Top Ten Psychedelic Drugs

Top Ten Psychedelic Drugs

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       A psychedelic substance is a psychoactive drug whose primary action is to alter cognition and perception. Psychedelics are part of a wider class of psychoactive drugs known as hallucinogens, a class that also includes related substances such as dissociatives and deliriants. Unlike other drugs such as stimulants and opioids which induce familiar states of consciousness, psychedelics tend to affect and explore the mind in ways that result in the experience being qualitatively different from those of ordinary consciousness. The psychedelic experience is often compared to non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as trance, meditation, yoga and dreaming.

  1. DMT
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    N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound of the tryptamine family. DMT is found in several plants, and also in trace amounts in humans and other mammals, where it is originally derived from the essential amino acid tryptophan, and ultimately produced by the enzyme INMT during normal metabolism. The natural function of its widespread presence remains undetermined. Structurally, DMT is analogous to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT), the hormone melatonin, and other psychedelic tryptamines, such as 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenin, and psilocin (the active metabolite of psilocybin). In some cultures DMT is ingested as a psychedelic drug (in either extracted or synthesized forms). When DMT is inhaled or consumed, depending on the dose, its subjective effects can range from short-lived milder psychedelic states to powerful immersive experiences, which include a total loss of connection to conventional reality, which may be so extreme that it becomes ineffable. DMT is also the primary psychoactive in ayahuasca, an Amazonian Amerindian brew employed for divinatory and healing purposes. Pharmacologically, ayahuasca combines DMT with an MAOI, an enzyme inhibitor that allows DMT to be orally active.
    Links: The Pineal Gland, Sun Gazing, DMT and OM,  Top Ten DMT Works of Art, Top Ten Paintings by Alex Grey,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethyltryptamine,
    Videos: DMT The Spirit Molecule (Film),
  2. Ayahuasca
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           Ayahuasca is any of various psychoactive infusions or decoctions prepared from the Banisteriopsis spp. vine, usually mixed with the leaves of dimethyltryptamine-containing species of shrubs from the Psychotria genus. The brew, first described academically in the early 1950’s by Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, who found it employed for divinatory and healing purposes by the native peoples of the Amazonian Colombia, is known by a number of different names. A notable property of ayahuasca is that neither of the ingredients cause any significant psychedelic effects when imbibed alone; they must be consumed together in order to have the desired effect. How indigenous peoples discovered the psychedelic properties of the ayahuasca brew remains unknown.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayahuasca,
  3. Peyote (Mescaline)
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           Lophophora williamsii, better known by its common name Peyote (from the Nahuatl word peyotl), is a small, spineless cactus with psychoactive alkaloids, particularly mescaline. It is native to southwestern Texas and Mexico. It is found primarily in the Chihuahuan desert and in the states of Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi among scrub, especially where there is limestone. Known for its psychoactive properties when ingested, it is used world wide as an entheogen and supplement to various transcendence practices including meditation, psychonautics and psychedelic psychotherapy. Peyote has a long history of ritualistic and medicinal use by indigenous Americans. It was in 1886 that the German pharmacologist, Louis Lewin, published the first systematic study of the cactus, to which his own name was subsequently given. Anhalonium lewinii was new to science, however to the Indians of Mexico and the American Southwest it was a friend of immemorially long standing. Indeed, it was much more than a friend. In the words of one of the early Spanish visitors to the New World, “they eat a root which they call peyote, and which they venerate as though it were a deity.”
    Links: Top Ten Peyote Works of Art, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peyote,
  4. Magic Mushrooms
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           Psilocybin mushrooms (magic mushrooms, teónanácatl, teotlaquilnanácatl, xochinanácatl) are fungi that contain the psychoactive compounds psilocybin and psilocin. There are multiple colloquial terms for psilocybin mushrooms, the most common being shrooms or magic mushrooms. Biological genera containing psilocybin mushrooms include Agrocybe, Conocybe, Copelandia, Galerina, Gerronema, Gymnopilus, Hypholoma, Inocybe, Mycena, Panaeolus, Pluteus, Psilocybe and Weraroa. There are approximately 190 species of psilocybin mushrooms and most of them fall in the genus Psilocybe.
