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Hippie3 (Admin)
Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 01:16 pm:Edit Post Quote Text Delete Post Print Post Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

. The Natural Highs FAQ .

Vince Cavasin ([email protected]),
Paul A. Houle ([email protected]),
Adam Boggs ([email protected]),
Petrus Pennanen ([email protected])

[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected]

Dean & Gene Sputnik ([email protected])

Last Update: 2/2/93

The information presented herein is for entertainment purposes only and can be found in ethnobotanical literature. Most (if not all) of the substances listed in this faq are illegal to ingest and/or possess. The authors and editors assume no responsibility should the information presented here be used, misused, misunderstood, inaccurate or even read. Reading this faq constitutes an agreement to these terms. If you are afraid you might be tempted to use any of the substances mentioned here in illegal ways when presented with the knowledge to do so, stop reading now.
Many of the botanicals listed here are highly toxic and deadly. Always keep them away from children.

This faq may be reproduced verbatim, in whole or in part, by any means, and distributed freely by whatever means available, provided no charge is made for the copy and this disclaimer is included.

The following information was taken without permission from the book Legal Highs by Adam Gottlieb, 1973, Twentieth Century Alchemist, from The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens by Schultes & Hofmann, 2nd Ed. 1980, from The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms by Gary H. Lincoff and Carol Nehring, 1981, Random House, from Narcotic Plants: Revised and Enlarged by William Emboden, 1979, MacMillan Publishing, from various mail-order greenhouse literature, from personal experiences of many people (friends of friends, and fictional characters that exist only in the authors' and editors' imaginations) and (mostly) from alt.drugs. Some sections contain a "References" section if the author of that section felt like going to the trouble; some mention references on the fly in the text, and some are just unreferenced. Some personal correspondance is included too; in this case if I could get the author's consent I included his name/email address; if I could not track down the author, I included the mail anonymously. If the author of a particular piece of mail doesn't want it included, I won't include it (although I may paraphrase it without attribution). Send mail to [email protected] if you recognize something in here as your own and want it removed, or want to correct or add an attribution.

I left minimal header information in the stuff that was pulled from the net to give credit where due and to provide follow-up paths (do so at your own risk). I didn't have the time (let alone motivation) to mail everyone whose comments are included here to see if it was alright to include them, but if the info was posted to the net once, I can't see a problem with putting it in a faq. A later version might have more eloquent and concise attributions.

Much of the net stuff was edited extensively in that irrelevant info was deleted from specific posts; however, the context and spirit of the remaining information was preserved.

The substances listed here are arranged in a fairly straightforward format. If a certain section is missing from a certain substance, it means that I had no information to put in that section or it didn't apply. The substances are ordered alphebetically, sorted according to Botanical Family name, then Genus name, then (if necessary) Species name. This was a completely fascist decision on my part, and I did it only because it was the easiest ordering to maintain. Note that the name given in the heading is a common name and has nothing to do with the way the list is ordered.

At the moment I haven't got time to organize this stuff anymore than it already is (and that's not much). Hopefully in the future I will find time to organize and index it, and to expand it to include dozens of other natural highs. Until then, this mess will have to do.

Spelling errors are numerous and rampant, and I take no responsibility for any of them even tho many of them are undoubtedly mine.

A word about MAO inhibitors
Some of the substances described here are MAO inhibitors; this information is provided under the "Interaction precautions" section for the substance in question.

MAO stands for monoamine oxidase, an enzyme that breaks down certain amines and renders them ineffective. MAO inhibitors, then, are substances that interfere with the action of monoamine oxidase, leaving the amines intact. If the amines in question are dangerous, they can cause nasty -- even deadly -- side effects. Furthermore, it is dangerous to combine MAO inhibitors. If you are taking a prescription drug that is an MAO inhibitor, like prozac or most anti-depressants, avoid using any substance listed as an MAO inhibitor here.

