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Hallucinogens comprise a unique collection of substances that are ingested to induce alterations of consciousness. A variety of substances with differing chemical structures is known to induce hallucinations when ingested in nontoxic doses. Hallucinations are usually visual, auditory, and tactile, in varying combinations, depending on the substance ingested, the setting, and the experiences of the person using them. Hallucinogenic substances have been used worldwide for centuries to induce altered states for religious and spiritual purposes. Throughout history, abuse of such substances probably was limited because of the moral and religious significance of their uses. Hallucinogens can be classified and grouped by chemical structure and the compound from which they are derived. Chemically related substances tend to exhibit similar effects. any other agents can be classified as pseudohallucinogens because they produce psychotic and delirious effects without the classic visual disturbances of true hallucinogens. !ne system groups hallucinogens into " ma#or classes that include indole alkaloids, piperidines, phenylethylamines, and cannabinoids. The following is a partial list of the hallucinogens by chemical derivation$ Indole alkaloids • • • • • • • • • • • • • • %ysergic acid diethylamide &%'() %ysergic acid amide &%'A) *silocin *silocybin Atropine and scopolamine Cocaine *hencyclidine &*C*) +etamine escaline ,,"-methylene dioxymethamphetamine & ( A) ethylene dioxyamphetamine & (A) ,-methoxy-",.-methylene dioxyamphetamine & ,,.-dimethoxy-"-methylamphetamine &'T*) /,.-dimethoxy-"-methylamphetamine &(! ) (A)
(elta-0-tetrahydrocannabinol &THC, the active substance in mari#uana)
A number of naturally occurring hallucinogens can be found in plants and mushrooms and grow in many locations in the 1nited 'tates. any of these substances have been involved in ritualistic medicine for a long time, and some are emerging agents of abuse. 2ncluded in these naturally occurring substances are dimethoxytryptamine &( T), psilocybin and psilocin, mescaline, salvinorin A, %'A, and atropine and scopolamine.
LSD and LSA
%'( first appeared in the 1nited 'tates in 30"0. 4ecause of its potent psychotomimetic effects, it was believed to be useful in producing model psychosis for evaluation. As an experimental drug in the 30.5s, %'( was used by psychiatrists and psychologists for the treatment of alcoholism and many neuroses. %'( use also was believed to enhance creativity and promote well-being. 4y the late 30.5s, use of %'( had been proposed as a way to achieve intellectual and spiritual awakening and enlightenment. 2nitial studies in the early 3065s concluded that the drug was safe. 4y the mid 3065s, reports of increasing illicit abuse and adverse effects in patients treated with %'( led the federal government to begin regulation and restriction of its use. Although overall hallucinogen use remains fairly constant, %'( use and street sales of many substances marketed as %'( have increased. 'ince %'( first appeared on the street, its use and popularity have risen and fallen cyclically. %'A is a naturally occurring hallucinogen that is a close analog to %'(. %'A is found in a variety of plants, most notably Ipomoea violacea &morning glory), Argyreia nervosa, and Stipa robusta.
Phencyclidine and ketamine
*C* and ketamine are piperidine derivatives with potent anesthetic properties and illusionogenic properties. *C* was initially marketed as an anesthetic but was withdrawn from use because of widespread reports of postanesthetic dysphoria, delirium, and psychotic behavior. *C* was introduced as a veterinary anesthetic in the late 3065s and, beginning in California, soon became a ma#or drug of abuse. The 7peace pill,7 as it was dubbed in 'an 8rancisco, began to be distributed as everything from THC to %'( and often was added to mari#uana cigarettes. 2t commonly is referred to as 7angel dust.7 +etamine, a widely used anesthetic, increasingly has been found on the streets and often is ingested by large numbers of people at so-called raves.
Psilocin and psilocybin
These indole alkaloids are found worldwide in a variety of mushrooms and have been used by indigenous peoples of Central America for centuries in religious rites. 2ngesting only a few mushrooms may produce hallucinogenic affect, but, generally, large numbers of mushrooms are required. Analysis of street samples of 7psilocybin7 found that less than one third of the samples actually contained the alkaloid.
escaline is a phenylethylamine-derived alkaloid that is found worldwide in a variety of cacti, the best known being the 9orth American peyote cactus. 'imilar to the mushroomderived hallucinogens, mescaline in the form of peyote cactus buttons has been used in rituals by many 9ative Americans for centuries. To achieve the desired effect, .-35 buttons are chewed and ingested.