    Links: Top Ten Magic Mushroom Works of Art, Top 40 Mushrooms,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_mushrooms,
  5. Fly Agaric Mushrooms (Amanita Muscaria)
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           Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita, is a poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus, one of many in the genus Amanita. Native throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Amanita muscaria has been unintentionally introduced to many countries in the southern hemisphere, generally as a symbiont with pine plantations, and is now a true cosmopolitan species. It associates with various deciduous and coniferous trees. The quintessential toadstool, it is a large white-gilled, white-spotted, usually deep red mushroom, one of the most recognizable and widely encountered in popular culture. Several subspecies, with differing cap color, have been recognized to date, including the brown regalis (considered a separate species), the yellow-orange flavivolvata, guessowii, and formosa, and the pinkish persicina. Genetic studies published in 2006 and 2008 show several sharply delineated clades which may represent separate species. Although it is generally considered poisonous, deaths from its consumption are extremely rare, and it is eaten as a food in parts of Europe, Asia and North America after parboiling. Amanita muscaria is now primarily famed for its hallucinogenic properties, with its main psychoactive constituent being the compound muscimol. It was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia and has a religious significance in these cultures. There has been much speculation on traditional use of this mushroom as an intoxicant in places other than Siberia; however, such traditions are far less well documented. The American banker and amateur ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson proposed that the fly agaric was in fact the soma of the ancient Rig Veda texts of India; since its introduction in 1968 this theory has gained both followers and detractors in anthropological literature. On October 18th 2011 Author Shamans Odin Hawk and Venus presented historic Vedic evidence before the MSSF (Mycological Society of San Francisco), identifying Amanita as ancient Soma.
    Links: Top 40 Mushrooms, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_muscaria,
  6. Soma
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           Soma (Sanskrit सोम sóma), or Haoma (Avestan), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities. In the Avesta, Haoma has the entire Yašt 20 and Yasna 9-11 dedicated to it. The Rigveda calls the plant the “God for Gods” seemingly giving him precedence above Indra and the other Gods (RV 9.42) It is described as prepared by extracting juice from the stalks of a certain plant. In both Vedic and Zoroastrian tradition, the name of the drink and the plant are the same, and the three forming a religious or mythological unity. There has been much speculation concerning what is most likely to have been the identity of the original plant. There is no solid consensus on the question, although most Western experts outside the Vedic and Avestan religious traditions now seem to favor a species of Ephedra, perhaps Ephedra sinica.
    Links: Top 40 Mushrooms, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soma,
  7. LSD
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           Lysergic acid diethylamide, abbreviated LSD or LSD-25, also known as lysergide and colloquially as acid, is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug of the ergoline family, well known for its psychological effects which can include altered thinking processes, closed and open eye visuals, synaesthesia, an altered sense of time and spiritual experiences, as well as for its key role in 1960’s counterculture. It is used mainly as an entheogen, recreational drug, and as an agent in psychedelic therapy. LSD is non-addictive, is not known to cause brain damage and has extremely low toxicity relative to dose, although adverse psychiatric reactions such as anxiety or delusions are possible even at low doses. LSD was first synthesized by Albert Hofmann in 1938 from ergotamine, a chemical derived by Arthur Stoll from ergot, a grain fungus that typically grows on rye. The short form “LSD” comes from its early code name LSD-25, which is an abbreviation for the German “Lysergsäure-diethylamid” followed by a sequential number. LSD is sensitive to oxygen, ultraviolet light, and chlorine, especially in solution, though its potency may last for years if it is stored away from light and moisture at low temperature. In pure form it is a colorless, odorless and mildly bitter solid. LSD is typically delivered orally, usually on a substrate such as absorbent blotter paper, a sugar cube, or gelatin. LSD is very potent, with 20–30 µg (micrograms) being the threshold dose. Introduced by Sandoz Laboratories, with trade-name Delysid, as a drug with various psychiatric uses in 1947, LSD quickly became a therapeutic agent that appeared to show great promise. In the 1950’s the CIA thought it might be applicable to mind control and chemical warfare; the agency’s MKULTRA research program propagated the drug among young servicemen and students. The subsequent recreational use of the drug by youth culture in the Western world during the 1960’s led to a political firestorm that resulted in its prohibition. Currently, a number of organizations, including the Beckley Foundation, MAPS, Heffter Research Institute and the Albert Hofmann Foundation, exist to fund, encourage and coordinate research into the medicinal and spiritual uses of LSD and related psychedelics.
