Please help me find legal (in the US), mild, safe and non-addictive, yet exotic recreational drugs.
June 18, 2009 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find legal (in the US), mild, safe and non-addictive, yet exotic recreational drugs.

First, let me be clear: coffee and beer are recreational drugs. I'm not looked to get fucked up, and I don't want to hear about anything illegal, highly addictive, or dangerous. I'm just interested in milder psychoactive substances from around the world, especially those with traditional social uses in their cultures of origin.

By way of example: I ordered some high-quality absinthe a while ago. It was my first experience with the Green Fairy, and it was interesting.

I've also tried miracle fruit tablets—not exactly a drug, but in a similar spirit to what I'm driving at.

Now I've learned about paan, a mild stimulant which is chewed in India.

(I was interested in qat, but then I learned that it's Schedule I in the US, and more hardcore than I thought it was. But it's otherwise a good example of what I'm looking for.)

I'm interested in (a) learning about more substances like these, and (b) learning where I can get some. I really just want to learn more, and perhaps sample some of the ones that sound interesting.

Bonus points if there's a culture or tradition around the substance (e.g., the absinthe ritual and absinthe paraphernalia).

Online sources are ideal, since I live far from the city. I will be doing my research before consuming any unfamiliar substance.

Thanks!
posted by ixohoxi to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (50 answers total) 79 users marked this as a favorite
 
Valerian root is used as a mild sedative, but has also been linked to vivid dreams and hallucinations.
posted by kimdog at 6:52 PM on June 18, 2009


Salvia? Not Salvia
posted by necessitas at 6:54 PM on June 18, 2009


Salvia?
posted by EnsignLunchmeat at 6:55 PM on June 18, 2009


Kava is a mild, safe and non-addictive drug (in tablet form). I would describe it as having an equivalent effect to a cup of coffee - but in the other direction. I'm not sure about its legailty in the US but in Australia it is easily obtainable over the internet and through some alternative health practitioners.

Not exactly a wild party drug (in tablet form at least), but it's quite an effective antidote to anxiety, for example prior to public speaking, as it allows you to keep a clear head.
posted by Weng at 6:55 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Have you tried kava? I've had good results with Kona Kava, which you can get online as a powder mix. Not so much luck with grocery store Kava Extracts. Has an interesting mouth numbing effect and acts as a relaxant, similar to benzodiazepines or alcohol. There is some controversy about potential liver toxicity, however, depending on the kind of extract you are using. Supposedly root only extracts are less toxic.

Blue lotus might also be worthy of checking out.

Google "entheogen store" and you should find what you're looking for.

BTW, though salvia is legal in many states, it's not a mild recreational substance.
posted by maishuno at 6:56 PM on June 18, 2009


I should add that chewing it in the traditional manner of Pacific Islanders can produce a much more potent psychoactive effect.
posted by Weng at 6:56 PM on June 18, 2009


nitrous oxide is legal - i think
posted by Flood at 7:00 PM on June 18, 2009


Maté is very mild, but really pleasant. It's a stimulant, but instead of physical jitteriness it promotes alertness and (in my experience) calmness. There's a huge maté culture in South America, complete with rituals.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:00 PM on June 18, 2009


There are some borderline- and quasi-legal plants, including opium poppies, morning-glory and Hawaiian woodrose seeds, etc. Erowid has lots, lots more information.
posted by box at 7:13 PM on June 18, 2009


Nitrous oxide is legal to purchase, as small canisters for making whip cream. Inhaling it recreationally (illegal) gives fun short term effects (over after a couple minutes). Long term use can lead to b12 deficiency. Which is bad. I wouldn't really suggest nitrous given your criteria.
posted by maishuno at 7:13 PM on June 18, 2009


Salvia is anything but mild. I'd keep that off the list.
posted by scalefree at 7:14 PM on June 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oddly enough, nutmeg is a mild hallucinogen. But it takes quite a lot to get any effect from it, and the side effects are pretty bad.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:14 PM on June 18, 2009


Seconding maté. I use it occasionally when I want to take a break from morning coffee without a hammering headache. I buy the Guayaki Yerba Mate at the local supermarket. It's usually in the organic section or wherever all the tea can be found.

