Psychoactive drugs have been in use the world over since the advent of human kind. Considered to be spiritual and holy since their inculcation in religion, drugs have become the gateway to spiritual enlightenment for many.
Let’s have a look at the naturally occurring psychoactive drugs that have shaped humanity the way it is.
1. Morning Glory
On the surface, the morning glory plant is a gorgeous, twining perennial vine that's cultivated in many gardens across backyards. It bears clusters of indigo-coloured flowers and make a beautiful bouquet, but should you decided to pop its seed in your mouth, you may be in for a surprise. A very psychedelic surprise at that! There's an active ingredient in this plant, an alkaloid called R-lysergic, which is extremely close to that which is found in none other than LSD. The more seeds one ingests the greater the high. As with so many others on this list, people tend to experience sensory changes and a diminished sense of reality. They even make users have massive mood swings while 'tripping.' And to think that it may be growing in your garden right now!
2. Magic Mushrooms
It’s a well known fungus, many of its cousins are edible and it grows wildly all over the world. It's none other than magic mushrooms; one of the world’s most commonly used recreational psychotropic drugs. Scientifically they are called psilocybin mushrooms and have basically been around forever dating back a good 7000-8000 years on this planet. Certainly longer than rave parties became a cultural phenomenon and ingesting them at parties became the norm! Once again, they have similar trippy effects to LSD causing hallucinations, distorted perception and so on and so forth. It is also notorious for coming with stomach pains, nausea and diarrhoea, mostly because they're known to taste particularly terrible!
It's called the spirit molecule and is just another example of the paradoxes of nature. After all, it is the most intense psychedelic known to man and it's found perfectly naturally, occurring in almost every ecosystem in a number of different plants as well as—wait for it—the human body! Even though its natural function is undetermined within us, we know for sure its there and that it is released from the pituitary gland when we're born and when we die! It has been called mind altering; a portal into consciousness and numerous people have likened the experience to an alien encounter despite the fact that its effects only last a very short time. Interestingly enough, though the drug is one of the hardest to procure for usage, a part of your brain is producing this chemical in your brain every night and it makes your dreams as crazy as they are. The history of its usage stretches thousands of years back having been used by indigenous tribes in South America as part of their rituals and ceremonies.
Lovingly referred to (by users of course) as the 'molecular biology of paradise,' mescaline is a naturally occurring psychedelic alkaloid known for mind-altering effects that are akin to those experienced while tripping on LSD or other such simulated drugs. From Aldous Huxley to Christopher Mayhew to Hunter S. Thompson, the drug had huge fans and was seriously eulogised in some incredible literature as well. Just like LSD, users see brilliantly intense colours; have an altered state of time and self-awareness, hallucinations and more. One especially unique trait of the stuff however is the 'geometricisation' of 3-dimensional objects.
Salvia Divinorum is a herb that's as common as weeds (no pun intended) in Mexico, Central America and South America. The main active ingredient in it, Salvinorin A, is a potent activator of receptors in the brain, very similar to the ones activated by the use of opoids like heroin and morphine. As such, many people attempt to experience a psychedelic feeling by either chewing on the leaches, drinking its extracted juices, smoking dried leaves of the same or simply vaporizing and inhaling the dried leaves, much like marijuana. People who use it experience major hallucinations (though they're not very long, lasting at an average of 8-10 minutes long). It induces changes in visual perception, mood and body sensations, feelings of detachment from one's own body and a heightened awareness, yet an inability to interact with one's surroundings as per usual. Strangely enough, this is not a drug regulated by the the Controlled Substances Act which makes it very legal but many countries are getting wise to its effects and attempting to curb consumption in their own way.