    Links: Top Ten Blotter ArtTop Ten LSD Works of Arthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lsd,
  8. Cannabis
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    Though not an overly visual hallucinogenic, someone once put it best that Cannabis is more of an interior hallucigenic, allowing one to tap deeply into one’s own consciousness. Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that includes three putative species, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. These three taxa are indigenous to Central Asia, and South Asia. Cannabis has long been used for fiber (hemp), for seed and seed oils, for medicinal purposes, and as a recreational drug. Industrial hemp products are made from Cannabis plants selected to produce an abundance of fiber. To satisfy the UN Narcotics Convention, some hemp strains have been developed which contain minimal levels of THC (Δ9- tetrahydrocannabinol), one of the psychoactive molecules that produces the “high” associated with marijuana. The psychoactive product consists of dried flowers of plants selectively bred to produce high levels of THC and other psychoactive chemicals. Various extracts including hashish and hash oil are also produced from the plant.
    Links: Cannabis, Top Ten Cannabinauts, Top Ten Cannabis PostersTop Ten Cannabis Cup Posters,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis,
  9. Thorn Apple/Jimson Weed/Datura (contains tropane alkaloids)
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           Datura is a genus of nine species of vespertine flowering plants belonging to the family Solanaceae. They are known as angel’s trumpets, sometimes sharing that name with the closely related genus Brugmansia, and commonly as daturas. They are also sometimes called moonflowers, one of several plant species to be so. Its precise and natural distribution is uncertain, owing to its extensive cultivation and naturalization throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the globe. Its distribution within the Americas, however, is most likely restricted to the US and Mexico, where the highest species diversity occurs. All Datura plants contain tropane alkaloids such as scopolamine, hyoscyamine, and atropine, primarily in their seeds and flowers. Because of the presence of these substances, Datura has been used for centuries in some cultures as a poison and as a hallucinogen. Datura is a complex and powerful psychedelic and getting the dose right is critical as the wrong dose can have adverse health effects. Many report mystical experiences described in terms of a ‘rebirth,’ while others find Datura experiences overly powerful and frightening.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datura,
  10. Virola
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           Virola, also known as Epená, Patricá, or Cumala, is a genus of medium-sized trees native to the South American rainforest and closely related to other Myristicaceae, such as nutmeg. It has glossy, dark green leaves with clusters of tiny yellow flowers and emits a pungent odor. The dark-red resin of the tree bark contains several hallucinogenic alkaloids, most notably 5-MeO-DMT (Virola calophylla), 5-OH-DMT (bufotenine), and also N,N-DMT, perhaps the most powerful members of the dimethyltryptamine family; it also contains beta-carboline harmala alkaloids, MAOIs that greatly potentiate the effects of DMT. The bark resin is prepared and dried by a variety of methods, often including the addition of ash or lime, presumably as basifying agents, and a powder made from the leaves of the small Justicia bush. Ingestion is similar to that of Yopo, consisting of assisted insufflation, with the snuff being blown through a long tube into the nostrils by an assistant. According to Schultes, the use of Virola in magico-religious rituals is restricted to tribes in the Western Amazon Basin and parts of the Orinoco Basin.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epen%C3%A1,
  11. Salvia
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           Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with approximately 700-900 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials and annuals. It is one of several genera commonly referred to as sage. When used without modifiers, sage generally refers to Salvia officinalis (“common sage”), however, it is used with modifiers to refer to any member of the genus. The ornamental species are commonly referred to by their genus name Salvia. The genus is distributed throughout the Old World and the Americas, with three distinct regions of diversity: Central and South America (approx. 500 species); Central Asia and Mediterranean (250 species); Eastern Asia (90 species).
