, such as ayahuasca and the 'mishas' (Brugmansia sp.).
The ancient tradition of using the San Pedro cactus for healing and hallucinogenic purposes has remained part of the culture in Andean shamanism up to the present day.
Epilepsy was a well-recognized disease in pre-Columbian cultures. However, anthropological studies about epilepsy in native cultures living at the present time are scarce. The objective of this paper was to study native perception and myths about epilepsy, their magic-religious healing rites and ceremonies, and the natural treatments that archaic cultures used.
An anthropological fieldwork was performed in Central and South America with Tzeltal Maya (Chiapas, Mexico, 1995), Kamayurá (Matto Grosso, Brazil, 1999) and Uru-Chipaya people (Bolivian Andes, 2004). We collected information from shamans and medicine men about epilepsy beliefs and the use of traditional treatments.
Epilepsy is called tub tub ikal by Tzeltal people. It is caused by an attack suffered by the animal spirit who accompanies the person, after a fight between the spirits who serve the forces of good and evil. People with chronic epilepsy are considered witches. Epilepsy is called teawarup by Kamayurá, and is caused by the revenge of the spirit (mama'e) of the armadillo killed by a huntsman. It is treated with two roots, tsimó and wewurú, kneaded and diluted in water. Epilepsy is called tukuri by the Chipaya people, and is originated by a witchcraft that enters into the nose and the head, as a wind. Tukuri is treated with a ritual animal sacrifice called willancha, and by taking several dried insect infusions and bird's blood.
These American native cultures have developed a system of orally transmitted knowledge about epilepsy based on magic-religious traditions.
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