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Political Science Final Essay

Mushrooms have been part of religious rituals for thousands of years ago in the early tribes of Central America and Mexico (Health Education, 2008). Psilocybin is extracted from psilocybin mexicana mushrooms and other genus related mushroom species or artificially prepared in the drug laboratory (Health Education, 2008). Chemically, it is related with lysergic acid diethylamide and commonly known as “shrooms”, “psychedelic mushrooms”, or “magic mushrooms” (Health Education, 2008).

Historically, for Indians in the Southern and Central America, psilocybin-containing mushrooms were sacred mushrooms and regarded as a means to the world of the spirits. At present time, Psilocybe mushrooms are widely available in fresh and dried forms that are usually ingested, chopped or brewed in tea (Health Education, 2008). Generally, psilocybin users experience tingling physical sensations, mild euphoria and increased music visual sensations and music sensitivity (Health Education, 2008). Literature Review Brief History

Sculptures and human-like mushroom arts were prevalent during 1000-500 BC (Freeman, 2004). It was inferred that these artifacts have religious implications. As direct evidence, thirteenth century manuscript of Codex Vienna Mixtec proved the utilization of sacred mushroom in religious rituals (Freeman, 2004). The “Seven Flowers” was known as Mixtec God of hallucinatory plants represented through an image with a pair of mushrooms in hands (Freeman, 2004). Also, Aztec believed that moving from earthly to super natural realms back and forth was possible under the power of entheogen, the Prince of Flowers.

This was called “the flowery dreams” by the Aztec and ascribed to hallucinatory effects of the sacred mushrooms (Freeman, 2004). In relation to this, Gordon Wasson personally witnessed the “velada” session led by curandera Maria Sabina at the Mazatec village in Huatla de Jimenez. This “velada” session is a religious ceremony involving the magic mushroom (Freeman, 2004). Pharmacological Properties Mushrooms with hallucinatory effects are naturally cultivated in the cow pastures and fields of the southeastern and northwestern parts of the United States (Freeman, 2004).

The most common of all these mushrooms is Psilocybe mushroom containing psychoactive substances. The stems of psilocybin-containing mushrooms are slender and long with caps having underside dark gills. While the caps of fresh mushroom are dark brown along the edges, white or light brown central part topped in whitish-gray or white stems, dried mushrooms are rusty brown with scattered whitish parts (National Drug Intelligence Center, 2006). In 1958 Dr. Albert Hoffman, the lysergic acid diethylamide discoverer, identified psilocybin and psilocin as the active components of Psilocybe mushroom (Freeman, 2004).

About four to ten milligrams per gram of this mushroom is its average psilocybin constituent (Freeman, 2004). In addition, psilocybin is classified as hallucinogenic drugs typically found in the United States, South American regions, and Mexico (National Drug Intelligence Center, 2006). This mushroom contains trace amount of psilocin and 0. 2% to 0. 4% of psilocybin (National Drug Intelligence Center, 2006). Further, psilocybin was reported as a very stable substance that can last even for 150 years in a sample mushroom (Freeman, 2004).


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