Hallucinogens in History Essay

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Hallucinogens are a class of drugs that share a vast history, and were used for spiritual and religious practices since the prime of early civilization. They are referenced in the Hindu holy book, Rig Veda, the healing rituals of the Aztecs of Pre-Columbian Mexico, and are often attributed to the illicit practices of those prosecuted during the Salem Witch Trials. The first synthetic hallucinogens were discovered by a Swiss chemist named Albert Hoffman in 1938, and were originally manufactured to psychiatrists to help their patients access repressed emotions. Other uses considered for early hallucinogens included ingestion by doctors to better understand schizophrenic patients, and as an antibiotic. Their recreational use peaked in the 1960s, but began to decline after they were declared illegal in 1966, except in Native American churches where hallucinogens continued to be used as a spiritual tool. Though their popularity is not as prevalent as it had been in the “hippie movement”, their use continues to be recorded within a minority of the high school and college aged population.
Drugs considered to be within the category of hallucinogens include LSD, mushrooms (psyilocybin), mescaline, and N-Bomb. They can be smoked, made into liquor, injected, ingested, snorted, or even licked from the backs of certain toads such as the Sonoran Desert Toad (Erowid.org). Some common “street names” for the substances include acid, blotter, sugar cubes, shroom, zoom, and angel dust. While…