    Links: Top Ten Salvia Species, Top Ten Salvia Works of Art, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia,
  12. Wormwood
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           Artemisia absinthium (absinthium, absinthe wormwood, wormwood, common wormwood, green ginger or grand wormwood) is a species of wormwood, native to temperate regions of Eurasia and northern Africa. It is a herbaceous, perennial plant with a hard, woody rhizome. The stems are straight, growing to 0.8-1.2 m (rarely 1.5 m) tall, grooved, branched, and silvery-green. The leaves are spirally arranged, greenish-grey above and white below, covered with silky silvery-white trichomes, and bearing minute oil-producing glands; the basal leaves are up to 25 cm long, bipinnate to tripinnate with long petioles, with the cauline leaves (those on the stem) smaller, 5–10 cm long, less divided, and with short petioles; the uppermost leaves can be both simple and sessile (without a petiole). Its flowers are pale yellow, tubular, and clustered in spherical bent-down heads (capitula), which are in turn clustered in leafy and branched panicles. Flowering is from early summer to early autumn; pollination is anemophilous. The fruit is a small achene; seed dispersal is by gravity. It grows naturally on uncultivated, arid ground, on rocky slopes, and at the edge of footpaths and fields.
    Links: Top Ten Absinthes, Top 100 Vintage Posters,
  13. Argyreia
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           Argyreia nervosa is a perennial climbing vine that is native to the Indian subcontinent and introduced to numerous areas worldwide, including Hawaii, Africa and the Caribbean, it can be invasive, although is often prized for its aesthetic value. Common names include Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, Adhoguda or Vidhara, Elephant Creeper and Woolly Morning Glory. There are two botanical varieties: Argyreia nervosa var. nervosa described here, and Argyrea nervosa var. speciosa, a species used in ayurvedic medicine, but with little to no psychoactive value. Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds may be consumed for their various lysergamide alkaloids, such as ergine, which can produce psychedelic effects.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_baby_woodrose,
  14. Turbina Corymbosa or Christmas Vine
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           Turbina corymbosa ((syn. Rivea corymbosa), the Christmas vine, is a species of morning glory, native throughout Latin America from Mexico in the North to Peru in the South and widely naturalized elsewhere. It is a perennial climbing vine with white flowers, often planted as an ornamental plant. This plant also occurs in Cuba, where it usually blooms from early December to February. Its flowers secrete copious amount of nectar, and the honey the bees make from it is very clear and aromatic. It is considered one of the main honey plants from the island. Known to natives of north and central Mexico by its Nahuatl name Ololiúqui and by the south eastern natives as xtabentún (in Mayan). Its seeds, while little known outside of Mexico, were perhaps the most common hallucinogenic drug used by the natives. In 1941, Richard Evans Schultes first identified ololiuhqui as Turbina corymbosa and the chemical composition was first described on August 18, 1960, in a paper by Dr. Albert Hofmann. The seeds contain ergine (LSA), an ergoline alkaloid similar in structure to LSD. The psychedelic properties of Turbina corymbosa and comparison of the potency of different varieties were studied in the CIA’s MKULTRA Subproject 22 in 1956. The Nahuatl word ololiuhqui means “round thing,” and refers to the small, brown, oval seeds of the morning glory, not the plant itself, which is called coaxihuitl, “snake-plant,” in Nahuatl, and hiedra or bejuco in the Spanish language. The seeds, in Spanish, are sometimes called semilla de la Virgen (seeds of the Virgin Mary). The seeds are also used by Native shamans in order to gain knowledge in curing practices and ritual, as well as the causes for the illness. This species is an invasive species to the United States as well as to Australia, where it has become more naturalized.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ololiuhqui,
  15. Ipomoea Violacea

    Ipomoea violacea is a perennial species of Ipomoea (morning glory) that occurs throughout the tropics, growing in coastal regions. It is most commonly called ‘Beach Moonflower’ or ‘Sea Moonflower’ as the flowers open at night. The seeds of Ipomoea violacea contain several indole alkaloids with an action similar to, but weaker than, that of LSD, and for this reason have long been used by the natives of Central America for preparing hallucinogenic infusions.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipomoea_violacea,
  16. Yopo
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           Anadenanthera peregrina, also known as Yopo, Jopo, Cohoba, Mopo, Nopo, Parica or Calcium Tree, is a perennial tree of the Anadenanthera genus native to the Caribbean and South America. It grows up to 20 m tall, having a thorny bark. Its flowers are pale yellow to white and spherical. It is not listed as being a threatened species. It is an entheogen used in healing ceremonies and rituals. It is also a well known source of dietary calcium.
