Psychedelic Mushrooms & Other Awesome Substances That Inspire Psychological Health & Spiritual Transformation
The war between those who want it to be legal to get “high” and those who want to ban all substances that get you “high” has been raging on for years, but the history of using mushrooms and other hallucinogenics has gone on for much longer across the globe. Almost every culture has had widespread use of substances to achieve an altered state of mind, including mushrooms, plants, oils, beans, and more. During this historical use of substances, many cultures revered these altered states of mind as ways to reach a higher power, speak to other worlds, and further the journey of their higher selves. Now, we know there are substances that improve mental health and spiritual health.
As modern governments have begun restricting the use of these substances more and more, groups who still wish to use them are fighting back. Marijuana, for example, has been illegal for so long and is finally being slowly legalized because studies reveal that claims of its dangers were unfounded. The benefits far outweigh the risks–and marijuana is not the only substance now being investigated. A new movement to legalize psychedelics claims that these substances have huge benefits for those with mental health struggles.
Interested in how these substances might help you tackle your own struggles, whether they’re psychological or spiritual? Here’s a list of some awesome substances that improve mental and spiritual health that you can discover.
Psilocybin or Magic Mushrooms
One of the most significant innovations in recent mental health advancements regarding the use of substances is psilocybin or the main active ingredient of “magic mushrooms.” The movement is so massive that major outlets are now calling it the “psychedelic gold rush.” This gold rush is a pushback from the government’s use (and some would claim misuse) of their categorizations of substances. Psychedelics like ketamine, MDMA, and psilocybin are classed as Schedule I substances, which means they have a high risk for abuse without the counteractive benefit of medical value. Many scientists and innovators are exclaiming that the categorization is just plain false. Further, that banning these substances that improve mental health will negatively affect us for generations to come.
Many innovators are experimenting with combining psychedelic-based drugs with conventional therapy, and they’re coming up with promising results. Those who suffer from PTSD and depression, for example, are currently undergoing clinical trials with psilocybin and reporting relief from their symptoms. As a result, many U.S. cities have begun decriminalizing the drug so that its benefits can be explored and enjoyed as of the recent Presidential election.
Psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, have a long history of spiritual benefits as well. The indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica used these substances for healing and divine inspiration. Art created in reverence of these substances date back well before Columbus’s time, even dating back to 6,000 years ago. In 1955, European Americans took part in an indigenous psychedelic mushroom ceremony and published an article in Life magazine, inspiring Harvard academics to attempt the ceremony as well and to eventually start the Harvard Psilocybin Project, which covered religious and psychological effects of the substance.
An altered state of mind is exactly what many believe is the key to accessing the higher self or divine powers. As humans trapped in our flat reality, our minds have a hard time escaping the view of what’s around us. Turning inward and breaking down the mind’s boundaries can help us explore new mindsets, think thoughts that were otherwise impossible, and tap into previously unreachable dimensions.
Speaking of the American indigenous peoples, Peyote was a widely popular substance used for accessing a new level of spirituality as well as for medicinal purposes. Peyote is a cactus found in the Southwest and in Mexico which you can pull buttons off and chew on them to experience a “trip.” Like magic mushrooms, Peyote was also outlawed by the U.S. government, but its use is still prevalent. As an exception, Native Americans who are a part of the Native American Church are allowed to continue using Peyote for their religious ceremonies.
Research on psychedelics has been mostly shut down by the U.S. government, as the general claim is that the use of these substances can lead to brain damage and altered personalities. Scientists agree that long-term heavy use of psychedelics can be damaging but argue that use in small, controlled doses can actually offer many benefits. John H. Halpbern, a psychiatrist from the Harvard School of Medicine, has been studying the use of Peyote by Native Americans for years. Specifically, Halpbern believes Peyote and other Native American substances can help to fight addiction and alcoholism. He claims that tribes that use Peyote for religious ceremonies have much lower rates of alcoholism, which is a rampant issue among the Native American population.
During these religious ceremonies, only three teaspoons on average of Peyote is ingested by participants, which Halpbern explains is only enough to experience a buzz of stimulant, not hallucinate. He explains that it most likely only serves to deepen the emotions felt during the ceremony and helps the participants to open up their minds and hearts to the spirituality of the ritual.
Peyote, therefore, is another powerful substance that, when used properly, can help open up our minds to access our higher selves and even to dimensions beyond our own. Combined with rituals and meditation, Peyote helps the Native Americans to come together in spiritual enlightenment and speak to the divine. It’s truly a powerful substance that improves mental and spiritual health.
Ibogaine or Iboga Bark
In Africa, the Tabernanth iboga plant has been at the center of religious experiences. The Babongo people worship this plant and the drug that derives from it because of its strong hallucinogenic effects. It is used as a part of their religious ceremonies, as the Babongo people feel it is a way to tap into spiritual knowledge. When the bark is pulverized and ingested, those who take it can experience a wide range of emotions and visions, including anxiety, euphoria, and a blending of their senses to create other-worldly experiences.
Ibogaine is so powerful that it’s influence has stretched far outside of Africa. In fact, it’s been used in Western medicine since the 1800s to lower blood pressure, treat fevers, and even help with toothaches. However, the United States has since banned the use of Ibogaine, claiming it has no medical value yet has a high potential for abuse. Researchers are still investigating the drug and suspect that it may play a valuable role in mitigating the opioid crisis as well as provide medical value in other ways if controlled.
Kava is a popular plant extract used mostly in beverages in the South Pacific. It’s been used in spiritual ceremonies to relax participants and relieve symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and even drug withdrawal. Kava was made illegal to sell in the Canadian and European markets due to its history of causing liver damage and death, but after reviews of the lack of evidence, it was reinstated on the market in most countries. In any case, Kava affects the brain and central nervous system and can be taken for up to 6 months straight safely for anxiety. Now, it’s even a popular substance sold as drinks and used socially similarly to beer.
Pacific Islanders highly revere kava for its ability to bring people together and channel communications with the spirits. Kava is regularly consumed during religious ceremonies in efforts to strengthen kinship and speak with divine powers from other dimensions. Kava drinking was also used as a way to reaffirm the status and hierarchy within societies.
When diluted properly, Kava can cause a state of aloofness, where one is happy and unconcerned. They might feel more free of their mind and body, and they’ll never experience unpleasant feelings like alcohol can cause. While feeling free, the Kava user never loses control of their reason. On the other hand, excessive use of Kava can cause a lack of control over muscles, making it more difficult to move quickly. Eventually, heavy Kava users can lose sense of objects around them and drift off to sleep.
When it comes to accessing deeper spirituality with Kava, therefore, you can quiet your mind, pull your senses out of the physical world, and get in better touch with the higher self and the divine. Further, it’s definitely one of the powerful substances that improves mental health.
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