'alvinorin A is a naturally occurring hallucinogen that is found in a variety of plants but is named from Salvia divinorum, or diviners sage, a member of the mint family. :3; 'alvinorin A is unique, in that unlike other known hallucinogenic substances that interact with serotonin &.-HT/ receptors) metabolism, this substance has been identified as the first known naturally occurring kappa-opioid receptor agonist. This substance has been used by the a<atec 2ndians in exico for ceremonial purposes. Although salvia remains uncontrolled, there are several states that have significantly restricted it, and the (rug =nforcement Agency &(=A) is looking into placing it as a 'chedule 2 controlled substance.:/;
Atropine and scopolamine
Atropine and scopolamine are found in a variety of plants, and overdoses can induce hallucinations as well as a variety of more serious effects. 4oth are found in Datura stamonium &>imson weed), Atropa belladonna &(eadly nightshade), and Mandragora officinarum & andrake), and scopolamine alone in yoscyamus niger &Henbane).
(esigner drugs were originally described as such as they were derived from chemically altered legitimate parent compounds. These drugs were initially derived to circumvent prosecution by the (rug =nforcement Agency. However, changes to federal drug laws in 30?6 made all such chemically altered compounds illegal. ost of these substances are chemically derived from methamphetamine, but increasing numbers of opioid-derived substances as well as new classes of agents are appearing in this category. The best known of the hallucinogenic amphetamine derivatives is ( A, commonly known as 7ecstasy.7 The following is a list of common designer drugs with hallucinogenic properties and the substances they are derived from$ Amphetamine derivatives • • • • • ( A &ecstasy) (A ethylenedioxyethylamphetamine & (=A) !,S -3-&3@,,@-benxodioxol-.@-yl)-/-butanamine &4(4) !,S"# -methylben<odioxolylbutanamine & 4(4)
4en<ylpipera<ines - 4en<ylpipera<ine &4A*), 3-&,,"methylenedioxyben<yl)pipera<ine & (4*) *henylpipera<ines -m -Chlorophenylpipera<ine &mC**), trifluoromethylphenylpipera<ine &T8 **), p -methoxyphenylpipera<ine & e!**) !,S -alpha-pyrrolidinopropiophenone &***) !,S -"@-methoxy-alpha-pyrrolidinopropiophenone & !***) !,S -,@,"@-methylenedioxy-alpha-pyrrolidinopropiophenone & (***) !,S -"@-methyl-alpha-pyrrolidinopropiophenone & ***) !,S -"@-methyl-alpha-pyrrolidinohexanophenone & *H*)
Pyrrolidinophenone derivatives • • • • •
any of the newer designer drugs are also described as belonging to the hallucinogenic tryptamines, of which the naturally occurring agents psilocin, psilocybin, and dimethyltryptamine &( T) belong. Two of the newest agents in the group are 7foxy7 &.e!-(2*T) and alpha-methyltryptamine &A T). !ther agents in this group include bufotenine, alpha-ethyltryptamine, diethyltryptamine &(=T), and .- e!-( T.
What is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic drink made from the stem of the ayahuasca vine, %anisteriopsis caapi. The ayahuasca drink is sometimes, but rarely, made from the ayahuasca vine aloneB almost invariably other plants are added. These additional ingredients are most often the leaves of any of three compa&eros, companion plants C the shrub chacruna, Psychotria viridisB the closely related shrub sameruca, Psychotria carthaginensisB or a vine variously called ocoyagD, chalipanga, chagraponga, and huambisa, Diplopterys cabrerana. Additional plants may be added to this basic two- or three-plant mixture. !ne report lists .. different plant species that have reportedly been used as ayahuasca Eadmixture plants,F and another lists more than 3/5. Ghatever plants the drink may have in addition to ayahuasca, the drink is still called ayahuasca. The term ayahuasca is in the Huechua language. The word huasca is the usual Huechua term for any species of vine. The word aya refers to something like a separable soul, and thus, also, to the spirit of a dead person C hence the two common =nglish translations, Evine of the soulF and Evine of the dead.F The word ayahuasca can apparently have either connotation, depending largely on cultural context. Huechua speakers in Canelos or on the 9apo, as well as the mesti<o shamans with whom 2 have worked, translate the word into 'panish as soga del alma, vine of the soulB people on the 4a#o 1rubamba often translate the word as soga de muerto, vine of the dead, based on a local association of the #ungle generally, and ayahuasca in particular, with a malicious ghost called a bone demon, which seeks to eat people, or kill them through violent sexual intercourse.