I've taken valerian before going to bed and can vouch for the oddball dreams - very vivid and cinematic. Melatonin gives some of the same effects and is generally considered pretty safe.
posted by jquinby at 7:21 PM on June 18, 2009


Diphenhydramine is my personal favorite. (Picked up at just about any drug or grocery store, and it's not even behind the counter! Go with the ones without acetaminophen in them. Memail me if you want details and whatnot.)
posted by sperose at 7:22 PM on June 18, 2009


Also suggesting maté.
Guarana is a stimulant, and my favorite usage of it is in Guaraná Antarctica, a Brazilian soda (tastes kinda like appley ginger ale), that if you live in an area with a decent South American population may be available at certain markets, but here's a place that sells it online.
posted by ishotjr at 7:36 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Salvia is, in my opinion, far, far, *really* far more powerful than LSD. But it goes away fast. In five minutes or so the trip is over. So, it depends on what you mean by mild, imho it doesn't carry any physical or psychological dangers with it, but it is bizarre. I'll 2nd Kava. Perfectly safe and can be fun, soothing and enjoyable, but the taste sucks a bit and you need a blender. The problem with nutmeg is that it's like pot but it lasts forever - 20 hours? More? Dxm is not mild..
posted by rainy at 7:48 PM on June 18, 2009


Re: kava - blecch! I've had some prepared in the traditional Fijian way at a ceremony to request the good favor of some patron gods (long story, for another thread). It looked and tasted like dishwater and made my mouth numb. Maybe worth trying once, but no more for me, thanks.

The antihistamine chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton is one brand) gives me very vivid and cinematic dreams. I've never tried valerian but jquinby's description of these dreams is spot on - not totally pleasant, but not nightmares either, just like going to see a weird movie in your sleep.

For what it's worth, I've long suspected that Thai iced tea contains something beyond ordinary caffeine. It's a fantastic stimulant but, unlike coffee or regular tea, it doesn't give me a headache or the jitters. (If I drink enough coffee to get the equivalent pick-me-up, my hands shake. Thai iced tea is smooooth.) Maybe it's just caffeine + lots of sugar + lots of fat/protein from the condensed milk, but I like my theory that Thai tea is spiked with something from the Golden Triangle. You can buy the bulk tea online or in well-stocked Asian markets; it's loaded with food coloring and makes an alarmingly orange brew. Serve cold and sweet and prepare to rise from the dead.
posted by Quietgal at 7:57 PM on June 18, 2009


A lot of the nootropics are fun to try, I quite enjoy pairing an acetylcholine donor, alpha-gpc, with an acetylcholinerase inhibitor huperzine a. I find it helps increase my motivation. Sublingual B12 made from methylcobalamin at 1-3mg can give a nice mental boost as well.

Adrafinil is the metabolic precusor to modafinil (provigil), which I find very helpful when you've had a subpar night of sleep and want to be alert without the jitters of caffeine.

Bacopia monnieri, and vinpocetine (synthetic alkaloid of the periwinkle plant) have long been used in ayurvedic medicine to improve cognition/memory.
posted by zentrification at 7:57 PM on June 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Kratom has some nice, opiate-like effects - and is mild and legal.
posted by item at 8:05 PM on June 18, 2009


Betel/Areca nuts. Tons of different traditions depending on the country. It's a caffeine-like stimulant. However it can eventually turn your teeth red if you chew them (very) habitually. Can probably get them if you ask around local Asian grocery stores.
posted by Ookseer at 8:10 PM on June 18, 2009


I do not recommend diphenhydramine (benadryl, simply sleep) or other anticholinergics as recreational drugs. Anticholinergic side effects are bad enough at sub recreational dosages, and for the "recreational effects" (hallucinations indistinguishable from reality) you've got a stomach filled with hundreds of milligrams of sleeping pills. You'd probably be better of quaffing cough syrup.

If you are going to consume LSA containing seeds (morning glory, hawaiian baby woodrose) you may get "LSD like" effects. There are physical side effects, you will probably feel sick as you digest the seeds, as they contain a number of chemicals your body does not like. The seeds are legal to purchase, but you are still consuming a schedule I substance.
posted by maishuno at 8:10 PM on June 18, 2009


Nutmeg is legal and is mind altering but meets none of your other requirements which is an important point: Most mind altering substances that are legal are still legal because they are nasty in some way and don't lend themselves to abuse.