The bottom line is this: when using an MAO inhibiting drug, don't ingest anything that contains potentially dangerous amines, or any other MAO inhibitor. If a substance is listed as an MAO inhibitor here, it may be dangerous when used in combination with any of the following substances:

amphetamines (even diet pills)
dill oil
parsley oil
wild fennel oil
coffee (or any substance that contains large amounts of caffeine)
aged cheeses
any tyrosine-containing food
any other MAO inhibitor
This list is by no means complete or all-inclusive. Combine drugs at your own risk.

See also: "Foods to Avoid on MAO-Inhibitors" -- a more complete list

Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

baeocystis (Potent Psilocybe)
caerulipes (Blue Foot Psilocybe)
coprophila (Dung-loving Psilocybe)
cubensis (Common Large Psilocybe)
cyanescens (Bluing Psilocybe)
pelliculosa (Conifer Psilocybe)
semilanceata (Liberty Cap)
stunzii (Stunz's Blue Legs)
Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric), Conocybe smithii (Bog Conocybe) and Gymopilus spectabilis (Big Laughing Gym) are among the other mushroom species known to be hallucinogenic. However, Fly Agarics are classified as poisonous, and, according to The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, the Fly Agarics that grow in North America cause "dilerium, raving, and profuse sweating", unlike their hallucinogenic Siberian counterparts. (Perhaps WOSD propaganda, I realize, but worth considering, at least for those of you who don't normally rave...)

Warning: mushrooms should never be ingested unless positively identified to be non-poisonous by a mycologist. Often the only differences between highly toxic mushrooms and edible mushrooms are extremely subtle and require a great deal of training to distinguish. Also, several hallucinogenic varieties have been shown to be toxic to humans in medium to large doses.

Usage: Like most natural plant products, psychedelic mushrooms vary considerably in strength due to genetics, growth medium, and other factors. An effective dose of dried psychedelic mushrooms is on the order of 1 gram. This would be on the order of one or two whole mushrooms (best bet is to weigh them and make sure). Because strength varies widely, you should ask other people who have had mushrooms from the same source about the relative strength. For mushrooms from an unknown source, .5 grams of dried mushrooms is probably a decent place to start.

'Shrooms are best taken on an empty stomach. Carlos Castenada describes the effects of a mushroom-based preparation when smoked, and anyone who has taken 'Shrooms would agree that the effects that he describes are much more intense than the effects of reasonable dosages taken orally. Although many people think that Carlos made the whole thing up, it is possible that mushrooms are smokable and that smoked mushrooms might produce a different experience than ingested, because 'Shrooms contain many compounds known as tryptamines (as in dimethyl-tryptamine (DMT)) which are also psychoactive when smoked but not active orally. Other than Carlos, I've never heard of anyone else smoking mushrooms or mushroom products, so I can't vouch for the effects.

If you don't like the taste of 'Shrooms, it is also possible to consume a tea made by boiling mushroom fragments in water. The idea here is to sprinkle dried mushroom fragments on water and boil them until they sink, and then filter out the actual 'Shrooms and enjoy the tea.

Effects: The effects of psychedelic mushrooms are comparable to those of LSD, but different in a number of ways. For one thing, the trip lasts aproximately 6 hours, about half of what an LSD trip does. Mushrooms also have less stimulant effect than LSD. Mushrooms tend to be more visual than LSD and less auditory. LSD is probably better for enhancing perception of music, although psilocybin does alter the perception of sound (seems to make background noise louder) and like tryptamine-based psychedelics, also tends to induce auditory hallucinations that sound like 'noise'.

'Shrooms do have definite physical effects that are both similar and different to those of LSD. Shrooms tend to cause Liquid Breathing especially before the onset of psychedelic effects. (Like LSD) Shrooms don't cause stomach cramps, but they do seem to cause a headache sometimes.

A short term cross tolerance does develop between psilocybin, mescaline, and LSD, but there appears to be no long term tolerance, except for learned behavior which allows one, for instance, to learn how to talk somewhat coherently despite what psychedelics do to the language centers and short term memory.

