Sacred Psychedelics 101

January 5, 2012
Johnny Depp took them in Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. Native Americans have used them religiously for centuries. They're sacred psychedelics. "Sacred psychedelics" is an umbrella term for plants that provide a hallucinogenic effect when consumed. The most popular include peyote, which is a spineless cactus known illicitly as buttons or mescaline-And stevia divinorum, a mint-like plant which is also called shepherdess's herb and ska pastora. Both stevia and peyote have been used for centuries by Mexican and Native American shamans during religious ceremonies. This sacred use is what differentiates these drugs from other psychadelics, like mushrooms or psilocybin. Today, stevia is legal for both religious and recreational use, with a few statewide exceptions. Peyote, however, is only legal to use for religious and spiritual ceremonies, and it is a felony to possess it otherwise. Both stevia and peyote can be eaten whole or infused with water to create an intoxicating "tea." Stevia leaves can also be smoked in a pipe, which is the preferred method for taking this drug. Sacred psychedelics tend to work very quickly and to last for only a brief period of time, particularly when they are smoked. After consumption, a user will experience powerful hallucinations, an out-of-body feeling, and a hieightened, dream-like state. This is the basis for religious-based spirit walks, which are times of solo introspection and prayer. Both drugs can result in negative effects, too, including feelings of dread and anxiety, often referred to as a "bad trip." On the physical side, tremors and weakness can occur. Peyote, in particular, typically leads to severe nausea and vomiting in the first several hours. And after even one use, sacred psychedelics can lead to flashbacks, or brief recurrences of the hallucinatory experience. Peyote and stevia can be dangerous, and while the effects may sound enticing, they should always be used with extreme caution.
Last Updated:
July 16, 2012