So go smoke a little J instead.
posted by chairface at 8:30 PM on June 18, 2009


I heartily recommend against nutmeg. I felt like I was stuck, for about 24 hours, in the most boring, trite, painful Tim Burton movie ever. Every once in a while Tim Burton fans think that sounds great. When they do, I suggest that it's more like Tim Burton directing a Sprite commercial--with the clients sitting in the editing room.

I also highly recommend against Benadryl (diphenhydramine). And datura (jimson weed). Both of these result in hallucinations you can't tell from reality. I once had a several hour phone conversation with my dad while on datura. I called him up the next day and said, "Sorry for calling you yesterday. I was on drugs and talking some really weird shit. My bad." To which he replied, "You didn't call me yesterday." Thing is, even years later, I still remember this non-existent conversation as well as any real conversation. I'm oh so glad I made it home on the bus before the shit started to kick in, 'cause I wouldn't have otherwise.

Salvia is kinda interesting once or twice. But, it is very strong, and has some unpleasant side effects (it hurts to be touched by anything, even my t-shirt). I disagree with the contention that it's stronger than LSD--the strength of LSD is largely determined by dose, with most contemporary users avoiding what I'd consider a real trip.

How about the San Pedro cactus? It contains mescaline, the same as peyote, but it's legal. At least the cactus is. Consuming it is illegal.

I like nitrous oxide, personally. But, the rush only lasts a few seconds. And there are some bad effects of over use.

Perhaps I'm jaded by years of illegal drug use, but most of the legal stuff people have mentioned above is non-recreational. Your example of caffeine is non-recreational. One doesn't enter another state of mind, one simply has some particular aspect enhanced--you're just as bored as you were when you started. Hell, as far as I'm concerned, neither cocaine nor amphetamines are recreational.

Useful for getting up in the morning? Sure. Useful for cleaning the house? Sure. Entertaining in and of themselves? No.
posted by Netzapper at 9:08 PM on June 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Good for you! Consciousness exploration is exciting, and well done regarding your solicitation of the hive! I have nothing to contribute I want to make public, but do contact me if you are interested in my experiences with kava, salvia, etc.

Cheers!

(Of course, YMMV.)
posted by jbenben at 9:28 PM on June 18, 2009


Christ, Netzapper, your relationship with drugs is the exact antipode of DARE.

I tried LSA (morning glory seeds) once in college with some other guys, for whom it did nothing. I felt a body high and sense of wonderment similar to the feeling of LSD, but with no hallucinations. I'm not sure how it was prepared, but I seem to recall my friend mentioning a process involving solvents...sounds like a horrible idea to me now, but really, I have no idea if that memory is accurate.
posted by olaguera at 9:33 PM on June 18, 2009


You could always try smoking banana peels.
posted by spilon at 9:50 PM on June 18, 2009


Beware of the salvia! You must be open to an extremely strange few minutes (I consider it like a 7 hour acid trip compressed into the time it takes you to figure out that you have arms and legs and they move when you think about them). It seems harmless enough at the time because you sober up so quickly, but I think I suffered some semi-permanent psychological damage. It's the only hallucinogen type substance that I sometimes think I should have skipped. I would, though, give Kava Kava and Valarian high marks for pleasurability and probable safety. And weed. Oh, and if you eat morning glory seeds, you must make sure they have not been treated with fungicide, you do not want to ingest that stuff.
posted by cvilleluke at 9:57 PM on June 18, 2009


Christ, Netzapper, your relationship with drugs is the exact antipode of DARE.

That's probably because I got myself excused from the DARE program in grade school. I wasn't using drugs or anything. I just didn't want to sit through it. So I got to go read in front of the principal's office instead.

I'm just sure that if the red-faced prick of a cop teaching it had had the chance to exhort me, I would have turned out totally differently.

I'm not sure how it was prepared, but I seem to recall my friend mentioning a process involving solvents...sounds like a horrible idea to me now, but really, I have no idea if that memory is accurate.

