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Hallucinogenic substances and Cultural uses

Hallucinogenic Substances and Cultural Uses
Throughout the centuries, natural herbs and plants that produce hallucinogenic effects have been used for various reasons within a religious context, ranging from religious rituals to alleviating cold and flu symptoms.These religiously structureddrug’ experiences are culturally and socially organized, and are defined by those who use them.One can cross-culturally examine the religious practices and meanings of using hallucinogenic substances with those who use them recreationally.
A hallucinogen isclassified’ as “any of a group of substances that alter consciousness; also called psychotomimetic (mimicking psychosis), mind-expanding, or psychedelic drug,”” (www.encyclopedia.com).The group includes mescaline, or peyote, LSD, PCP, MDMA (ecstasy), and marijuana.
One religious entity that uses a hallucinogenic substance in its religious practices is that of the Native American Church, the largest indigenous religion in this country.This church blends fundamentalist Christian elements with pan-Native American moral principles.The sacramental food of the group is peyote, a hallucinogenic cactus, light blue-green in color, bears small pink flowers, and has a carrot-shaped root.The mushroom-like crown, called a peyote, or mescal, button is cut off and is chewed, brewed into a concoction for drinking, or rolled into pellets to be swallowed.The use of peyote is said to “produce a mental state that allows celebrants to feel closer to their ancestors and their Creator,”” (www.encyclopedia.com).The active substance in peyote is mescaline, which tastes bitter and causes an initial feeling of nausea, then produces visions and changes in perception, time sense, and mood.Aftereffects of an uncomfortable nature are not existent due to that the drug is not physiologically habit-forming (www.encyclopedia.com).
Peyote has been used by Native Americans since pre-Columbian times…

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