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.
Stuff & Puff Berner’s New Cali Pre-Roll
Cannabis mogul Berber is about to drop the latest must-have pre-roll paper from his premium rolling paper brand, Vibes. A new alternative to the traditional cone, The Cali is a cylindrical pre-roll tube that’s been designed for optimum airflow for the optimal smoking experience.
In a press release, the Bay Area rapper says that he’s been rolling for over 20 years, and that over that time, he was constantly told by friends that they would smoke joints over blunts if they could roll them. So he and Vibes co-founders Greenlane developed this innovative alternative.
“As passionate smokers, and connoisseurs, we are gonna continue to focus on quality papers and products that consumers are missing, such as The Cali,” said Berner in a press release.
“All you have to do is stuff and puff with The Cali.”
The Cali is dedicated to those of us who like a big-smoke experience. We found the papers to burn very evenly and smoothly. They are also easy to extinguish and relight, and even burn evenly in areas where I packed too tightly or too loose (deliberately, before y’all start commenting).
Plus, The Cali pre-rolls are massive, so make sure you have plenty of herb on hand for your next session to fully enjoy the experience either with your homies or when you’re chilling alone.
The Cali is offered in three sizes — one, two, and three gram — across all four signature Vibes paper collections: Ultra Thin, Rice, Hemp, and Organic Hemp
Look for Vibes papers at your local retailer nationwide.
Psychonauts Celebrate Magic Mushroom Day
September 20 is Magic Mushroom Day. Similarly to stoners celebrating 4/20 and 7/10, and LSD enthusiasts celebrating 4/19, entheogenic communities around the world celebrate the psychedelic renaissance on 9/20.
The concept was coined in 2015 when Nicholas Reville, a mushroom advocate from Providence, Rhode Island, declared September 20 as an “educational day of action,” apparently citing the spirit of 4/20 as an opportunity to talk about psilocybin reform, regulations and, of course, rejoice in the magic of psychedelics.
“9/20 was chosen because it is at the beginning of autumn, when mushrooms are most plentiful; because it is close to the equinox, representing a change in direction; and because it echoes 4/20 and the successful movement for marijuana decriminalization and legalization,” said Reville in an interview with Rolling Stone.
Magic Mushrooms: The Next “Green” Wave?
Interest around the benefits and effects of psilocybin, the main active ingredient in magic mushrooms, has been steadily growing over the last number of years, with legalization closely following.
At the last election in 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin with Measure 109 for mental health treatment in supervised settings.
At the same time, the District of Columbia decriminalize the use of magic mushrooms and other psychedelic substances with the passage of Initiative 81.
Peep the Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection
Pepsi has partnered with Harlem-based designer and streetwear legend, Dapper Dan, to create The Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection.
As part of the Pepsi “Made for Football Watching” NFL campaign, the iconic collaboration brings the football fan apparel game to the next level with this limited-edition capsule collection created for fans to show up in style, no matter where they’re watching.
The Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection features fashion-forward football-watching pieces including a lounger, hoodie, bucket hat, and custom-patterned Pepsi can to ensure fans are fitted and geared up for every touchdown, sack and fumble.