Eh. Anything that dissolves something else is a solvent. Water is a solvent. Ethanol is a solvent. Between water and ethanol, you can dissolve most naturally occurring chemicals. Although for non-polar alkaloids (including THC and its friends) I prefer isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Mind you, you shouldn't consume most solvents. But so long as the solvents have been evaporated thoroughly, there's no reason not to consume the solutes.
posted by Netzapper at 10:07 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Larium (anti-malarial drug) always gives me the craziest, craziest dreams... I think it may have been superseded by another drug w/ less side effects, but I never minded the side effects.
posted by jcruelty at 10:15 PM on June 18, 2009


Matcha. It is the purest form (powdered) of green tea. Whisk it with hot water and drink. It gives a pleasant, calm feeling, but at the same time a nice burst of energy (caffiene). It is also super high in antioxidants and quite good for you, in general.
posted by ainsley at 10:47 PM on June 18, 2009


seriously, the most potent "legal" drug on the market now is salvia. You need to buy the strongest extract you can find (x40 ideally). Be warned from avid drug users (pot, lcd, shrooms, etc etc.) this tends to be to strong of a high for them and i know a lot of my friends who wont do it anymore. Granted it only lasts 5 minutes or so.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 11:25 PM on June 18, 2009


I've got kava kava in my system right now. Got it at Whole Foods. I'm relaxed, and getting very sleepy.
posted by univac at 11:47 PM on June 18, 2009


Diphenhydramine is my personal favorite. (Picked up at just about any drug or grocery store, and it's not even behind the counter! Go with the ones without acetaminophen in them. Memail me if you want details and whatnot.)

DO NOT TAKE ANTICHOLINERGICS TO GET OFF. This is a seriously bad idea. At recreational doses, they are all kinds of bad for your body.

The antihistamine chlorpheniramine maleate

is like the worst possible anticholinergic you could take for recreational purposes. This is the chemical in Coricidin Cough & Cold that's caused all those kids to die or have other horrible things happen to them. Really, you shouldn't take any drug you can buy OTC at Walgreen's in anything other than the recommended dose. A Tylenol overdose is worse than a heroin overdose.

Besides this, the anticholinergic "high" is the least fun drug experience I've ever had. It's like what those old propaganda films say happens on LSD: occasionally horrific (spiders are a common one) hallucinations that are totally indistinguishable from reality. You can hardly even tell you're high, but will find yourself playing with objects that disappear, having conversations with people that don't exist, etc.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:13 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Larium (anti-malarial drug) always gives me the craziest, craziest dreams... I think it may have been superseded by another drug w/ less side effects, but I never minded the side effects.

I'm sure it's different for everyone, but my vote is to stay far away from Larium. I started taking it in preparation for an extended vacation in Central America. It's true the dreams were crazy weird, but a few days in I started feeling psychotic during waking hours. It got so bad I stopped taking it when I decided I'd rather just have malaria.
posted by trip and a half at 3:09 AM on June 19, 2009


(I was fortunate and didn't contract malaria.)
posted by trip and a half at 3:14 AM on June 19, 2009


Mugwort is supposed to give you strange dreams. Never tried it, myself.
posted by dilettante at 3:25 AM on June 19, 2009


Just chiming in to nth all the words of caution regarding Salvia - I have no little experience with a number of consciousness-altering substances, and Salvia is the only one I can think of that I have absolutely zero interest in ever repeating. Very strange stuff.
I know a couple of people who claim to enjoy it, but they're of the hardcore psychonaut bent, and it's very important to realise that it's a powerful shamanic-type substance rather than the "weed-substitute" that it pains me to see it being marketed as by head-shops & festival stalls. Certainly not for shits & giggles.
posted by anagrama at 5:03 AM on June 19, 2009


Clary Sage is useful for lucid dreaming; use in an arometherapy vapouriser by the bed before sleeping. Don't use it if you've been drinking. Unfortunately, makes the whole house smell of roasted meat.

I wouldn't say that yerba mate is non-addictive - elderly relatives from South America at a friend's wedding had to bring their whole paraphernalia with them, as otherwise they got splitting headaches if they skipped their thrice-daily dose. Pretty similar to caffeine, then.
posted by scruss at 5:14 AM on June 19, 2009


Probably worth mentioning that you can do salvia in a variety of ways that are longer-lasting and less immediately intense than smoking. Making a tea infusion from fresh leaves or soaking leaves in water and chewing them for a short period of time, e.g. The "MUST SMOKE 40X!" way the highly concentrated, fast and powerful version has been marketed is probably largely responsible for many states now banning it.
posted by mediareport at 5:16 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Two more occurred to me overnight: Sensory Deprivation and Binaural Beats. While I cannot vouch for the efficacy of either of these techniques, I am intrigued by the concepts.
posted by EnsignLunchmeat at 5:18 AM on June 19, 2009


A few of you read as far as "legal drugs" and completely ignored the rest of my post. I'm not looking for legal highs—as someone pointed out upthread, most of those are dangerous or have unpleasant side effects, which is why they're still legal. I did my share of weed, LSD, MDMA, and pills back in the day—if I wanted to get high, I'd just buy a dub sack.

