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Top 10 Entheogens
4 min

Top 10 Entheogens

4 min
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These entheogens are the most popular and widely used in today's day and age. Explore this transcendental list.

Entheogens are substances that induce psychoactive effects, which are used for spiritual, religious, medicinal, and recreational purposes. These substances have been used for thousands of years to uncover certain aspects of consciousness that are inaccessible in a sober state.

Entheogens come in many different forms. Mushrooms, herbs, synthetics, brews—even animals—can contain psychoactive properties. From ancient tribes to modern society, entheogens have made a huge impact on the way we perceive reality.

Here we present the most common and noteworthy entheogens that have carried users through spiritual journeys. We don't promote the use of the following substances; this article is written for educational purposes only.

10. MORNING GLORY

Morning Glory
Ipomoea Tricolor

Morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor) is an entheogenic plant that develops beautiful blue flowers, hence its nickname “Heavenly Blue”. The seeds of this plant are used for entheogenic purposes. Morning glory has been used by Mexican Native Americans dating back to the Aztecs to explore other planes of consciousness.

Ergine is the main psychoactive substance of morning glory, but other alkaloids like lysergic acid hydroxyethylamide and ergonovine are also produced by the plant. Terence McKenna explained his experiences on morning glory in a YouTube clip. He entered a state of hypnagogia, saw dancing rats, spinning geometric wheels, fantastic visuals, and the rupture of the mundane plane.

It’s crucial to note that morning glory seeds available from the local gardening store or florist can be toxic since they’re often covered with toxins to prevent recreational use.

9. KAVA

Kava
Piper methysticum

Kava (Piper methysticum) produces anxiolytic and psychoactive effects. Also known as "kava-kava" or "yaqona", this plant is a member of the pepper family. Kava is used by the indigenous population of the Pacific and Polynesian Islands for its tranquil and euphoric effects. It’s considered a mild entheogen, and is currently legal in the United States and many other countries around the world.

To consume this entheogen, the roots of the kava shrub are made into a drink. Anxiolytic and psychotropic effects are commonly experienced at higher doses. In smaller doses, kava induces relaxing sensations. Kava can cause liver problems and indigestion when consumed in large quantities.

8. FLY AGARIC

Fly Agaric
Fly Agaric

Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) is an entheogenic mushroom that can be easily confused with lethally poisonous mushrooms. Fly agaric contains ibotenic acid, which is then converted to muscimol to produce the sought-after psychoactive effects. When not converted properly, ibotenic acid can cause serious damage.

Muscimol supposedly generates sedative, dreamy, and trippy effects. Samuel Ödmann, a Swedish professor, suggested in 1784 that Vikings used fly agaric to induce “berserker rages”. Allegedly, this entheogenic mushroom produces either "heavenly" or extremely frightening effects. If fly agaric is prepared incorrectly, or mistaken with a poisonous mushroom, the consequences can be grave. According to its users, this entheogen tastes absolutely disgusting.

7. SALVIA DIVINORUM

Salvia Divinorum
Salvia Divinorum

Salvia divinorum should not be confused with regular cooking sage; they're two different species of the Salvia genus. Salvia divinorum is a very potent entheogen that’s often not grouped with other psychoactive compounds.

The effects are usually not experienced as euphoric, but rather as very peculiar and frightening. This plant grows quite locally in Sierra Mazateca in the Oaxaca region, and is used by the Mazatecs to induce shamanic experiences. It can be chewed, drunk as a tea, or smoked. The Mazatecs prefer to chew the leaves. Salvia divinorum can be hazardous when taken in large quantities.

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6. LSD

LSD
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is probably the most well-known entheogen of the 20th century. LSD is a synthetic entheogen developed by Albert Hofmann in Basel, Switzerland as part of a research programme. After accidentally ingesting it, he was the first to experience the entheogenic powers of this substance that would virtually define the hippie era of the ‘60s.

The famous Woodstock festival in 1969 is generally understood as being historically the largest LSD hotspot. This entheogen is very potent in terms of the quantities necessary to experience a "full trip". The substance is diluted in water and usually dripped on colourful pieces of paper, which are then ingested. The effects are mind-bending; interesting hallucinations occur and many users experience profound spiritual wisdom and euphoria under the influence.