Another important difference between 'shrooms and LSD is that the onset time of effects from ingestion is much shorter. In the experience of people that I know, the onset of effects is approximately 30-45 minutes after ingestion, and the transition from physical effects to mild depersonalization to intense hallucination is very short, even in the subjective time of the tripper. There is a period of aproximately one hour where psychedelic effects (visual/auditory hallucination, flickering of visual field, time overlay effect, time distortion, breakdown of linguistic centers, etc.) are very intense, and the rest of the trip seems to be more psychological, that is, very little hallucination, mostly depersonalization and time distorsion. This is a very excellent time to spend in a natural environment (your local woods, desert, or savanna) because it tends to produce shamanistic, in touch with nature feelings much better than LSD does.

Bad trips are very possible with mushrooms, and are probably very similar to bad trips on acid. If you know or suspect that a tripper is experiencing eyes-open visual hallucinations, you might want to take them to a place where no there are no regular geometric patterns that cover most of the visual field. High dosages of mushrooms seem to affect perception of regular tiled surfaces much more so than irregular surfaces. If possible, suggest to the tripper that you go to a place where there is a featureless floor (say a drab carpet or a concrete floor). It's also good to find a warm place, but always heed to the will of the tripper so long as he doesn't want to do anything stupid like jump off a cliff. See if you can find some mellow music that is pleasing to the tripper (Say, the Grateful Dead or Spyro Gyra) and remember that little things like turning the intensity of light up or down can have a big emotional effect. Be sure to ask about these things.

When talking to someone on a bad trip, it often helps to keep changing his train of thought; many people find that this keeps the anxiety at a lower level. The primary rule is to watch the reaction of the tripper to what you do, and take his needs and fears into consideration. Keep him with people that he trusts and try to remove any people that he doesn't trust. Of course, this advice is valid for hallucinogens in general.

History: The practice of growing mushrooms dates back to around 100 B.C., and is based partly upon the discovery of minature mushroom stones found near Gautemala City. Other finds further north also indicate an extensive mushroom cult in the early civilizations. When Cortez arrived in Central America, he found the natives using mushrooms as a sacrament. They called them "teonanacatl", or "God's Flesh." The Spainards reacted strongly to the mushrooms, giving written accounts of the loathsome mushroom rituals that "provoke lust... cause not death, but madness... and bring before the eyes wars and the likeness of demons." Teonanacatl was then banned from the church as contributing to pagan behavior and idolitry. The only tribe definately known to have consumed the mushrooms, however, is the Chichimecas. Six tribes consume mushrooms today in Oaxaca: Mazatecs, Chinantecs, Chatinos, Zapotecs, Mixtecs, and Mijes. It has recently been suggested that mushroom use by the Chol and Lacandon Maya may be a vestage from the earlier Mayans that disappeared for a time, and then was readopted. Present day ritual among them Mazatec includes many rituals from the Catholic Church. Even though the Catholics tried to eliminate the detested fungi, the Indians still chant saints of the church and incorporate litanies, which are undoubtedly post-Christian elements of their ritual.

Interaction precautions: I wouldn't recomend using them with alcohol or other depressants. Also, people who are being medicated for a psychological conditions, particularly with MAO-inhibitor class drugs probably don't want to use 'Shrooms or any psychedelic because MAO-inhibitors tend to interact seriously with most psychoactive compounds.

Active Ingredients: The primary active components of 'Shrooms are psilocybin and psilocin, which also is an immediate metabolite of psilocybin. There are a whole family of other tryptamine-related substances in 'Shrooms but most of them are not active when eaten.

For further reading: Several books are available on the subject of growing mushrooms, which is a rather complex task because it involves maintaining a sterile environment and quite a bit of biology lab skills. The best book on the subject is "Psilocybin: The magic mushroom grower's guide" by Oss and Oeric from And/Or press. Spores are available by mail order; check High Times magazine. These are legal to sell because they contain no psychoactive compounds. Spores can also be obtained by taking a cap print from mushrooms that you obtain from another source, like the wild.