And, at the risk of sounding like a crotchety old man, some of you should really have more respect for your bodies. Yes, the anti-drug people peddle a lot of nonsense, but that doesn't mean drugs are entirely without risk. Some of them are quite nasty, actually. And if you're drinking cough syrup to get off—man, just buy a dub sack, you know? That shit's ghetto.

Your example of caffeine is non-recreational. One doesn't enter another state of mind, one simply has some particular aspect enhanced

Your first statement does not follow from your second. Wikipedia entry on recreational drugs.

Most of these, though, are excellent responses, as I've come to expect from the hive. Keep 'em coming.
posted by ixohoxi at 6:19 AM on June 19, 2009


Two more occurred to me overnight: Sensory Deprivation and Binaural Beats.

I tried binaural beats quite extensively a few years ago and I did not notice any effects from it. Others' results may vary, of course.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 7:11 AM on June 19, 2009


I would like to say, first off, I think a lot of the people making themselves sick on banana peels and nutmeg and robotussin are junior high school kids who need to suck it up and spend $20 on some pot. I agree with you on that point, and personally I'd rather candyflip. However, I do love myself some wormwood.

Absinthe is booze. The only active ingredient in it besides ethanol alcohol is wormwood, the source of the thujone.

Wormwood is perfectly legal to grow, and even if it wasn't, you'd have to be a botanist to identify it as anything out of the ordinary. It just looks like a bog-standard green plant anyone would have in their yard. It's not even particularly pretty. My friend had a bushy little plant grown in a pot on his patio. It thrived quite well.

You can get Artemisia Absinthium seeds here for $5. I can't vouch for the extracts or foliage. If you've got any sort of green thumb and don't mind waiting, I recommend just growing the plant; your supply will never run out, it's cheaper, and a fun little project.

I don't have any experience with absinthe, so I don't know what it's like to be drunk at the same time as high. But wormwood alone is overwhelmingly similar in intensity and effects to being stoned on marijuana.

You take some leaves and steep them in hot water like any other tea. Add honey or sugar to taste. Sip, sip. Ah.

Like I said, it's similar to pot (relaxed, goofy, giggly); the only difference I found is that thoughts would just appear out of no where. You know how on ecstasy, you don't hallucinate, but all of a sudden you get great ideas and are absolutely convinced they're the most brilliant and true thing ever? Like that. Loopy ideas and thoughts pop fully formed out of your consciousness.

When I was drinking wormwood with friends, two of us were on chairs, and two of us were sitting on the ground. I remember suddenly announcing, wonder in my voice, that the two people in the chairs were a set of salt and pepper shakers, and us on the ground, we were another set of salt and pepper shakers!

We didn't morph into salt and pepper shakers, there were no dancing salt and pepper shakers. It's not hallucinogenic, no matter what people say. But it sure does make you goofy, and I would say it's worth a $5 investment to be able to get stoned without smoking anything and without paying lots of money and without breaking the law.



PS: I think nitrous oxide is incredibly boring on it's own. If you're on something else, a canister or two is fun, but doing a ton of it alone is headache-city and lame.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:21 AM on June 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


Oh, and to close out the dream altering stuff, vitamin B6 is apparently used to spark lucid dreams.
posted by jquinby at 8:37 AM on June 19, 2009


I don't have any experience with absinthe, so I don't know what it's like to be drunk at the same time as high.

It's very difficult to describe. The imagery on the old posters and paintings is spot-on: it simply feels enchanted. There are no hallucinations, of course, but patterns of light and shadow (such as moonlight through foliage) are strangely captivating, and it's a very clear-headed buzz despite the large dose of alcohol—things appear to be in sharper focus, more present somehow. It almost does feel like there are fairies lurking in the shadows, plotting some good-humored mischief. I remember feeling very alert and engaged, yet relaxed.

I drank two glasses (it was this stuff), liked the taste more than I thought I would (the people who say it tastes like mouthwash are drinking shitty touristy absinth from eastern Europe—not absinthe; there's a difference), and had a great time talking around the fire and playing musical instruments on the back lawn and running through the farm field with my friends.