The Huechua term ayahuasca is used primarily in present-day *erI and =cuadorB in Colombia the common term for both the vine and the drink is the Tukano term yag' or ya('. There are many additional words for ayahuasca in other indigenous languagesB %uis =duardo %una has listed "/ of them. The ritual use of ayahuasca is a common thread linking the religion and spirituality of almost all the indigenous peoples of the 1pper Ama<on, including the mesti<o populationB it seems probable that the shamanic practices of most of the 1pper Ama<on C 4ra<il, Jene<uela, Colombia, =cuador, *erI, 4olivia C form a single religious culture area. Ayahuasca use is found as far west as the *acific coastal areas of *anamK, Colombia, and =cuadorB southward into the *eruvian and 4olivian Ama<onB among the 2ndians of ColombiaB among the Huichua, Gaoroni, 'huar, and other peoples of =cuadorB and in Ama<onian 4ra<il. %uis =duardo %una has compiled a bibliography of more than ,55 items and has enumerated L/ indigenous groups reported to have used ayahuasca. This 1pper Ama<onian religious culture area is characteri<ed by a number of common features C the use of psychoactive plantsB the presence of magical substances kept within the shamanMs bodyB notions of sickness as caused by the intrusion of pathogenic ob#ects pro#ected by an enemy or sorcererB the ambiguity of shamanic ability to do both good and evilB the central sacrality of tobaccoB the acquisition of songs from the spiritsB the use of songs for the creation of both medicines and poisonsB a focus on healing with the mouth through blowing and suckingB and the importance of sound C singing, whistling, blowing, and rattling C in both healing and sorcery. The ayahuasca drink has several primary actions$ it is a hallucinogen, emetic, purgative, and vermifuge. 2n fact, there is reason to think that the ayahuasca vine was first used for its emetic, purgative, and vermifuge activities. =ven today, the ayahuasca drink is often called, simply, la purga, and used to induce violent vomiting, with hallucinations considered side-effectsB indeed, ayahuasqueros are sometimes called purgueros. 4ut the emetic effect of the ayahuasca drink has spiritual resonance as wellB vomiting shows that the drinker is being cleansed. )a purga misma te ense&a, they sayB vomiting itself teaches you. 2nterestingly, given the emetic effect of the ayahuasca vine, the term used by mesti<o shamans to describe the hallucinatory mental state induced by ayahuasca is mareaci*n, from the verb marearse, feel sick, di<<y, nauseous, drunk, seasick. Ghen the ayahuasca has taken hold and one is hallucinating, one is said to be mareadoB it is a good thing to be buen mareado after drinking ayahuasca. The term has been extended to include the effects of psychoactive plants such as toD, %rugmansia spp., which have no emetic effect. 2t is undoubtedly harmaline, one of the N-carboline components of the ayahuasca vine, that provides its emetic and purgative properties. Harmaline is also found in 'yrian rue, Peganum harmala, from which it was first isolated and after which it was namedB like the ayahuasca vine, 'yrian rue has been used as an emetic and vermifuge. (oses of harmaline as small as /55 mg orally produce nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in human volunteers. 8ive grams of 'yrian rue seeds produce mild nausea and vomitingB higher doses produce both vomiting and diarrhea, in some cases serious enough to be incapacitating. These gastrointestinal effects appear to be related to the ability of harmaline to inhibit peripheral monoamine oxidase-A & A!-A). 2t also appears that there is habituation to the emetic and purgative activity of harmaline$ shamans, who have
drunk ayahuasca hundreds or even thousands of times, seldom exhibit its emetic or purgative effects. Oather, for the shaman, ayahuasca is a teaching plantB it is through the hallucinogenic power of the ayahuasca drink that the hundreds of healing plants, including the plants used for magical attack and defense, reveal their appearance and teach their songsB it is through the power of ayahuasca that the shaman can see distant galaxies and planets, the wellbeing of distant relatives, the location of lost ob#ects, the lover of an unfaithful spouse, and the identity of the sorcerer who has caused a patient to become sick. 2t is the ayahuasca drink that nurtures the shamanMs phlegm, the physical manifestation of shamanic power within the body, used both as defense against magical attack and as a container for the magic darts that are the shamanMs principal weapon. 2t is in fact the companion plant C chacruna or ocoyagD or sameruca C that contains the potent hallucinogen dimethyltryptamine &( T). 4ut, while ( T is effective when administered parenterally, it is, when taken orally, inactivated by peripheral monoamine oxidase-A & A!-A), an en<yme found in the lining of the stomach, whose function is precisely to oxidi<e molecules containing an 9H/ amine group, like ( T. There are thus two ways to ingest ( T or plants containing ( T C by parenteral ingestion through nasal inhalation, smoking, or in#ectionB or by mixing the ( T with an A! inhibitor that prevents the breakdown of ( T in the digestive tract. 