Thursday, May 27, 2010

Psychoactive Drugs

Psychoactive Drugs
The historical record of drugs consumed by our Neolithic ancestors could have been unduly influenced by those that exhibited an effect in the mind, such as mescal bean, peyotl, betel, the poppy, alcohol, coca, cannabis, tobacco, soma and pituri.

The social and recreational use of these drugs is associated with artifact, in much the same way as nicotine and alcohol are today involved with pipes and liquor glasses respectively.

Drug employed for medicinal purposes, by contrast, do not leave enduring evidence of their consumptions, particularly if they were also considered to be foods rather than medicine – as is still the case today among North American Indians who cultivate certain plants for consumption as food, yet also employ them for therapeutic purpose.

It is hardly surprising therefore that archeologists have found more evidence of drugs for social and recreational purposes that those selected as medicinal substances.

It is noteworthy that when written records appeared in the third millennium BC onwards, psychoactive drugs did not appear to be dominant.

Not only has it been controversial that the original use of drugs was in religious rituals but it has even been claimed that early religious practices arose from the cultic use of psychoactive drugs.

This may controversial, but the role of wine in religious practice in ancient times is beyond dispute if we consider the Greek Dionysian festivities, the Roman Bacchanalia and the importance of wine in Judaism and Christianity.
Psychoactive Drugs
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