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.
Flowering San Pedro
, 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 peyote
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 Herodotus.
1950s – present
Laboratory synthetic mescaline
. Mescaline was the first (1887) psychedelic
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 mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, salvinorin A, ibogaine, ergine, and muscimol.
Semi-synthetic (e.g., LSD) and synthetic drugs (e.g., DPT and 2C-B used by the Sangoma) have also been developed. Alexander Shulgin developed hundreds of entheogens in PiHKAL and TiHKAL. Most of the drugs in PiHKAL are synthetic.
Entheogens used by movements includes biotas like peyote (Neo-American Church), extracts like Ayahuasca (Santo Daime, União do Vegetal), the semi-synthetic drug LSD (Neo-American Church), and synthetic drugs like DPT (Temple of the True Inner Light) and 2C-B (Sangoma).
Both Santo Daime and União do Vegetal now have members and churches throughout the world.
is an entactogen
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 psychotherapy.
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.