Erowid References Database
“LSD and the Cosmic Game: Outline of Psychedelic Cosmology and Ontology”.
Journal for the Study of Consciousness. 1972;5(2):165-193.
The use of psychedelic substances is probably as old as the histor; of mankind; from time immemorial plants containing powerful mine altering compounds have been used in various parts of the world fm religious and magical purposes. Reports about hallucinogenic drugs can be found in Chinese scriptures as early as 3500 B.C. The legendary divine potion referred to in the ancient Persian Zend A vesta as haoma and probably identical with soma of the Vedic literature was used by the Indoiranian tribes several millenia ago. Preparations from the Indian hemp have been used under different names (hashish, charas, bhang, ganja, etc.) in the Oriental countries for many centuries in folk medicine, in religious ceremonies, and for recreation and pleasure. In the Middle Ages potions and ointments containing psychoactive plants from the nightshade family of Solanaceae (Atropa belladonna, Datura stramonium, Hyoscyamus niger, Mandragora ofjicinarum, etc.) were widely used within the framework of the witches' Sabbath and the black mass rituals. The use of psychedelic substances also has a long history in Central America; various hallucinogenic plants were well known in several Precolumbian Indian cultures. The most famous of these plants are the Mexican cactus Lophophora williamsi (peyote), the sacred mushroom Psilocybe mexicana (teonanacatl) and several varieties of Ipomoea, source of the morning glory seeds (ololiuqui). Hallucinogenic plants have also been used immemorially by tribes in Africa** (Tabernanthe iboga), South America (Banisteria caapi, Peganum harmala, Piptadenia peregrina, etc.), and Asia (Amanita muscaria). Thepreceding list represents only a small fraction of psychedelic compounds that have been used in various centuries and countries of the world.
The long history of use of psychedelic drugs contrasts with a relatively short history of scientific interest in and study of these compounds. The first psychedelic drug that was synthesized in pure form and systematically explored under laboratory conditions was mescaline, the active principle from the peyote cactus. After the pioneering experiments with mescaline in the first decades of this century, very little research was done in this most interesting area. The sensational discovery of LSD, a semisynthetic psychedelic drug [lysergic aicd diethylamide] active in incredibly minute quantities (gammas or micrograms), by A. Hoffman in the early forties in Switzerland started a new era of research in psychopharmacology.
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