(herb diviner’s sage), when chewed, smoked, or brewed into a tea, delivers salvinorin A, a psychoactive substance. Morning glory
seeds, brewed into a tea, contain ergonovine and lysergic acid amide (ergot alkaloids). These are similar to LSD and produce psychedelic effects including colorful visual hallucinations and dissociation, like those produced by Salvia. Both Salvia and Morning glory can be found in nature or bought online. Salvia is legal, illegal, or decriminalized by state. Morning glory seeds themselves are not illegal to possess
, but a pure formulation of lysergic acid amide is classified as a DEA Schedule III controlled substance.
Flying High to Get High
There are those who act locally in getting their high, and those who think globally when they want to expand their consciousness. Narcotourism, aka drug tourism, describes travel to global climes where an illicit drug experience can be easily accessed. A more high-flying name for this is “spiritual travel.” An excellent review of drug tourism
described the types of travelers who seek these experiences and the countries where they can be found, and is useful for practitioners asked to provide travel medicine advice. Of paramount importance in these travelers should be a discussion of drug interactions with prescribed travel medicine drugs and illicit substances, as the former are often discontinued for the fear that drug interactions will interrupt the desired high. As well, the consultation should include the danger of using the substances in countries where illegal drug laws are much stricter (think “Midnight Express”).
Increasing popular destinations for drug tourism are Peru and Brazil, where the consumption of Ayahuasca
is enjoyed (or not enjoyed) for its intense hallucinogenic effects. Used for hundreds to thousands of years in the Amazon in shaman-led ceremonies, it is a concoction made from the from the leaves of the psychoactive chacruna plant (Psychotria viridis) that contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which acts at serotonergic receptors to produce its psychoactive effects, and stems of the vine Banisteriopsis caapi (ayahuasca), which contains a monoamine oxidase inhibitor that breaks down the DMT. DMT is classified as Schedule 1
, but interestingly in 2006, the Supreme Court ruled
(unanimously) that members of a New Mexico church (Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal [UDV]) could use ayuhuasca tea in their religious practices. Currently, there are ayahuasca retreats in the United States
, although the legality of these practices may be questionable.
For a fascinating account of the history of psychedelics, check out How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
by author Michael Pollan.
Dr. Miguel Pineda gave an entertaining and award-winning talk at the Wilderness Medical Society Winter Conference called “Nature vs. Narcotics: Organic and Synthetic Toxidrome Doppelgangers” which discussed some of the plant and mushrooms in this article (accessible by registered attendees of the conference only).