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The practice of taking hallucinogens by humans has a fairly long history. At the same time, they were used 2500 years ago.
The use of hallucinogens in general was a common practice among the peoples of Africa and America, becoming part of their culture. Below are the most famous of them.
LSD. The term "lysergic acid diethylamide" is not widely known, but everyone knows about LSD. This substance has appeared quite recently - it was synthesized in 1938 from ergotamine. And he, in turn, is formed from a fungus growing on rye. LSD was originally developed by the pharmaceutical company Delysid. However, in the 1950s, the hallucinogen gained notoriety after the CIA investigated its effect on human consciousness. That project did not produce any meaningful results, but since then the drug has become popular. Curiously, the psychotropic potential of LSD was discovered by chance only 5 years after it was received. After a wave of drug addiction in the 60s, he was banned. But already in our time, the question of the use of LSD for medical purposes is being considered. In particular, it can significantly help people suffering from migraines.
Ayahuasca. This hallucinogenic mixture is prepared by the indigenous people of the Amazon Basin. The main component of the drug is the Banisteriopsis caapi liana. The tribes make their own brew, and then use it to carry out spiritual rituals and try to heal the sick. This drug is known for giving very intense emotions. In 2006, journalist Kira Salak, who works for National Geographic, described her feelings from the use of this hallucinogen in Peru: "It is impossible to forget what I experienced. An endless feeling of emptiness, a sea of suffering flooded over me. I suddenly realized that no one can Wherever I looked, there was darkness everywhere, so thick that the very existence of light even seemed incredible. Suddenly I got into a tunnel, a fire began to flare up. Unclear figures appeared around me, some of them begged for salvation, while others - intimidated, they say that I myself will not be able to be saved. " Nevertheless, at the end of the visions, Salak discovered that the state of depression in which she had been before had become much softer. This experience, like other reviews of ayahuasca, served as the basis for the desire of researchers to study this hallucinogen deeper. After all, it can be used in the treatment of mental disorders, dispelling people's anxiety, depression and relieving post-traumatic stress.
Peyote. The cactus is known by this name, and it owes its hallucinogenic properties to the substance it contains - mescaline. Like most drugs of this kind, this one binds together serotonin receptors. As a result, kaleidoscopic pictures are formed in the brain, and the person himself begins to experience vivid emotions. The cactus itself grows in Mexico, its unique properties have been known to local residents for quite some time. The Indians have been using mescaline, which, by the way, is included not only in peyote, but also in other cacti, for thousands of years, carrying out their rituals in a narcotic state. The use of this cactus in the form of a narcotic substance served as the basis for numerous courts. After all, the people of Mexico have argued that peyote is an integral part of their religious practices.
"Magic" mushroom. There is a hallucinogenic component in some specific mushrooms. It's about psilobicin. This compound, when ingested, is transformed into psilocin. It, like related psychotropic substances, binds serotonin receptors throughout the brain. As a result, a hallucination or synesthesia is born, it happens that both of these feelings come to a person at once. Under the influence of magic mushrooms, people begin to feel that they can smell colors and their smells. The practice of using this natural material as hallucinogenic substances also has a thousand-year history. Psilobicin is now artificially produced, and doctors are investigating its potential for medical and psychological uses. After all, it can help in the fight against anxiety, depression and drug addiction.
Angel dust. This is what the common people call phencyclidine. This drug is able to block receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain. I must say that the use of such a hallucinogen is quite dangerous, much more than others. After all, a person begins to experience symptoms, as in schizophrenia, and besides, there are also unpleasant side effects. That is why angel dust is no longer used in medicine. But even half a century ago, the substance was used as an anesthetic. In this case, the patients were not only people, but also animals. However, in the 60s, the drug became popular in the street environment. More and more young people began to use it to experience euphoria and the granted feeling of omnipotence. But the side effects turned out to be quite strong and destructive for the psyche. People who consumed angel dust began to try to jump out of the window or cripple themselves in other ways. And excessive doses of the hallucinogen also caused convulsions.
Ibogaine. This hallucinogen is based on the African plant iboga. The drug itself has a long history of use in the tribes of Africa. The roots of the plant are used in the Bwiti religious cult. Recently, doctors have discovered that ibogaine can help treat addictions to alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. But for medicinal purposes, this substance is used only in Europe and Mexico, but in the USA the drug is still banned. The fact of the matter is that the therapeutic use of ibogaine is quite complex. After all, taking the drug can disrupt the work of the heart, and you cannot get away from the side effect common to all patients - vomiting. Statistics show that among those who use this drug, every 300th dies precisely because of its effects. Several studies are currently underway that are investigating the long-term effects of ibogaine in humans and the effects it produces on humans. These special programs aim to get rid of drug addicts and take place in Mexico and New Zealand.
Salvia. This plant is also called the sage of diviners, the plant of seers or sages. It grows mainly in the dense Mexican forests of Oaxaca. The locals have long learned to drink tea from salvia leaves as part of their spiritual ceremony. However, to achieve a hallucinogenic effect, the plant can be dried. Then the resulting powder is either chewed or smoked. Salvinorins enter the body through the human mucous membranes. People then begin to experience hallucinations and distortion of the picture of the world. But here undesirable effects are possible - a person may begin to behave inappropriately or even lose the ability to move. In this condition, the recipient must be carefully monitored, because there is a risk of self-harm or injury. Today, the law is very loyal to Salvia, without any control over its distribution. However, it should be expected that soon the drug will be declared illegal, it will be classified in the same class as marijuana. Since 2009, in Russia and some European countries, the state began to control the circulation of salvia.
Ecstasy. This is the simplified name for the drug methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA. This drug acts directly on serotonin in the brain. As a result, a person's picture of the world is distorted, he himself receives an unprecedented charge of energy and a feeling of euphoria. A side effect is an increase in body temperature, which increases the risk of heatstroke. Few people know that the effects of ecstasy have been studied in animals. It turned out that the drug can cause permanent and potentially adverse changes in the brain. Ecstasy was first synthesized by German chemists Anton Kölisch in 1912. Back then, his pharmaceutical company was looking for a substance that could reduce bleeding, and MDMA was just a by-product. For almost half a century, no one had any idea that this substance was a powerful hallucinogen. In the 50s, experiments with ecstasy were carried out in the American army, however, animals were then experimental. In the late 70s, Soviet scientists drew attention to the ability of a substance to influence the psyche, in the 80s it is used in clinical practice by thousands of doctors in different countries. The strong effect of ecstasy has become known outside of medicine, the drug has become a part of street culture. Today this hallucinogen is strongly associated with nightclubs, discos and extreme music. The authorities quickly realized the danger of the new drug, and by the early 90s it had become illegal. There is currently no evidence that taking one typical dose is harmful to health. However, there is a subsequent depression after taking the substance, called serotonin failure. And taking ecstasy together with alcohol or stimulants can be fatal. Ecstasy is still quite popular in the street today, and doctors are again exploring its potential for relieving post-traumatic stress.