New to Psychedelics?

What are psychedelics?

The word “psychedelic” is derived from the Greek word “psyche”, meaning mind, and delos, meaning manifesting. Psychedelics are sometimes referred to as hallucinogens, entheogens, psychedelics are substances which induce an altered state of consciousness when consumed. Psilocybin containing mushrooms (sometimes called magic mushrooms or shrooms), LSD (acid), dimethyl-tryptamine (DMT) and Mescaline (a compound found in the San Pedro and peyote cactus) are some commonly known psychedelic drugs.

Humphrey Osmond, a British psychiatrist, coined the term “psychedelic” in the 1950s after he discovered that LSD helped patients with alcoholism. The results of the LSD treatment far surpassed any other interventions available at the time. Osmond did not discover LSD; it was first synthesized by a Swiss chemist named Albert Hofmann in the 1930s. April 19th, 1943, also known as “bicycle day,” is the anniversary of the world’s first acid trip, a holiday that is still celebrated by some psychedelic enthusiasts today. Osmond later introduced famous poet and author Aldous Huxley to mescaline; the experiences had such a profound effect that it led Huxley to write The Doors of Perception.

In 1955, a banker interested in mushrooms named R. Gordon Wasson travelled to Oaxaca, Mexico and met Maria Sabina, a Mazatec shaman. She introduced him to the sacred psilocybe mushrooms that grow in that area, which she used to help heal sick people in her village. Although Sabina asked Wasson not to share about his experience with the mushroom, he shared about it in an article for Life Magazine.

This deceit marked the introduction of psychedelic mushrooms into western society, and ultimately, tragedy for Maria Sabina. The psychedelic tourism that the magazine article spawned permanently changed the town of Huautla where she lived; major disagreements took place which ultimately led to Maria Sabina’s house being burned down. She moved to the outskirts of town, and eventually passed away in poverty.

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