    Links:
  17. Peruvian Torch Cactus
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           Peruvian Torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana syn. Trichocereus peruvianus) is a fast-growing columnar cactus native to the western slope of the Andes in Peru, between about 2,000-3,000 meters above sea level. The Peruvian Torch (Trichocereus peruvianus) grows high in the Andean mountain deserts of Peru and Ecuador and is similar to the San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi) which is found in the same region. The human use of the cactus dates back thousands of years to the northern coast of Peru and the monks of a pre-Inca culture known as Chavín (900 BC to 200 BC). They prepared a brew called “achuma,” “huachuma” or “cimora” which was used during ritualistic ceremonies to diagnose the spiritual links to a patient’s illness.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peruvian_Torch,
  18. The San Pedro Cactus
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           The San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, syn. Trichocereus pachanoi) is a fast-growing columnar cactus native to the Andes Mountains of Peru between 2,000–3,000 m in altitude. It is also found in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador, and it is cultivated in other parts of the world. Uses for it include traditional medicine and traditional veterinary medicine, and it is widely grown as an ornamental cactus. It has been used for healing and religious divination in the Andes Mountains region for over 3,000 years. It is sometimes confused with its close relative, Echinopsis peruviana (Peruvian Torch Cactus).
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Pedro_%28cactus%29,
  19. Bonus: Kykeon
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           Kykeon was an Ancient Greek drink made mainly of water, barley and naturally occurring substances, such as ergot. It was used at the climax of the Eleusinian Mysteries to break a sacred fast, but it was also a favorite drink of Greek peasants. Kykeon is mentioned in Homeric texts: the Iliad describes it as consisting of barley, water, herbs and ground goat cheese (XI, 638–641). In the Odyssey, Circe adds some honey and pours her magic potion into it (X, 234). In The Homeric Hymn to Demeter, the goddess refuses red wine but accepts kykeon made from water, barley and pennyroyal. It was supposed to have digestive properties. Hermes recommends it in Aristophanes’ Peace (v. 712) to the hero who ate too much dry fruit and nuts. Aristocrats shunned it as a peasant drink. Theophrastus depicts in his Characters (IV, 2–3) a peasant whose thyme breath inconveniences his neighbors at the Ecclesia. In an attempt to solve the mystery of how so many people over the span of two millennia could have consistently experienced revelatory states during the culminating ceremony of the Eleusinian Mysteries, it has been posited that the barley used in the Eleusinian kykeon was parasitized by ergot, and that the psychoactive properties of that fungus triggered the intense experiences alluded to by the participants at Eleusis. The ancient greeks also combined Hemlock, Henbane, Saffron, Aloe, Opium, Mandrake, Salorum, Poppy Seed, Asafoctide and Parsley to create phsycadelic induced hallucinations.
    Links: Top Ten Philosophers, Top Ten Greek Philosophers, Works of Art by Alex Grey,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kykeon,
  20. Bonus: Psychoactive Toads
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            Psychoactive toad is a name used for toads from which psychoactive substances from the family of bufotoxins can be derived. The skin and poison of Bufo alvarius (Colorado River toad or Sonoran Desert toad) contain 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin. Other species contain only bufotenin. 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin both belong to the family of hallucinogenic tryptamines. Due to these substances the skin or poison of the toads may produce psychoactive effects when ingested. Albert Most, founder of the Church of the Toad of Light and a proponent of recreational use of Bufo alvarius poison, published a booklet titled “Bufo alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert” in 1983 which explained how to extract and smoke the secretions.
    Links: Top Ten FrogsTop Ten Simpsons EpisodesTop Ten Family Guy Episodeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoactive_toads,
  21. Bonus: Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) (contains myristicin)
  22. Bonus: Iboga (Tabernanthe iboga) (contains ibogaine)
  23. Bonus: Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) (contains tropane alkaloids)
  24. Bonus: Floripondio (Brugmansia sp.) (contains tropane alkaloids)
  25. Bonus: Henbane (Hyoscyamusniger) (contains tropane alkaloids)
  26. Bonus: Mandrake (Mandragora sp.) (contains tropane alkaloids)
  27. Links: Top Ten Psychonauts, Top 100 Plants, Top Ten Drugs, Alex Grey Paintings,

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