[some interesting info on Fly Agarics follows. Note that these are much more poisonous than psilocybe varieties, the info above does not necessarily apply to them, and the info below does not necessarily apply to psilocybes. --ED]
From: [email protected] (David A. Honig)
Subject: Re: mail order botanicals
Date: 11 Nov 91 22:00:34 GMT
Organization: UC Irvine Department of ICS

In article [email protected] (Eli Brandt) writes:
>>anyone know the legality of fly agaric? anyone have any experience with
>I'm sure it's legal. _Merck's_ sez that neither ibotenic acid and muscarine
>were "controlled substances" (what a *dumb* term) as of '76; was there maybe
>a "Toadstool Regulation Act" I missed? Anyway, you could call it "soma" and
>have a real good case for religious use...
>I don't know what the dose would be. The LD-50 iv in mice for muscarine is
>0.23 mg/kg; ibotenic acid is (for mice/rats) 15/42 iv and 38/129 oral. I'd
>be careful with anything with such a wide difference in toxicity between
>fairly similar species. I vaguely recall that muscarine is only found in
>the younger shrooms; it looks like you'd want to avoid them, unless it's
>also responsible for most of the interesting effects.
>>[email protected]
> Eli [email protected]

I obtained some dried Amanita via an unnamed source. They make you puke (what else is new) and go into a dreamy state. Not "psychedelic" or terribly euphoric. A friend (who is a botanist) has tried fresh ones, reports that they're better.

IMHO, they're not worth your time unless your into ethnopsychopharmacology.

-- David A. Honig

Mescaline-Bearing Cacti

gibbosum: Native to Argentina
leeanum: Native to Argentina, Uruquay

minor: Native to South Peru

diffusa (Peyote): Native to Mexico
williamsii (Peyote, Mescal,Chaute etc.): the classic Peyote, grows in north central Mexico and south Texas.

imbricata: Native to S-W USA to Central Mexico.
spinosior: Native to Arizona, New Mexico, Northern Mexico.

aselliformis (Peyotillo, Peyote meco): Native to San Luis Potosi, Mexico

tampicana: Native to Tampico, Mexico.

scandens: Native to Yucatan, Mexico.

coryne: Native to Northwestern Argentina.

cuzcoensis: Native to Cuzco, Peru.
fulvianus: Native to Chile.
macrogonus: Native to South America.
pachanoi (San Pedro, Giganton): Native to Peru, Equador.
peruvianus (Peruvian Fence Post): Native to Peru.
scopulicola taquimbalensis: Native to Bolivia.
terscheckii (Cardon grande): Native to Northwestern Argentina.
validus: Native to Bolivia.
werdermannianus: Native to Tupiza & Charcoma, Bolivia.

Trichocerei are columnar, branched or candelabra like cacti, which usually grow very fast. Cereus is a different genus, whose members haven't been found to contain mescaline.
Cultivation: (from seed) Sow the seeds an inch apart on the surface of sterilized, moist, sifted cactus mix. The pH should be 4.5-6.5. Cover the tray or pot with an airtight plastic bag. Place in bright but indirect light for 12 hours a day at less than 30 degrees centigrade. Don't let the temperature get too high, and check to make sure the soil surface is moist, but not too wet. A fungicide may be needed.

Cactus seeds will generally germinate in 1-3 weeks. When the seedlings are about 2 cm tall (60-90 days for fast-growing species) transplant them to individual pots. Handle them very cautiously and use moist soil with pH 4.5-6.5 in the new pot. A good soil mix is 1/3 normal flower soil, 1/3 peat and 1/3 coarse sand or gravel. If you're growing a Trichocereus, water once a week with a concentration of a flower fertilizer normally used for flowering plants. Don't use standard plant fertilizers, as they contain too much nitrogen. Bright light is needed 12-18 hours a day, and the temperature should be 25-35 degrees C.

The easiest way of propagation is taking cuttings. Cut the mother plant with a clean and sharp knife leaving 5-10 cm of it above ground. Cut back slightly the edges of the cut to ensure that the new roots grow downward. Place the cutting in vertical position to dry for 2 weeks to a month depending on the size of the cutting. The compost where they are placed after this should be very slightly moist, not wet.

