An archeological researcher from U.C. Berkley has stumbled upon a stash of really old drugs. Well, to be fair, “stash” might be a bit of an exaggeration. Rather, ayahuasca residue was found in a 1,000-year-old pouch pulled from a cave in the Bolivian Andes mountains.
The finding comes at an interesting time — Denver voters have just decriminalized the possession of psychoactive mushrooms. Not to mention, decades after the illustrious Timothy Leary made a “mockery” of Harvard, scientific interest in hallucinogenic substances is re-emerging with a vengeance.
1,000-Year-Old Ayahuasca Found in Bolivian Cave
A team led by Melanie Miller, an archeologist with an interest in chemical analysis, found an interesting pouch inside a cliff-faced cave in the mountains of Bolivia. The pouch, which consisted of three fox snouts sewn together, turned out the be the ancient equivalent of a drug bag. After swabbing and testing the inside of the pouch, the researchers discovered chemical traces from at least five different psychoactive plants.
Yes, that’s right. Five different psychoactive plants.
The plant residue featured traces of dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is thought to be the active chemical constituent of ayahuasca. These days, ayahuasca is a popular substance of choice among adventure travelers hoping to get a taste of the spirit world. Traditionally, it is an Amazonian brew made from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and other synergistic plants.
While many people travel to experience the profound experience of an ayahuasca journey, the hallucinogenic drink does far more than provide an unforgettable high. For many, the ayahuasca experience is a healing and deeply spiritual one. Considered an entheogen, the herbal concoction was traditionally used by some Amazonian peoples as a tool for cleansing and as a sacrament during traditional religious rituals.
In the Western world, respectable nonprofit organizations like the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies supports research into ayahuasca-assisted therapies for individuals battling drug addiction and post-traumatic stress. While interest in the substance has only increased among Westerners over the past two decades, the sacred mixture is still used traditionally in cleansing and other shamanic ceremonies along the Amazon basin.
The residue found in the Bolivian pouch, however, was a little different. While Amazonian Ayahuasca is commonly made from a vine and a few other native plants, the Bolivian version tested positive for traces of cocaine, harmine, and benzoylecgonine. Of the latter two, harmine is one of the active constituents of ayahuasca and benzoylecgonine is a cocaine derivative.
“This is the first evidence of ancient South Americans potentially combining different medicinal plants to produce a powerful substance like ayahuasca,” Miller explained. Although, references to the use of psychoactive plants can be found in textile weavings that date prior to the Spanish and Portuguese colonization in the 1400s.
An Old-School Tradition of Psychoactive Therapy
The use of psychedelic and mind-altering substances is a long-held human pastime. More and more, archeological evidence points to just how long these substances have been enjoyed and used by the human species. Take, for example, the belongings of the excavated Siberian Ice Princess, which lead to the discovery of psychoactive cannabis resin dated to be over 2,500 years old. Or, in Mesoamerica, archeologists have dated evidence for ritualistic peyote use back 5,000 years.
In the case of the new Bolivian finding, archeologists speculate that the fox nose pouch is pre-Inca, belonging to a member of the Tiwanaku civilization which existed between 550 to 950 AD.
“Our findings support the idea that people have been using these powerful plants for at least 1,000 years, combining them to go on a psychedelic journey, and that ayahuasca use may have roots in antiquity,” Miller said.
Hallucinogens may have a longstanding relationship with humankind, but it is only recently that psychoactive substances have caught the eye of the scientific community. Back in the 1960s and 70s, psychedelics got their first taste of mass consumer culture. Popularized perhaps in part by to the wild experiments from Dr. Timothy Leary and Walter Pahnke, who dosed half of the attendees at a chapel service with psilocybin mushrooms, hallucinogenic substances played a leading role in the cultural renaissance of the hippie era.
After a lull of disinterest, however, psychedelics have once again inspired curiosity in the minds of scientists and medical professionals. Indeed, prior to Colorado’s decriminalization of hallucinogenic mushrooms, multiple studies have demonstrated that psilocybin, the active chemical constituent in the fungi, has produced profoundly beneficial effects in the lives of cancer patients.
One study, led by experts from John Hopkins University and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, found that psilocybin treatment produced “substantial and sustained” improvements in depression and anxiety scores in individuals with terminal cancer. In another study, researchers found that even one single treatment with the compound was able to produce lasting personality changes.
