Hallucinogenic plant ayahuasca gains foothold in US

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  1. Apocales 4:35a.m. just one more episode..

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    Los Angeles (AFP) - Dominique was hooked on cocaine and smoked two packs of cigarettes a day until she stumbled onto ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic concoction that she says has changed her life. The French-American woman, who lives in Los Angeles and did not want her real name used, is among thousands of people across the United States who are increasingly turning to the powerful psychedelic brew from the Amazon to overcome addiction, depression or psychological trauma. The potion, prepared and consumed as part of a shamanic ritual, is especially gaining a following in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Thousands are flocking to sample the elixir and swear by its therapeutic properties, despite warnings from scientists and users that ayahuasca can be dangerous and even prove fatal, especially when mixed with other drugs. Ayahuasca's proponents, who include celebrities such as Sting, Paul Simon, Tori Amos and Lindsey Lohan, say the plant offers a spiritual experience like no other. Many also say it has allowed them to overcome traumas that no other conventional therapy can tackle.

    "There's been this misconception that it's the hippies that come with feathers in their hair, but it's pretty much the opposite," says Jeff, who organizes ayahuasca ceremonies in the Los Angeles area and who did not want his real name used. "In a time defined by consumerism and entertainment, people want to have strong experiences, one might consider spiritual experiences, something sacred." According to Dennis McKenna, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing, some 100 clandestine ayahuasca ceremonies are held nightly in New York and other cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. McKenna said it is difficult to get a firm count on the number of ceremonies held across the country as ayahuasca contains the hallucinogenic drug dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is illegal in the United States and is in the same category as Ecstasy and heroin. Two Brazilian churches in the western United States that use ayahuasca as a sacrament are exempt from the ban. Firm believers in ayahuasca say they drink the foul-tasting tea only at intervals of several months and must observe a strict diet before sampling the brew.

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    https://www.yahoo.com/news/hallucinogenic-plant-ayahuasca-gains-foothold-us-034521858.html
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  2. Mandalore in recovery from sobriety

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    If Lindsey Lohan says it makes you normal then that's good enough for me.

    Seriously; DMT is fucking awesome. It was a totally recreational trip for me, though. God, I fucking love hallucinogens. When you absolutely despise the world you live in, there's nothing remotely scary about leaving reality for a little while.
  3. billy_boatrocker Virtue Signaler

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    Safer to do it in LA or SF. A lot of the "Shamans" in Peru are crooked assholes who rip off the yokel hippie tourists. Some idiots end up in the hospital or dead. The people who go there for the experience are generally credulous idiots who have zero street smarts.
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  4. Apocales 4:35a.m. just one more episode..

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    Millennials on Spirit Quests Are Ruining Everything About Ayahuasca

    Ayahuasca was a sacred medicine. Now it's a global 'it' drug, and the trendiness is threatening the source.

    This is the second of three dispatches from the 2016 World Ayahuasca Conference in Rio Branco, Brazil. The first one can be found here.


    From Brooklyn to Australia, there's a growing demand for ayahuasca, a tribal, hallucinogenic tea said to have both spiritual and curative properties. But, like any globalization fairy tale, the world's embrace is threatening to suffocate the tradition at its source. "The sacred art of Indians has been transformed into entertainment," said Moises Pianko, a member of the Ashaninka tribe of northern Brazil. The herbal tea, made by combining a rare vine and shrub found in the thick of the Amazon, has become the "it" drug for celebrities like Sting and Lindsay Lohan, who rave about its spiritual properties. But for the Amazonian tribes that have used ayahuasca for 5,000 years to communicate with God on matters ranging from politics to medicine, the trend is dangerous.
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    Ayahuasca vine. Image: Marina Lopes