For more information about growing cacti read e.g. Cullman, B|tz & Gr|ner 1984: Encyclopedia of Cacti, Alphabooks A&C Black, ISBN 0-906670-37-3.

Usage: An easy method is to chop a cactus to small pieces, dry the pieces and boil in water with plenty of lemon juice until there's not much liquid left. To reduce nausea you should drink the liquid slowly over a half an hour while avoiding excessive movement. For the same reason don't eat solid food on the day of ingestion. A normal dose of mescaline sulfate is 200-400 mg, which probably corresponds to 10-25 g of dry Peyote or T. peruvianus, or 50-200 g of fresh San Pedro. Potency varies, so try a small dose first. It's also possible to extract mescaline from cacti. (See this method or this method, for instance)

Effects: Mescaline produces a trip very similar to LSD lasting about 12 hours. The effects take a bit longer to come on. Mescaline is cross-tolerant with LSD, psilocin and other psychedelics. A common side-effect is nausea, which is worse when ingesting Peyote than other cacti because of the extra alkaloids found in Peyote. If you manage to hold the cactus in your stomach for 15-30 minutes before throwing it up, you can still have a fine and nausea-free trip.

Mescaline does not cause chromosome damage in normal doses.

History: Peyote has been in use in America for at least 2000 years. The Spanish conquistadors didn't like the use of drug plants by the Indians, and catholic clerics declared officially in 1620 that since the use of peyote was the work of the devil, all Christians were prohibited from using it. The active prohibition of peyote still persists. A religious manual written in 1760 presented the following series of questions for the penitent:

Have you ever killed anyone?
How many have you murdered?
Have you eaten the flesh of man?
Have you eaten peyote?
Peyote was used for several centuries in Mexico before peyotism spread into the US in the second half of the 19th century. Today it's legal for the members of the Native American Church to use Peyote in several states.

The San Pedro cactus has been used by Peruvian folk healers to combat the supernatural elements that cause diseases.

Active Constituents (of some cacti)
Botanical name mescaline other alkaloids
Lophophora williamsii ~1% dry Ann, And, Ant, Annd, H, L, P, T
Trichocereus peruvianus 0.8% dry T
pachanoi 0.1% wet Annd, H, T
bridgesii 0.1% wet T
validus 0.1% wet -
macrogonus Anyone care to enlighten us yohimbine-illiterate readers what yohimbine
>bark is and what it does?

Yohimbine is the primary alkaloid found in yohimbine bark. It is an alpha-2-adrenergic antagonist. It blocks presynaptic inhibitory synapses, meaning that it tends to increase central and peripheral adrenergic activity. It tends to cause nervousness and increases blood pressure. It also seems to be effective in some cases of impotence.

Steve Dyer [email protected] aka {ima,harvard,rayssd,linus,m2c}!spdcc!dyer [email protected]


fastuosa: large shrub with white flowers
inoxia (Don Juan's Datura): native to mexico
metel: native to India.
sanguinea (Eagle Datura, Tonga): Native to S. America.
stramonium (Jimson Weed): Dangerous hallucinogen widespread in temperate regions.
Other species: tatula, brugmansia, candida, suaveolens, arborea, aurea, dolichocarpa, vulcanicola, discolor

Usage: Leaves are sometimes smoked. Small amount of seed can be pulverized and added to drinks as in the Algonquin ritual.

Effects: described as "delerium". Leaves are hallucinogenic and hypnotic. Seeds cause mental confusion and delerium followed by deep sleep with colorful hallucinations. Excessive amounts are toxic. May cause blacking out and severe headaches. Yaqui indian brujos say it causes insanity. This substance is generally considered dangerous.


discolor (Desert Thornapple): used by hopi shamans for divination.
inoxia: "Don Juan's Datura" is used in it's native mexico by Yaqui bruhos for divination
metel: Used by the Thuggee cult in it's native India to drug sacrificial victims to Kali.
sanguinea (Eagle Datura, Tonga): Used by Aztecs in the Temple of the Sun. Peruvian natives believe it allows them to communicate with departed souls.
stramonium (Jimson Weed): Dangerous hallucinogen widespread in temperate regions. Used by Algonquins in ritual drink called "Wysoccan" to introduce boys to manhood.
Active Constituents: Scopolamine, atropine, hyoscyamine and other tropanes.

