Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Android | Stitcher | Blubrry | RSS | Interesting If True - The Website!Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that always makes it up to you with a good time. I'm your host this week, Aaron, and with me are: I'm Steve, and I read recently that microdosing LSD makes one more productive and creative at work. But I also learned that a microdose of LSD is a lot smaller than I thought it would be... I'm Shea, and this week I learned that before crowbars were invented, crows had to drink at home. I'm Jenn, and this week I learned about magic mushrooms and reindeer. Did you know that reindeer in Alaska liked to eat stoner mushrooms? Like for real. Shamans of the area would collect urine from the stoned out reindeer and ingest that as a secondary high. Clears up Santa’s flying reindeer, doesn’t it? A quick word about last week’s missing show and this week’s longer show. Weddings are hard and despite the planning that I promise we all did, I dropped the ball, and last week’s show didn’t air. Therefore, this week’s show is longer! I know it’s not the same, and my apologies for that, but hopefully this kinda makes up for it. Back to regular programming next week! Shea, take it away...
Psycho Shaman Stuffhttps://www.sciencealert.com/a-native-american-shaman-s-bag-from-1-000-years-ago-contained-multiple-psychotropics A recent discovery in Bolivia has taught us that Native Americans living in South America over 1000 years ago had quite a powerful medical tool kit. Well, I say medicine… these drugs can certainly make you feel better. What anthropologists found was the largest number of psychoactive substances ever found in a single archaeological assemblage from South America. Drugs and paraphernalia were found in a pouch, stitched together from three fox snouts, yes I said fox snouts. the leather bag contained two wooden tablets for grinding psychotropic plants into snuff, two bone spatulas, a woven headband, and a tube with two human hair braids attached, for smoking hallucinogenic plants. "We already knew that psychotropics were important in the spiritual and religious activities of the societies of the south-central Andes, but we did not know that these people were using so many different compounds and possibly combining them together," said anthropologist Jose Capriles of Penn State. Archaeologists weren't specifically searching for psychotropics, but rather an evidence of human habitation in the dry stone shelters of the Sora River Valley Bolivia. There, in a cave, Cueva del Chileno, they found a leather bundle. Radiocarbon dating of the leather wrapping put its age at around 1,000 years old. The team took a small scraping of the material coating the inside of the fox pouch and analyzed it using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. They found that the pouch could have contained four or five different plants - but definitely at least three. "Chemical traces of bufotenine, dimethyltryptamine, harmine, and cocaine, including its degradation product benzoylecgonine, were identified, suggesting that at least three plants containing these compounds were part of the shamanic paraphernalia," the researchers wrote in their paper. "This is also a documented case of a ritual bundle containing both harmine and dimethyltryptamine, the two primary ingredients of ayahuasca [a plant-based psychedelic tea]." Bufotenine is a powerful hallucinogen found in some “magic” mushrooms and secreted from some well-licked frogs. Dimethyltryptamine or DMT is an intense naturally-occurring psychedelic. Harmine is a hallucinogenic alkaloid found in some plants and we all are familiar with coke. Of course, it's impossible to gauge from this sample how the plants were prepared, but it does show that the inhabitants of the Sora River Valley knew about the plants' properties 1,000 years ago. The owner of this bag was likely a shaman. These spiritual leaders were the ones who knew how to use plants to reach an altered state of perception in order to communicate with the spirit world/get real high. "None of the psychoactive compounds we found come from plants that grow in this area of the Andes, indicating either the presence of elaborate exchange networks or the movement of this individual across diverse environments to procure these special plants," said archaeologist Melanie Miller of the University of Otago. "This discovery reminds us that people in the past had extensive knowledge of these powerful plants and their potential uses, and they sought them out for their medicinal and psychoactive properties." Interested in what we have to say about this story? Good news, it’s available right now to subscribers at Patreon.com/iit!
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We Love Beer but Humanity Loves Psychoactives.