While Tiwanaku civilization may not have used their ayahuasca concoction to manage post-traumatic stress or ease the fears of life-threating cancer patients — who knows exactly where the Tiwanaku went on their journeys — it’s safe to say that these millennia-old medicines are once again finding their place in the spiritual hearts of many.
Tyson 2.0 Launches New Mike Bites Cannabis Gummies
Nearly 25 years after he was disqualified from the World Boxing Association Heavyweight Championship for biting his opponent’s ears, Mike Tyson’s Tyson 2.0 cannabis brand has just released ear-shaped edibles, Mike Bites.
The new ear-shaped edibles are complete with a missing chunk where Tyson removed a portion of Evander Holyfield’s cartilage in what became known as The Bite Fight. After Tyson bit off a chunk of Holyfield’s ear, the 1997 match resumed. However, after attempting to snack on Holyfield’s second ear, Tyson was disqualified and his boxing licence was withdrawn. The Nevada State Athletic Commission handed Tyson a a $3 million fine for his actions and he didn’t fight again for over a year.
Wiz Khalifa Debuts New Taylor Gang x Stündenglass Collab
Wiz Khalifa and his entertainment company Taylor Gang Ent. have collaborated with Stündenglass, the world’s first gravity-powered infuser, to introduce the iconic gold and black Taylor Gang x Stündenglass.
“I’m honored to have collaborated with long time friend Wiz Khalifa, who is as passionate about this product as I am. Our mutual admiration for Stündenglass made it a natural collaboration,” Stündenglass CEO Chris Folkerts said via a press release.
Taylor Gang x Stündenglass is an authentic collaboration developed after the multi-platinum-selling, Grammy-winning, Golden Globe-nominated Khalifa discovered Stündenglass and began enjoying it regularly as seen on his Instagram.
“I love my Stündenglass, and I’m pumped everyone gets to experience this with me now,” Khalifa.
The infuser features a patented 360-degree gravity system that elicits a powerful and immersive experience. It generates kinetic motion activation via cascading water, opposing airflow technology and the natural force of gravity.
The Taylor Gang gravity bing comes in an exclusive black and gold colorway and features two glass globes on a metal base made of aircraft-grade aluminum, surgical grade stainless steel, and high-quality Teflon seals.
Taylor Gang includes artists Ty Dolla $ign, Juicy J, and Berner among others — the former of which has his own line Stündenglass collab with his Cookies brand.
“We’re very excited to launch the official Taylor Gang x Stündenglass. We use glass in our everyday lives, so it only made sense to team up and create an exclusive Taylor Gang collaboration for the fans,” Taylor Gang said.
No Super Bowl for Brock Ollie
With medicinal marijuana being legal in 37 states and recreational cannabis allowed in 18, we should be seeing commercials for companies, products, and services almost as frequently as commercials for sports betting, which is permitted in 30 states in some form.
However, mainstream cannabis advertising continues to be non-existent, as demonstrated in the recent news that NBC has rejected an ad by cannabis e-commerce and advertising platform Weedmaps from being shown during the Super Bowl LVI event his coming Sunday.
Weedmaps reportedly approached the network late last year about airing a Super Bowl commercial that would be “similar to a PSA,” according to reports. Execs volunteered to present some of their earlier educational-based programming, assuring NBC executives that it would not contain any direct-sell messages, which are still forbidden under federal law.
“The answer was a hard no — they wouldn’t even entertain the conversation,” Weedmaps Chief Operating Officer Juanjo Feijoo told Adweek. “We see ourselves as trying to be trailblazers in the industry and making new inroads where others haven’t gone before in cannabis advertising. So it was disappointing.”
The contentious ad personifies cannabis as Brock Ollie, a head of broccoli, the veggie emoji commonly used as a visual representation of cannabis in marketing. The 30-second ad takes viewers through a day in the life of Brock Ollie, whose superfood identity is in jeopardy as he is repeatedly misidentified as cannabis. The ad offers a lighthearted take on the industry’s issues, such as social media censorship and a lack of clear advertising standards, which limit cannabis-related commercials during nationally televised events like the Super Bowl.
“Despite three quarters of the country having legalized cannabis and the bipartisan enthusiasm we continue to see in support for change at the federal level, the industry continues to face roadblocks that inhibit competition in the legal market and stifle opportunities to educate,” Chris Beals, CEO of Weedmaps said. “There’s an irony in the fact that the biggest night for advertising will feature an array of consumer brands in regulated industries, from beverage alcohol to sports betting, yet legal cannabis retailers, brands and businesses have been boxed out.”
The game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams will be played Sunday in L.A.