Psychoactive plant

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The tobacco plant (Nicotiana tabacum) is an example of a psychoactive plant. The active constituent is nicotine.

Psychoactive plants are plants, or preparations thereof, that upon ingestion induce psychotropic effects. As stated in a reference work:

Psychoactive plants are plants that people ingest in the form of simple or complex preparations in order to affect the mind or alter the state of consciousness.[1]

Psychoactivity may include sedative, stimulant, euphoric, deliriant, and hallucinogenic effects.

Several hundred psychoactive plants are known.[1] Some important examples of psychoactive plants include Coffea arabica (coffee), Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco), and Cannabis (including hashish).

Psychoactive plants have been used ritually (e.g., peyote as an entheogen), medicinally (e.g., opium as an analgesic), and recreationally (e.g., cannabis as a drug) for thousands of years. Hence, the sociocultural and economic significance of psychoactive plants is enormous.

Examples of psychoactive plants[edit]

In the table below, a few examples of significant psychoactive plants and their effects are shown. For further examples, see List of psychoactive plants.

Examples of psychoactive plants
Plant Common preparation Main active constituent Psychoactive effects
Coffea arabica Starr 070308-5472 Coffea arabica.jpg coffee caffeine Caffeine-2D-skeletal.svg stimulant, temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness
Nicotiana tabacum Tabak P9290021.JPG tobacco nicotine Nicotine-2D-skeletal.png stimulant, relaxant
Cannabis sativa Cannabis sativa plant (4).JPG marijuana, hashish tetrahydrocannabinol Tetrahydrocannabinol.svg euphoria, relaxation, and increase in appetite
Erythroxylum coca Colcoca03.jpg coca cocaine Kokain - Cocaine.svg stimulant, appetite suppressant
Papaver somniferum Slaapbol R0017601.JPG opium morphine Morphin - Morphine.svg analgesia, sedation, euphoria
Lophophora williamsii Peyote Cactus.jpg peyote mescaline Mescaline Structural Formula.svg hallucinogen

Botanical taxonomy[edit]

In the plant kingdom (Plantae), almost all psychoactive plants are found within the flowering plants (angiosperms).[2] There are many examples of psychoactive fungi, but fungi are not part of the plant kingdom. Some important plant families containing psychoactive species are listed below. The listed species are examples only, and a family may contain more psychoactive species than listed.

Phytochemistry[edit]

The active constituents of the majority of psychoactive plants fall within the alkaloids (e.g., nicotine, morphine, cocaine, mescaline, caffeine, ephedrine), a class of nitrogen-containing natural products. Examples of psychoactive compounds of plant origin that do not contain nitrogen are tetrahydrocannabinol (a phytocannabinoid from Cannabis sativa) and salvinorin A (a diterpenoid from Salvia divinorum).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rätsch, Christian (2004). The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications. Park Street Press, U.S. ISBN 978-0892819782. 
  2. ^ Schultes, Richard Evans (2001). Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press. ISBN 978-089281979-9. 

External links[edit]