“Celebrated in both Hindu and Zoroastrian traditions and scripture, this beverage — which is talked about at length in spiritual texts like the Vedas — is widely thought to have been a potent psychedelic, and it was certainly of immense importance in religious ceremonies. These vivid descriptions paint a picture of a plant extract that was known for increasing awareness, imparting visionary mystical experiences, and helping those who took it to feel strong sensations of bliss, light, poetic inspiration, and immortality. The true origins of the soma beverage have been lost in the millennia since its use, but that has not stopped modern-day scholars from putting out many fascinating theories about what specific plants and effects these ancient people were so enamored with that they held them at the core of their religious practice.”(TLDR: We don’t know what’s in it, but it’s amazing so we’re gonna fake it and try to make it.) Expanding on that, one of the earliest Western quests to ride the Soma wave involved the amanita muscaria, a mushroom that is very much the fairytale standard for fanciful, pixie hang out-type mushrooms. R. Gordon Wasson, a man with a fantastically diverse resume (American author, ethnomycologist, botanist, anthropologist and Vice President for Public Relations at JP Morgan and Co. banking institute), was one of the first modern authors to, using this adorable lil shroom, tackle the slinging of the real Soma drink. Wasson started on his path of researching trippy edibles on his 1927 honeymoon trip to the Catskill Mtns. where he and his Russian-born wife, Valentina, per Wikipedia
“chanced upon some edible wild mushrooms. Fascinated by the marked difference in cultural attitudes towards fungi in Russia compared to the United States, the couple began field research that led to the publication of Mushrooms, Russia and History in 1957.”(pause for Aaron repeating the title in Russian accent) Now, that’s not terribly interesting until you learn that he and his wife decided to travel to Mexico to study the religious use of these mushrooms with the native population. (I’m sure that was a hell of a thing.) However, it gets even MORE interesting when you learn this particular mind-bending trip was funded by none other than the CIA. More specifically, ‘supposedly’ (wink, wink) by MK-Ultra. MK-Ultra, if you aren’t familiar, is the honest-to-goodness, real CIA-led experimental program to investigate the use of mind-altering drugs as a form of mind-control. Their cocktail de jour was ‘lysergic acid diethylamide’, or our dear friend LSD. The story of MK-Ultra a subject that would require its own episode, so moving on… LSD is a much more modern mind trip, having been synthesized by Swiss scientists in the 1930’s. But it made to the US in time to help create some of the best music and movies we ever produced and spawn some of the more fun cults and wacky religious offshoots we’ve ever been blessed with. (Again, gonna have to an entire episode to cover of those.) So yeah, speaking of mind-wacky, what are some of the other early natural fuck-you-uppers that led early peoples to altered states? How about one of my favorite examples of the ‘I don’t care what the other side effects are, will it make me smell sounds?’ themes throughout civilization: Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca, in case you aren’t familiar, is a hallucinogenic beverage enjoyed by many indigenous tribes of the Amazon Basin. It’s made by combining a leaf that contains a potent mind-altering substance (DMT) and a vine with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which work synergistically with DMT to produce a long-lasting hallucinogenic experience. So one fucks you up, the other one keeps you that way. It was used in many traditional religious ceremonies, was considered sacred, and dates back to at least 1,000 years ago. And, of course, when the Europeans showed up they obviously wanted in on the party. Records referencing Ayahuasca from missionaries and conquistadors date back to the 1500s (called ‘work of the devil’ by the lame-ass missionaries) and has continued to be of interest to Westerners until the current times. A couple of Brazilian churches who still incorporate the brew in their services have even made it to the US. In fact, the Supreme Court voted 2006 to allow the use of ayahuasca by the UDV (the church known as União do Vegetal) under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Ayahuasca retreats are also a thing you can do, and now there are even a few open here in the states. It’s very popular with the kind of people who would drive me crazy in a conversation. This is also the point where I talk a little bit more about the additional side effects of ayahuasca and why working housekeeping at one of the retreats would a fucking nightmare. Need another hint? One of its other names is La Purga. Per the Australian Alcohol and Drug website (FYI, Australia has no specific laws against ayahuasca, so it’s legal), “the effects begin in approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour, with maximum intensity from 1 to 2 hours. The effects last from 4 to 6 hours.” In addition to the sought after the euphoria, it is usually accompanied by intense, repetitive vomiting, profuse sweating, diarrhea, anxiety and fear, and paranoia. (No thanks) It is also being studied, however, for possible long term usage being used to help literally rewrite brain chemistry. A paper from NCBI.gove titled ‘Sub-acute and long-term effects of ayahuasca on effect and cognitive thinking style and their association with ego dissolution’ discusses possible evidence that ayahuasca may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of mental health disorders and can enhance mindfulness-related capacities. So, in conclusion, throughout all of our known history, we’ve enjoyed a love affair with substances that alter our reality, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be ending anytime soon.
OutroI’m Aaron, and I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts. Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com. Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms. All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020.
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