Entheogens have been used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Some countries have legislation that allows for traditional entheogen use. However, in the mid-20th century, after the
discovery of LSD, and the intervention of
psychedelic therapy, the term entheogen, invented in 1979, later became an umbrella term used to include artificial drugs,
alternative medical treatment, and spiritual practices, whether or not in a formal religious or traditional structure.
, an entheogenic cactus that has been used for over 3,000 years.
Today the vast majority of extracted mescaline is from columnar cacti, not vulnerable
Entheogens have been used in a
ritualized context for thousands of years.
R. Gordon Wasson and
Giorgio Samorini have proposed several examples of the cultural use of entheogens that are found in the archaeological record.
 Evidence for the first use of entheogens may come from Tassili, Algeria, with a cave painting of a mushroom-man, dating to 8000
BP. Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at
Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the
Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC, confirming previous historical reports by
1950s – present
. Mescaline was the first (1887)
compound to be extracted and isolated from nature (from peyote).
With the advent of
organic chemistry, there now exist many
synthetic drugs with similar psychoactive properties, many derived from the aforementioned plants. Many pure
active compounds with psychoactive properties have been isolated from these respective organisms and chemically synthesized, including
LSD) and synthetic drugs (e.g.,
2C-B used by the
Sangoma) have also been developed. Alexander Shulgin developed hundreds of entheogens in
TiHKAL. Most of the drugs in PiHKAL are synthetic.
Entheogens used by movements includes biotas like
Neo-American Church), extracts like
União do Vegetal), the semi-synthetic drug
Neo-American Church), and synthetic drugs like
Temple of the True Inner Light) and
Both Santo Daime and União do Vegetal now have members and churches throughout the world.
commonly used at public places, like rave parties.
Psychedelic therapy refers to therapeutic practices involving the use of psychedelic drugs, particularly serotonergic psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, mescaline, and 2C-i, primarily to assist
MAPS has pursued a number of other research studies examining the effects of psychedelics administered to human subjects. These studies include, but are not limited to, studies of Ayahuasca, DMT, ibogaine, ketamine, LSA, LSD,
MDE, MDMA, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, Salvia divinorum and conducted multi-drug studies as well as cross cultural and meta-analysis research.