5. SAN PEDRO CACTUS

San Pedro
Trichocereus Pachanoi

San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi) is a well-known entheogenic cactus that grows in the Andes Mountains of South America. San Pedro grows in bundles as long, column-like pillars. The earliest records of its use are depicted in a carving made by the Chavín culture that dates back to approximately 1400–400 BCE, displaying a figure holding the San Pedro cactus.

The effects are often noted as "masculine" as opposed to cannabis, whose effects are referred to as "feminine". Consumers of this cactus often refer to San Pedro as a “grandfather” figure. San Pedro contains several alkaloids, including mescaline and 5-dimethoxyphenethylamine, which are psychoactive substances that induce transcendental entheogenic experiences.

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4. IBOGA

Iboga
Tabernanthe Iboga

Iboga (Tabernanthe iboga) is a shrub that grows in Gabon and Cameroon, and has been used by the native population to combat fatigue, hunger, and thirst. It's also used as a stimulant, aphrodisiac, and for entheogenic purposes to connect with spiritual ancestors. Ibogaine is the main psychoactive compound produced by the plant.

In terms of its psychoactive effects, users note that it brings up early memories, which help to review and reassess one’s life. It can also induce a dream-like state. The visual hallucinations are more pronounced behind closed eyelids.

The effects of iboga last for approximately 4–8 hours. In 1864, a description based on a sample sent by Griffon du Bellay explained that warriors and hunters used it constantly to keep them awake during night watches. The Bwiti religion uses iboga for sacramental purposes.

3. PSILOCYBE MUSHROOMS

Magic Mushrooms
Psilocybe Mushrooms

Psilocybe mushrooms, colloquially known as “magic mushrooms” or simply “shrooms”, are a very common entheogen, historically used across many different cultures. Psilocybe is a genus of psychoactive mushroom that includes over 100 identified species, which can be found in many different locations around the world.

The most popular species are Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe mexicana. The main psychoactive compounds developed by these mushrooms are psilocybin and psilocin. These magic mushrooms have been used by aboriginal Mexicans who referred to them as “teonanácatl”, which means “divine mushroom”. Hallucinations, spiritual experiences, and euphoria are commonly noted effects of magic mushrooms.

Psilocybe MushroomsView Product

2. PEYOTE

Peyote
Lophophora Williamsii

Unlike the San Pedro cactus, Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) is a short and round cactus, but the similarity lies in the main psychoactive compound: mescaline. The earliest records of peyote use date back to 3780–3660 BCE, after the peyote cactus was identified in ancient Native American tombs.

Peyote was widely used by Huichol natives, a tribe that existed for thousands of years. Peyote has been harvested to such an extent that it is now classified as a “vulnerable” species. To this day, this entheogen is used by Native Americans for shamanic purposes.

1. AYAHUASCA

Ayahuasca
Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca contains the psychoactive component DMT, and is probably one of the most popular psychoactive substances. The ayahuasca brew is commonly made by mixing the Banisteriopsis caapi vine with Psychotria viridis, and cooking it to release the active components.

This brew is prevalent in Northern South American countries like Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia. Members of the Urarina, Shuar, Shipibo, and Tukano groups use ayahuasca for shamanic purposes. The effects of drinking this brew are very powerful, and many experience profound and transformative effects. It’s often taken in the presence of a shaman who guides the user through the entheogenic experience.

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CONCLUSION: ENTHEOGENS AND THE FUTURE

The aforementioned entheogens are by no means the only discovered entheogenic substances. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of plant species that can induce psychotropic effects. With cannabis legalization spreading throughout the world, various psychotropic substances that were used by indigenous tribes for centuries are beginning to make a comeback.

Zamnesia

Written by: Zamnesia
Zamnesia has spent years honing its products, ranges, and knowledge of all things psychedelic. Driven by the spirit of Zammy, Zamnesia strives to bring you accurate, factual, and informative content.

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