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.
Network in Paradise at the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference & Expo
According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc, the global legal cannabis market is expected to reach USD 66.3 billion by the end of 2025. Helped in part by the increasing acceptance of cannabis to treat numerous medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, arthritis, and neurological disorders, along with the lucrative revenue created by legal cannabis sales, there has never been a more crucial time for entrepreneurs and businesses to network and expand their businesses on a global scale.
As one of the leaders in international business-to-business (B2B) events, the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo brings together top cannabis industry experts from around the globe including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean.
Taking place September 26-28 at the Montego Bay Convention Center, in beautiful Montego Bay, the fourth annual CanEx Jamaica Business Conference & Expo features addresses, panel discussions and presentations on a variety of topics — from advocacy, cultivation, science and medicine to investment, banking and finance, and the business of cannabis including women entrepreneurship.
Over 70 world-class speakers and panelists will provide insights into the direction of the global cannabis industry to over 3,000 delegates.
Steve DeAngelo, founder of Harboride dispensary and the Last Prisoner Project, is speaking on two panels — “Post Decriminalization of Cannabis: Towards Restorative Justice” and “Strategic Approaches to Cannabis Investments” to how the investment landscape is evolving.
Bruce Linton, founder of Canopy Growth Corp, the first cannabis producing company in North America to be listed on a major stock exchange, will host a fireside chat with CanEx founder, Douglas K. Gordon.
Former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, will host “The Global Cannabis Movement” that will explore what globalization means in practical terms for the industry, where things stand presently and the future of the global market.
Cam Battley, Chief Corporate Officer of Aurora Cannabis Inc., will be speaking on the panel “CEO Roundtable: Roadmap to Sustainable Profitability for the Industry” to discuss the global challenges and opportunities facing the cannabis Industry.
Plus, over 200 exhibitors and sponsors, from cultivators to investment firms and media experts will provide attendees opportunities for networking, business expansion and identify new areas of growth within the legal industry.
Held for the first time in 2016, CanEx Jamaica is responsible for connecting cannabis experts, researchers, business professionals, creating new strategic partnerships in a truly memorable and vibrant setting.
For more information, visit canexjamaica.com.
After 25 Years, Supreme Closes Iconic Lafayette Store
In a move that has shocked through the streetwear community, Supreme has closed its original space on Lafayette after 25 years of business.
Back in February, the brand announced that its famous Lafayette location would be under renovation. Now, due to the unforeseen closure, the 190 Bowery location in Manhattan will now be the brand’s main location in the Big Apple.
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Off the Record, It’s National Expungement Week
“Would you like to know an absolutely crazy fact? There are 77 million people in the United States who have a criminal record.” This crazy statistic that instantly grabs your attention is how Seth Rogen opens the PSA for National Expungement Week.
Rogen also asks, “What does ‘expungement’ mean?” ‘On the record’, expungement means, clearing or sealing the record of a person’s prior arrest, criminal charges or conviction.
That’s a possibility for some of the 77 million people with criminal records — a large amount being minor offenses — which make up nearly a quarter of the population of the United States. Having a criminal record seriously impedes the ability to live for millions of people. It restricts access to jobs, housing, education, and the right to vote.
Cage-Free Cannabis is rooted in three kinds of justice, from reparative, to economic and environmental. Equity First Alliance works to bring reparative justice to, and be a voice for, those who have been most harmed by the War on Drugs.
The initiative will see over 40 events held in 30 cities, which will host workshops, allowing people to meet with lawyers and experts who can help them clear records, from September 21-28.
Among other company’s and businesses, N.E.W. is supported by Houseplant, the cannabis company launched by Rogen and Evan Goldberg, in the hopes of exposing the social injustices associated with cannabis convictions.
With 18 events in 15 cities that helped nearly 300 people begin the process of changing their records, the inaugural National Expungement Week in 2018 was clearly a success and led to the initiative returning this year.
If you’re interested in clearing your record or helping someone else do the same, you can find further information — including the dates and details of specific events — on the official site of N.E.W.; offtherecord.us.
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