Passive flora? Reconsidering nature’s agency through Human-Plant Studies (HPS)

Plants have been—and, for reasons of human sustenance and creative inspiration, will continue to be—centrally important to societies globally. Yet, plants—including herbs, shrubs, and trees—are commonly characterized in Western thought as passive, sessile, and silent automatons lacking a brain, as accessories or backdrops to human affairs. Paradoxically, the qualities considered absent in plants are those employed by biologists to argue for intelligence in animals. Yet an emerging body of research in the sciences and humanities challenges animal-centred biases in determining consciousness, intelligence, volition, and complex communication capacities amongst living beings. In light of recent theoretical developments in our understandings of plants, this article proposes an interdisciplinary framework for researching flora: human-plant studies (HPS). Building upon the conceptual formations of the humanities, social sciences, and plant sciences as advanced by Val Plumwood, Deborah Bird Rose, Libby Robin, and most importantly Matthew Hall and Anthony Trewavas, as well as precedents in the emerging areas of human-animal studies (HAS), I will sketch the conceptual basis for the further consideration and exploration of this interdisciplinary framework.

Plants, psychoactive substances and the International Narcotics Control Board: The control of nature and the nature of control

This article reviews and critiques the International Narcotic Control Board’s (INCB) 2010 Annual Report’s recommendation about plant materials containing psychoactive substances. It first provides an overview of the United Nations drug control system, then contextualises the INCB’s role in the UN system. Through a reading of the text of the INCB’s 2010 Report and references to contemporary practices of ayahuasca drinking based in fieldwork, the article shows how this Report fits into the international paradigm of the war on drugs and its conflicts with human rights. It is argued that the Board’s recommendation demonstrates an unwarranted attempt to extend the scope of its powers, conflates and thus misrepresents widely diverse plant materials and their effects, fails to distinguish between ‘use’ and ‘abuse’ of psychoactive substances and appears to assume that particular elements of culture—specifically, traditions involving psychoactive substance use—are, or should be, static, eternally frozen in time and place.

Effects of Psychedelic Use on Racial Trauma Symptoms and Ethnic Identity among Asians in North America

There is a need to understand ways in which Asians in North America attempt to heal from racial trauma, given their well-documented high risk of exposure and associated adverse mental health outcomes. We conducted a secondary analysis of Asians from a survey of people of color in North America who have consumed psychedelics in response to racial discrimination. Ninety-two Asian participants (Mage = 30.25, SD = 6.83) completed online questions assessing demographics, racial discrimination frequency, characteristics and acute effects of their most meaningful psychedelic experience, change in racial trauma symptoms 30 days before and after their psychedelic experience, and current ethnic identity. Participants reported improvements in racial trauma symptoms (d = 0.52). Bootstrapped mediation analyses controlling for racial discrimination frequency and psychedelic dose and duration indicated complete mediation of the link between higher intensity of insightful experiences and stronger ethnic identity, via improvements in racial trauma symptoms (indirect effect = .08, 95% CI = [.004, .19]). There was partial mediation for the independent variable of lower intensity of challenging experiences (indirect effect = −.08, 95% CI = [−.18, −.005]). This study highlights the central role of higher-intensity insightful experiences and both higher- and lower-intensity challenging experiences in alleviating racial trauma symptoms and promoting ethnic identity among Asians in North America who have experienced racial discrimination. Future research should attune to culturally relevant outcomes of psychedelic use in response to racial discrimination among Asians.

A review of plants used in divination in southern Africa and their psychoactive effects

Numerous indigenous healing traditions around the world employ plants with psychoactive effects to facilitate divination and other spiritual healing rituals. Southern Africa has thus far been considered to have relatively few psychoactive plant species of cultural importance, and little has been published on the subject. This paper reports on 85 species of plants that are used for divination by southern Bantu-speaking people. Of these, 39 species (45 %) have other reported psychoactive uses, and a number have established hallucinogenic activity. These findings indicate that psychoactive plants have an important role in traditional healing practices in southern Africa.

