First off, I want to chime in on the state of psychedelics. Who’s using them, what’s legal, and how you can broach this topic with family/friends who may not know much about it or are now terrified about Cordyceps taking over the world (if you haven’t started watching The Last of Us, we are big fans).
In the 1950’s and 60’s, psychedelics were touted as the “next best thing” in the world of psychiatry. The study of our newly mapped brains bred a new field of psychopharmacology. Therapy was being assisted with psychedelic substances. It wasn’t until the hippie movement in the 60s that the world saw a darker side of the use – “Turn on, tune in and drop out” –
Timothy Leary, former Harvard professor, was a pioneer in bringing the power of these substances to the mainstream world, however, he very well may have inadvertently put psychedelic research back decades due to the zeitgeist of the 60’s anti-war, freedom, and the “fuck the system” mindset.
Fast-forward 30-some odd years, Dr. Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins initiated the first grant-funded research in decades on the effects of psilocybin or “mushrooms”. Bringing back to life the wonderful work that was promising incredible things decades earlier. Today, we have very open retreat spaces that offer these services, we have countless documentaries, and for those really looking to share this info with the masses, Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind on Netflix or his BOOK (available for all of your coffee tables to show your friends that you’re cool).
Here’s a quick rundown on what to expect out there so at the next party you’re at, when that hip couple talks about their Ayuhasuca experience in Costa Rica, you can feel like you know a little something. Today’s one is…. you guessed it… Ayahuasca and its active form, DMT (don’t worry we’ll get into other substances in the near future).
“The Skinny” on DMT and Ayahuasca:
- Ayahuasca is a Quechua word meaning “vine of the soul” or “vine of the dead.” This points to its ability to provide access to normally invisible and immaterial worlds.
- Ceremoniously, Ayahuasca is prepared using two separate plants that are native to many Latin-speaking countries and have been utilized by indigenous peoples of those areas for millennia. One is the most common active DMT forms, Psychotria viridis a.k.a chacruna, chacrona, or chaqruy. The DMT in this plant isn’t active orally so you need another plant to cause the inhibition of an enzyme that breaks it down in the gut – monoamine oxidase or MAO. – Ancient pharmacology! Brilliant. For real, that’s insane. They figured out complex chemistry without medical boards or drug trials.
- DMT, or its fancy long name, Dimethyltryptamine is present in most plants and in all of our mammalian brains. When synthesized, our body begins the process of expanding all that it can perceive in consciousness.
- All Ayahausca has DMT in it, not all DMT is Ayahausca. Other forms of DMT are Psilocybin or “Magic Mushrooms”, 5-MEO-DMT “The Toad” which is a resin that a toad, native to the Sonoran Desert, produces – a resin that is psychoactive (toad not harmed in cultivation), and Ibogaine / Iboga. All have very powerful effects on all the senses of the physical body and conscious mind.
Some great sources for further learning:
Legalization of current “friendly states”:
California: Psilocybin “partially decriminalized” – DMT/Ayahausca “illegal/religious exemption” – Ketamine “medical”
Oregon: Psilocybin “fully decriminalized” – DMT/Ayahausca “decriminalized” – Ketamine “decriminalized”
Michigan: Psilocybin “partially decriminalized” – DMT/Ayahausca “partially decriminalized” – Ketamine “medical”
Massachusetts: Psilocybin “partially decriminalized” – DMT/Ayahausca “partially decriminalized” – Ketamine “medical”
Colorado: Psilocybin “partially decriminalized” – DMT/Ayahausca “illegal/religious exemption” – Ketamine “medical”
**Also, look out for FEDERAL legalization within two years of MDMA and Psilocybin
If you’re interested in this topic more, I’d love to do little snippets each week with something like thoughts on psychedelics, maybe more anecdotal information on my experience, and what I’ve seen around us.