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Ancient Dreams, Modern-Day Dreamers

Natural Hallucinogens

Natural hallucinogens can be obtained from plants that grow in the wild or on “drug farms.” They include some types of mushrooms and peyote, a cactus plant. Other plants and flowers, such as morning glories, contain hallucinogenic chemicals. Technically, they are not drugs; they are naturally occurring substances or agents that can cause hallucinations.

More than six thousand kinds of mushrooms have been identified. Many are good to eat. Some are poisonous. A few contain a hallucinogenic substance called psilocybin.

Peyote is a short, deep-rooted cactus. At the top of the plant are “buttons” that contain mescaline, a hallucinogen. People who want to get high on mescaline eat the button raw or dry it for later use. Dried peyote buttons are often brewed into a tea.

Marijuana is a comparatively weak hallucinogen. It comes from the tops and leaves of cannabis plants. It affects a person's thoughts and emotions, but not as powerfully as other hallucinogens. Because of that, many users argue that it is harmless—even beneficial—and should be legalized.

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