Then I blacked out (this has never happened to me before), vomited all over the bathroom (I had never done this either—I mean, I've puked from drinking, but I'd never left a mess for others before), and woke up feeling like I'd given birth to, and then been run over by, a bulldozer. Seriously, it was the worst hangover of my life—it lasted two days, and for the first day I could barely get out of bed to take a leak and force some food down. I did have some red wine prior to the absinthe, but the hangover was still entirely out of proportion to the amount of alcohol I consumed.

Maybe I drank too much, or maybe my body just doesn't like absinthe. I'd like to try it again, but I'll be more careful with the dosing next time. I can put away an equivalent amount of whiskey with no problem, so there's certainly something going on aside from the alcohol.
posted by ixohoxi at 9:26 AM on June 19, 2009


Oh, and thanks for the link to the wormwood seeds—I knew about wormwood and thujone in absinthe, but it's never occurred to me to grow my own wormwood. I guess I didn't realize it was useful on its own—I've done a lot of reading about absinthe, and nothing has ever mentioned wormwood as a standalone intoxicant. I'm definitely going to order those seeds and give it a shot.
posted by ixohoxi at 9:31 AM on June 19, 2009


Thanks again for all the great responses. Ordering wormwood seeds now. I've tried valerian (and enjoyed it); I've had maté once or twice, but will try it again as a possible substitute for coffee (which I drink in volume to focus on complex programming tasks—but it makes me uncomfortably tense sometimes). I'm especially interested in kava, which (according to Wikipedia) may be effective for social anxiety (which I think I have), and sounds enjoyable besides.

Will also look into matcha, mugwort (presumably similar to wormwood?), kratom, blue lotus, and maybe a small amount of salvia tea (with proper research beforehand).
posted by ixohoxi at 11:44 AM on June 19, 2009


I haven't personally tried it, but good old Erowid says that Passionfruit vine -- which is sold in many nurseries as it has a particularly pretty flower, not to mention that some varieties produce yummy fruit -- is a mild MAOI. Cut length of vine, steep in boiling water, drink tea, get mild buzz. Similarly, Syrian Rue seeds are supposed to give some slight effects, although most people combine them with other natural drugs (mushrooms, ayahuasca) to potentiate their effects. I think they have harmaline alkaloids in them, but I'm on an iPhone and can't check that right now.

Seriously, Erowid is great for this stuff; I was amazed at how many of the plants listed in their database were already growing in my backyard garden (as ornamentals). Who knew coelus was a drug?
posted by Asparagirl at 12:41 PM on June 19, 2009


Yeah, I'm familiar with Erowid. I was about to link to the "Chemistry" archives at the once-great hyperreal.org, but I see they now just redirect to Erowid (which is now hosted by Hyperreal).

The amount of info on Erowid is staggering. They do great work. I'd love to see the site dragged into the modern web era, though—it's really starting to look and feel dated.
posted by ixohoxi at 1:07 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


My personal favorite is Calea Zacatechichi, also known as Aztec Dream Herb. It's main effect is inducing lucid dreams, but it also has some other effects such as auditory hallucinations and a euphoric feeling. I personally have experienced all three of these, while others I know have not always been so lucky. It's very hit or miss, sometimes working amazingly, other times just mellowing you out and then not really effecting your dreams.

The best thing about it is it is cheap compared to a few of the things you mentioned. I have purchased an ounce for around 5 or 6 dollars shipped, and I eventually intend on growing it. My preferred method is to brew it in a tea, other people like to smoke it, and some people smoke it and drink the tea together. But overall that ounce will last you a long time, and normally yields some pretty good results.

As for culture, you can't get much better than the Chontal Indians of Oaxaca using it to clear the senses and induce visions. It also has links to the Aztecs using it for a similar purpose. It has been given names like the Leaf of God if that gives you an idea of where to start looking for some interesting history.

My personal experiences with dream herb have always been positive. It's definitely a mild plant that can relax you, and then when you fall asleep you have crazy dreams. Some of the things I have noticed are hearing heartbeats which aren't your own, a loss of your sense of time, and really vivid/lucid dreams. The only warning I have is that it is incredibly bitter, especially to drink it in a tea. It's not so bad smoked, but even then, it doesn't taste good. But I think the effects it has are well worth the taste.

Oh and to get you started on more research here is the obligatory link to erowid.
posted by MaHaGoN at 6:43 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


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