Ecopsychology and the psychedelic experience

From ecodelic triplit, the peyoteros’ sense of place, interspecies communication and animistic healing to ecocentric entheogenic rituals, psychedelic bioregionalism, biogenetic structuralist ecopsychology and transpersonal ecosophy – this special issue of the EJE explores the verdant intersection between neurobiology and botany, shamanism and animism, and psychology and ecology, fusing mind with Nature in a boiling cauldron full of entheogenic insight.

North Star: ethics for psychedelic business

We envision a future where the businesses delivering psychedelic healing are profoundly shaped by psychedelic wisdom, committed to not replicate the world as it is but to model the world as it could be.

Effect Index

Effect Index serves as the platform for the Subjective Effect Index (SEI), a resource containing formalised documentation of the vast number of distinct subjective states that may occur under the influence of hallucinogens. We strive to comprehensively document and describe the wide variety of potential hallucinogenic experiences. The SEI is presented in an easily readable format that contains not only descriptions, but also image, video, and audio replications of these effects. We believe that in pioneering formalised subjective effect documentation, we may demystify the psychedelic experience. This has the potential to allow hallucinogen usage to become more culturally acceptable, better understood, and create a platform on top of which these substances may be more easily studied. Effect Index was initially founded as a side project on 30 June, 2017 by Josie Kins, the founder of PsychonautWiki and DisregardEverythingISay. It serves as a platform for content that has been in constant development for the previous six years on these sites. However, the aforementioned content is now hosted on its own dedicated platform with the hope of further spreading the documentation and creating a universal terminology set that gives people the vernacular to fully describe experiences that were previously considered ineffable.

Psychedelic Experience

Psychedelic Experience (PEx) is a comprehensive online resource for information surrounding psychedelic substances. We are a community based non-profit organization, created by and for psychedelic and plant medicine communities. Our mission is to support and facilitate global healing and personal growth through safe, responsible and legal use of plant medicines and psychedelic-assisted treatments. We are opposed to the commercialization of psychedelics and believe that profiteering and opportunism go against the very heart of the psychedelic experience. That’s why we are a non-profit and will never be driven by corporate interests or shareholder greed. Our website and global directory service of psychedelic-related organizations seeks to promote the safe, responsible use of psychedelics. We provide accurate, evidence-based information regarding retreat centers, facilitators, shamans, therapeutic modalities, and organizations.

Hallucinogens and dissociative agents naturally growing in the United States

It is usually believed that drugs of abuse are smuggled into the United States or are clandestinely produced for illicit distribution. Less well known is that many hallucinogens and dissociative agents can be obtained from plants and fungi growing wild or in gardens. Some of these botanical sources can be located throughout the United States; others have a more narrow distribution. This article reviews plants containing N,N-dimethyltryptamine, reversible type A monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), lysergic acid amide, the anticholinergic drugs atropine and scopolamine, or the diterpene salvinorin-A (Salvia divinorum). Also reviewed are mescaline-containing cacti, psilocybin/psilocin-containing mushrooms, and the Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina mushrooms that contain muscimol and ibotenic acid. Dangerous misidentification is most common with the mushrooms, but even a novice forager can quickly learn how to properly identify and prepare for ingestion many of these plants. Moreover, through the ever-expanding dissemination of information via the Internet, this knowledge is being obtained and acted upon by more and more individuals. This general overview includes information on the geographical range, drug content, preparation, intoxication, and the special health risks associated with some of these plants. Information is also offered on the unique issue of when bona fide religions use such plants as sacraments in the United States. In addition to the Native American Church’s (NAC) longstanding right to peyote, two religions of Brazilian origin, the Santo Daime and the Uniao do Vegetal (UDV), are seeking legal protection in the United States for their use of sacramental dimethyltryptamine-containing “ayahuasca.”

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