2n fact, that is #ust what the ayahuasca vine contains C the N-carbolines harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine, which are potent inhibitors of A!-A. Combining the ingredients of the ayahuasca drink allows the ( T to produce its hallucinogenic effect when orally ingested C a unique solution which apparently developed only in the 1pper Ama<on. 2t is probably worth noting that the ayahuasca drink tastes a+ful. 2t has an oily, bitter taste and viscous consistency that clings to your mouth, with #ust enough hint of sweetness to make you gag. There are also significant differences between parenterally administered ( T and the ayahuasca drink. The effects of parenterally administered ( T appear with startling rapidityB as one user colorfully put it, EThe kaleidoscopic alien express came barreling down the aetheric superhighway and slammed into my pineal.F 2n addition, these effects are short-lived C not much longer than thirty minutes C which at one time earned ( T the street appellation businessman,s lunch. !n the contrary, the effects of the ayahuasca drink appear slowly, even slyly, in thirty to forty minutes, and then last approximately four hours, depending on the strength and constituents of the particular mixture. Oemarkably, while tolerance to the emetic and purgative effects of harmaline develops over time, consistent users of ( T, such as shamans, do not develop tolerance for its hallucinogenic effects.
Humans have been ingesting mind-altering substances for a very long time. hallucinogenhuffinf bowls /,.55 years old have been found on islands in the %esser Antilles, and traditional cultures from the Americas to Africa use hallucinogenic substances for spiritual purposes. Here are some notable substances that send the mind tripping.
LSD is commonly known as 7acid,7 but its scientific name is a mouthful$ lysergic acid diethylamaide. The drug was first synthesi<ed in 30,? from a chemical called ergotamine. =rgotamine, in turn, is produced by a grain fungus that grow on rye. %'( was originally produced by a pharmaceutical company under the name (elysid, but it got a bad reputation in the 30.5s when the C2A decided to research its effects on mind control. The test sub#ects of the C2A pro#ect +1%TOA proved very difficult to control indeed, and many, like counter-culture writer +en +esey, started taking the drug for fun &and for their own form of 3065s enlightenment). *eyote is a cactus that gets its hallucinatory power from mescaline. %ike most hallucinogens, mescaline binds to serotonin receptors in the brain, producing heightened sensations and kaleidoscopic visions. 9ative groups in exico have used peyote in ceremonies for thousands of years, and other mescaline-producing cacti have long been used by 'outh American tribes for their rituals. *eyote has been the sub#ect of many a court battle because of its role in religious practiceB currently, Ari<ona, Colorado, 9ew exico, 9evada and !regon allow some peyote possession, but only if linked to religious ceremonies, according to Ari<ona@s *eyote Gay Church of Pod. 'Magic' Mushrooms The 7magic7 ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms is psilocybin, a compound that breaks down into psilocin in the body. *silocin bonds to serotonin receptors all over the brain, and can cause hallucinations as well as synesthesia, or the mixture of two senses. 1nder the influence, for example, a person might feel that they can smell colors. 2n keeping with the human tradition of eating anything that might alter your mind, people have been ingesting psilocybin-continuing mushrooms for thousands of years. 'ynthetic psilocybin is now under study as a potential treatment for anxiety, depression and addiction. Iboga plant (erived from the African iboga plant, ibogaine is another hallucinogen with a long history of tribal use. ore recently, the drug has shown promise in treating addiction, although mostly in exico and =urope where ibogaine treatment is not prohibited as it is in the 1.'. 1sing ibogaine as therapy is tricky, however. The drug can cause heart rhythm problems, and vomiting is a common side effect. The assachusetts-based ultidisciplinary Association for *sychedelic Oesearch & A*') reports that an estimated 3 in ,55 ibogaine users die due to the drug. The group is studying the long-term effects of ibogaine on patients in drug treatment programs in 9ew Aealand and exico. Salvia divinorum Salvia divinorum, also known as seer@s or diviner@s sage, grows in the cloud forest of !axaca, exico. The native a<atec people have long used tea made out of the leaves in spiritual ceremonies, but the plant can also be smoked or chewed for its hallucinogenic effects. 'alvia is not currently a controlled substance, according to the 9ational 2nstitute on (rug
Abuse, but it is under consideration to be made illegal and placed in the same drug class as mari#uana.
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