Do drugs have religious import? A 40-Year Retrospective

Four decades ago, Huston Smith published one of the mostinfluential articles ever written on psychedelics, titled “Do Drugs Have Religious Import?” As part of “The Oral History of PsychedelicResearch Project,” he was interviewed and invited to revisit this topic. The interview covers his personal experiences, as well as the influences of psychedelic experiences on religious traditions and contemplative practices. Examples of such influences that are discussed include the ancient Vedic tradition and Eleusinian mysteries, and the contemporary Native American Church. At the social level, he reflects on factors that limited the effectiveness of the psychedelic movement of the 1960s in producing significant socialchange, the state of contemporary culture, society, and drug policy, and the role of elders in society.