"Hyoscyamine and scopolamine possess specific anticholinergic, antispasmodic activity and elicit some central nervous effects as well. These effects usually consist of stimulation at low doses, depression in higher toxic doses. ... Intoxication with atropine or hyoscyamine is characterized by psychic excitation often combined with panic and hallucination. Scopolamine was found to produce a state of excitement followed by a kind of narcosis in which, in the transition state between consciousness and sleep, hallucinations sometimes occur (Heimann, 1952). These effects explain the addition of belladonna and other solanaceous plants as ingredients of magic brews in medieval Europe and of sacred medicines by the Indians of Mexico and South America." (Schultes and Hofmann, 1980)
NOTE: Family Solanaceae is the potato family (did you know potatoes have a lower LD50 than marijuana? It's true). Many members of this family contain tropanes and have a history of ritualistic use. Other commonly-used members are the Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum), Belladonna (a.k.a. deadly nightshade) (Atropa belladonna), Thornapple (Datura inoxia), Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), and Iochroma. All these substances will be covered in more detail in a future version of this faq.

Kuthmithi (Withania somnifera) is one member of the Potato family that does not appear to contain active amounts of tropanes and is generally considered safe for use as a sedative.

From the Net:
From: [email protected] (Gerald Bryan (Denver))
Subject: Re: Shrooms, Datura etc
Date: 29 Aug 91 16:43:51 GMT

In article [email protected] (Fie
nd) writes:
> How many people have lasting physical damage from Datura?

I know one person who has used Datura. She was an experienced drug user at the time. She said it gave her tremendous visions, but it took her a year before she felt that her eyesight was back to normal. She only used it once.

Two years ago, there was a story in the local paper about some college students in Boulder who walked buck naked into a police station, totally out of it. They had apparently consumed some datura (on purpose) up in the mountains.

From: [email protected] (marsthom)
Date: 25 Sep 91 21:32:50 GMT
Organization: Albedo Communications

I ran across this citation while doing a computer search:

Scopolamine intoxication as a model of transient global amnesia.
Brain Cogn. 1991 Mar; 15(2): 236-45

In Colombia (South America) during recent decades the administration of scopolamine, extracted from plants belonging to the Datura or Brugmansia genus, has become an important neurologic and toxicologic phenomenon. These extracts have been popularly known as "Burundanga." Chemical characteristics and clinical features of scopolamine intoxication are described. Anterograde amnesia and submissive behavior found in patients intoxicated with scopolamine are analyzed. Burundanga intoxication is related to other toxic phenomena found in different countries and similitudes with transient global amnesia are emphasized.
Datura seeds look like brownish hot-pepper or tomato seeds. They are flat or lens-like disks, about 1/8 inch in diameter, with an irregular bulge where the stem-scar is. The intoxication from Datura and other plants in that same group (the Nightshade family, "Solanaceae") is more of a delirium than a psychedelic experience. The intoxication resembles that of a strong dose of Mandrake tea, for instance. Other symptoms would be a dry mouth, a wierd floaty feeling, and muddled thinking. The active substances in Datura-like plants are also quite toxic and have been fatal on occasion.

From: [email protected] (Eli Brandt)
Subject: Re: datura seeds...
Date: 30 Sep 91 21:41:48 GMT
Organization: Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA 91711
The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens, Schultes and Hofmann, sez that:

Datura metel's seeds have a total alkaloid content of 0.2 to 0.5 percent, mostly scopolamine. More relevantly, D. inoxia is similar in alkaloid content to D. metel. You could look up the ED and LD for scopolamine and calculate the appropriate mass of seeds. You might want to assume the alkaloid content to be significantly higher than 0.5%, just to have a decent margin. Remember, the LD takes precedence over the ED. :-}

I take no responsibility for any gruesome death which may be caused by the above information.

Eli Brandt [email protected]

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