    Sudden local and international demand for the brew has put the ayahuasca vine used to make the tea at risk of eradication in parts of Peru, and tripled its price in the last seven years to $250 a liter. The vine is almost impossible to plant, as it only thrives in the thick of the jungle and takes four years to grow, so the natural reserves are limited. Meanwhile, several centers popping up around the world are freely offering ayahuasca with little regard to the safety of its users or the sacredness of the tea, according to tribal leaders. "Ayahuasca is no joke. The white man wants to patent our ritual, to use it as one more way to make money, but the spiritual world is not for sale," Pianko said. The ayahuasca tourism industry says otherwise. An estimated 40 therapeutic retreats around the world now specialize in ayahuasca, according to Carlos Suarez, an independent researcher who writes about economic development and cultural change in the Amazon. These centers host more than 4,000 people a year and charge up to $400 a night. Some also offer mud baths, yoga sessions and excursions to Machu Picchu. "The white man wants to patent our ritual, to use it as one more way to make money, but the spiritual world is not for sale." Andy Metcalfe, who owns and operates the Gaia Tree center, an ayahuasca retreat in Iquitos, Peru, said the days when the tea was exclusively brewed by tribes are long gone. "It has outgrown the original tribal origins," he told me, adding that most shamen in the region are no longer directly affiliated with tribes. "At the end the day, ayahuasca comes from nature. I don't believe in people owning or controlling nature." For those who can't afford a week-long retreat, a cup of ayahuasca is just a click away. The tea sells on Facebook Marketplace and do-it-yourself kits are available for $300. But as the drug's popularity balloons around the world, quality control is challenging. Brewed incorrectly or combined with other drugs, ayahuasca can be deadly.
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    Pots and ovens for brewing ayahuasca. Image: Marina Lopes

    In 2012, Kyle Nolan, an 18-year-old from Northern California died in Peru from what authorities believe was an ayahuasca overdose. Henry Miller, a 19-year-old gap year student from Britain suffered a similar fate after having an allergic reaction to the drug. There are also growing reports of predatory shamen raping and sexually assaulting women who drink ayahuasca. Tribes worry whether they'll continue to have access to the tea if ayahuasca goes the way of cocaine, which was used by the Incas to counter altitude sickness before erupting into the global marketplace as an illegal drug. "If there is a problem with ayahuasca, it will be banned, it will be condemned, and what's going to happen to us indigenous people?," said Jose de Lima of the Kaxinawa tribe. "Imagine if our medicine is banned? Are we going to have to rely on a pharmacy? No, we want to rely on our living pharmacy, the forest." But some researchers see the global commercialization of ayahuasca as inevitable, and think the tribes should focus on getting a cut of profits. "We want to rely on our living pharmacy, the forest." "Commercialization is a fact. Ayahuasca is coming to the world, and the world is coming to ayahuasca," said Suarez. "In the indigenous world, the only people who can monetize a traditional activity are the shamen. Why shouldn't they benefit from the system as well?" Some tribes want to get on board, but demand for ayahuasca is surging too fast to keep up. Today, the majority of profits originate from independent centers that claim loose affiliations with local tribes.
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    An ayahuasca vine in the forest. Image: Marina Lopes

    "We cannot say ayahuasca is ours, because we don't have a patent. But we want to commercialize it on our terms. We want people to come to our land and do it properly," said Lurino Pequeno de Souza, a 26-year-old member of the Katukina tribe. "There are several shamen conducting ceremonies without an ounce of knowledge and tricking the white man." Until then, the rush for ayahuasca has tribes questioning the sustainability of their own ceremonies. Because extraction of the plant is largely unregulated, foresters have found that amature ayahuasca brewers wandering the jungle often cut off a piece of the rare vine and leave the rest to rest rot. Finding the once abundant vine in Peru's Iquitos region, where most centers are located, now takes days. "It is a daily fight for the preservation of our culture," said Biraci Brasil, leader of the Yawanawa tribe. "Ayahuasca is not just a plant, it's our ancestors."
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  5. Mandalore in recovery from sobriety

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    So its a spiritual experience when mestizos and halfbreed niggers take it. When taken by whitey its a drug that is "ruining everything" about the simian psychedelic.
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