Racism and the Discrimination Against Cannabis by Ayahuasca Users in Brazil

Foreigners, and even Brazilians, often feel confused by the fierce accusations leveled by the members of different Brazilian ayahuasca religions against each other. Matters become especially fierce in the case of attacks, often seeming to verge on a desire to ban the brew entirely, made against members of CEFLURIS or ICEFLU, followers of the late Santo Daime leader Padrinho Sebastião. This is allegedly due to their acceptance of the sacramental use, in certain of their rituals, of cannabis with ayahuasca. Another point of discord is their acceptance of possession trances alongside the shamanic flight more common among indigenous ayahuasca users. However, if one looks a little further into the history of Amazonian Indian and mestizo shamanism, one will find many different plant species being used in conjunction with ayahuasca; some of them with considerable psychoactive properties. Similarly, in Rio Branco, one will find followers of the Barquinha religion who reserve a special place in their rituals for mediumship and for possession trances and do not receive the criticisms leveled at CEFLURIS or ICEFLU.

Healing Powers of Psychedelics & Other Mindful Practices

Join Mareesa Stertz, intrepid adventurer, filmmaker, and yoga teacher, who fearlessly guides us on this psychedelic adventure of healing. We travel around the world to work with these medicines, explore the underground, and meet the indigenous communities that have stewarded these medicines since ancient times. We witness first-hand how these medicines help regular folks struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, and PTSD, and see how their lives change for the better, through their use of these mind-altering practices.

Women and Psychedelics Forum – Part 2 – Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines

This unique forum aims to challenge the effects of the under-representation of women in psychedelic science and community. Among the fifteen women presenting are some of our most esteemed elders; the forum features prominent voices from both the psychedelic underground and academic researchers.

The Second part of the Women and Psychedelics Forum with a presentation from Sara Reed and panel on Women’s Spirituality, Feminism in Psychedelic Studies, and Drug Reform Activism with Annette Williams, Val Corral, Wendy Chapkis, Michelle Corbin, moderated by Jae Sevelius.

Thandai and Chilam: Traditional Hindu Beliefs About the Proper Uses of Cannabis

Hindu beliefs about appropriate use of cannabis illustrate the capacity of cultural systems to order and direct the course of complex phenomenal events. Cannabis manifests diverse and contradictory effects. These depend not only on dose, frequency and route of administration, but also on subjective and cultural contexts (e.g., Pihl, Shea & Costa 1979). It may very well be that the contradictory results of modern research investigations on cannabis stem from the intricacy of these interactions. Given the current state of the art, paradigms of research methodology may very well be inadequate to develop an understanding of such a paradoxical drug. The Hindu cultural system, on the other hand, accommodates the ambiguities of cannabis through its own complex nature. It provides diverse niches through which antithetical effects of the drug are expressed. Cannabis is said to both interfere with motivation to work and facilitate it. A closer examination reveals that these actions are probably related to the way in which this motivation toward action is defined, and the level of use of the drug. While cannabis appears to interfere with execution of highly complex tasks and the long-range planning that accompanies them, it may facilitate concentrated focus on repetitive endeavors. In some commonsense way, it may be quite simply that it changes a user’s sense of time and the span of the present as well as the sense of relative importance of present and future. So long as an individual is under the influence of this effect (and living in the context that s/he has structured as a result of it), the urgency of accomplishment in the Western sense is diminished. The Hindu belief system accommodates this by prescribing use in such a way that this effect becomes beneficial. A key factor is that low potency preparations (bhang, thandai) are available. It allows individuals with complex life tasks, goals and obligations to indulge in moderation. The drug is also taken in a ritualized context, facilitating concentration and relaxation. It is taken at times, such as in the evening or on holidays, in which focus on the immediate present is a welcome change. Use of the more potent preparations (ganja, charas) is not condoned for this group. Above all, moderation is enjoined and popular folk belief warns of the potential problems of excess. Ganja and charas are regarded more ambivalently as poisons or semipoisons.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Pharmako/Poeia: Power Plants, Poisons, and Herbcraft

Pharmako/Poeia: Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft includes a new introduction by the author and as in previous editions focuses on familiar psychoactive plant-derived substances and related synthetics, ranging from the licit (tobacco, alcohol) to the illicit (cannabis, opium) and the exotic (absinthe, salvia divinorum, nitrous oxide). Each substance is explored in detail, not only with information on its history, pharmacology, preparation, and cultural and esoteric correspondences, but also the subtleties of each plant’s effect on consciousness in a way that only poets can do. The whole concoction is sprinkled with abundant quotations from famous writers, creating a literary brew as intoxicating as its subject.
The Pharmako series is continued in Pharmako/Dynamis (focusing on stimulants and empathogens) and Pharmako/Gnosis (which addresses psychedelics and shamanic plants).

Smoke signals: A social history of Marijuana-Medical, Recreational and Scientific

This is the great American pot story, a dramatic social exploration of a plant that sits at the nexus of political, legal, medical, and scientific discourse. From its ancient origins, to its cutting-edge therapeutic benefits, to its role in a culture war that has never ceased, marijuana has evolved beyond its own illicit subculture into a dynamic, multibillion-dollar industry. Since 1996, when California voters approved Proposition 215, dozens of state and local governments across the country have circumvented federal authority to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Mining the plant’s rich botanical properties, medical researchers are now develop­ing promising marijuana-based treatments for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, chronic pain, and many other conditions. Martin Lee, an award-winning investigative journalist, examines this complex landscape where legal ambiguity meets scientific breakthrough in a panoramic, character-driven saga.

Smoking as Communication in Rastafari: Reasonings with ‘Professional’ Smokers and ‘Plant Teachers’

In Rastafari smoking herbs (cannabis) and tobacco is central to spiritual practices, including grounding (the process of initiation into Rastafari) and reasoning (ritual discussions). This paper presents ethnographic research with Rastafari smokers in England. It shows that smoking is considered a ‘professional’ activity that communicates dedication to the movement, aids in learning different dialects, and facilitates experiences of communication with herbs ‘herself’. Through rituals that ‘professional’ smokers engage in herbs becomes a ‘plant teacher’, which Tupper [2008. The Globalization of Ayahuasca: Harm Reduction or Benefit Maximization? International Journal of Drug Policy, 19:300] defines as ‘a natural divinatory mechanism that can provide esoteric knowledge to adepts skilled in negotiating its remarkable effects’. Appreciation of smoking as a form of multispecies communication between ‘professional’ smokers and ‘plant teachers’ recasts the role of agency in anthropological studies of smoking and contributes to our understanding of consciousness and intentionality in both humans and plants.