There are hundreds of natural psychoactive plants that are found world-wide. A large proportion of these are found in South America and South Africa, which are both rich and diverse in flora, fish and animal life. There is limited scientific evidence behind the folk-lore which has been established by stories repeated since ancient times. While many of these are still in use today, we do not have much research to establish the exact degree of psychoactivity produced, nor the safety of these agents.
There is no doubt that hallucinogens are a bizarre class of drugs that often provoke visions of hippies. They are a source of great fascination, and are frequently categorised as illegal. The fact that the experiences are subjective makes it difficult to ascertain what exactly happens when an individual ingests the substances.
A hallucinogen is a psychoactive agent, so named as they may cause hallucinations in individuals who ingest them via various methods. Colours, patterns, objects and events may appear, when they do not really exist in reality. Synethesia is another potential occurrence, where the senses become combined and indivisuals feel that they can smell colour and see sound for example. Anomalies in perception and unusual deviations in thoughts, emotion and consciousness are also reported side effects.
The experiences described here can be felt as either positive or negative by the individual undergoing the hallucinations. This is largely linked to the fear of being out-of-control, as well as the physical effects of the stimulated nervous system which include dilated pupils, constricted arteries and raised blood pressure.
There are varying opinions when in comes to classifying drugs as hallucinogens, although we can say that any substances which disrupt the interaction of nerve cells and the neurotransmitter receptor sites are considered psychoactive.
L. E. Hollister’s criteria for establishing that a drug is hallucinogenic are as follows:
This article aims to bring a complete list of naturally occurring hallucinogenic substances that can be found on Earth, some may surprise you! Some are well known and have been used as entheogenics (“generating the divine within”) since history began. An entheogenic is a psychoactive substance used in a spiritual, religious or shamanic ritual. This is usually to evoke spirits or to enable communication with ancestors. Entheogenics are also included in some divination and faith healing ceremonies.
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