Podcast 103 – “Psychoactive Drugs Through Human History”


Guest speaker: Andrew Weil


(Minutes : Seconds into program)
The last great mushroom conference of the millenniumNOTE:
All quotes below are by
Dr. Andrew Weil

04:41 “There are no good or bad drugs. Drugs are what we make of them. They have good and bad uses.”

05:04 “I know of no culture in the world at present or any time in the past that has not been heavily involved with one or more psychoactive substances.”

06:33 “Alcohol, any way you look at it, is the most toxic and most dangerous of all psychoactive drugs. In any sense, in terms of medical toxicity, behavioral toxicity, there is no other drug for which the association between crime and violence is so clear cut . . . and tobacco, in the form of cigarettes is THE most addictive of all drugs.”

08:47 “What could be a more flagrant example of drug pushing than public support of that industry [tobacco and cigarettes].”

12:38 “I see a great failure in the world in general to distinguish between drug use and drug abuse.”

16:25 “Another very common use, in all cultures, of psychoactive substances is to give people transcendent experiences. To allow them to transcend their human and ego boundaries to feel greater contact with the supernatural, or with the spiritual, or with the divine, however they phrase it in their terms.”

17:54 “Drugs don’t have spiritual potential, human beings have spiritual potential. And it may be that we need techniques to move us in that direction, and the use of psychoactive drugs clearly is one path that has helped many people.”

19:59 “Why is it that the human brain and plants should have the same chemicals in them?”

22:39 “The effects of drugs are as much dependent on expectation and setting, on set and setting, as they are on pharmacology. We shape the effects of drugs. All drugs do is make you feel temporarily different, physically and psychologically.”

25:26 “The effects of drugs can be completely shaped by cultural expectations, by individual expectations, by setting as well.”

28:22 “The manner of introducing a drug into the body is crucially determinant of the effects the people experience. And especially of its adverse effects, both short term and long term.”

31:51 “I think it’s unfortunate that in this culture we have fallen so much into the habit of relying on refined, purified durative of plants, in highly concentrated form, both for recreational drugs and for medicine. And have formed the habit of thinking that this is somehow more scientific and effective, that botanical drugs are old-fashioned, unscientific, messy. In fact, they’re much safer, and sometimes the quality and effects are better.”

32:55 “It’s we who determine whether drugs are destructive or whether they’re beneficial. It’s not any inherent property of drugs.”

41:36 “The use of yage, or ayahuasca, in Amazonian Indian cultures is often credited with giving people visions that have valid content.”

50:25 “But I think healing, like religious experience, is an innate potential of the body. It’s not something that comes in a drug. All a drug can do is give you a push in a certain direction, and I think that even there expectation plays a great role in that.”


PCs – Right click, select option
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Chocolate to Morphine: Understanding Mind-Active Drugs
(Published 1983)

From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs
(Published 2004)

Posted in Andrew Weil, Consciousness, Culture, Psychedelics and tagged , , , .

One Comment

  1. Comments from original blog page: http://www.matrixmasters.net/blogs/?p=212

    Interesting stuff! Especially his comments regarding the multiple factors involved in the effect of psychoactive substances. I wonder about the decreasing effect over time factor versus the expectation factor. I would have thought that these two factor must play off against each other; as a drug becomes more and more popular and it’s use widespread over time, surely the expectation of it’s effect would become stronger ( and therefore its actual effect) and yet Weil notes too that the effectiveness of drugs decrease over time. And how does the time factor work for the plant drugs? It doesnt seem to have affected cannibas, psilocybe mushrooms, ayahuasca etc. or has it??

    Thank you Lorenzo for this great work you are doing. It is truly inspiring, keep it up!


    this is the most honest, appropriate speech on drug education i have ever listened to

    well said lorenzo, if many of the ‘public’ could listen, and really hear this speach it would be a vastly different world.

    I agree jay, one of the most important issues he brought to my mind was about the pharmacokinetics and all the factors involved in an “Experience” as set aside from the pharmocological effects, that in analogy seems the “souls” sense to the bodys.

    I think we often oversimplify and abreviate everything, its thanks to graces like the salon i owe my evolving nonlinear thinking to

    thanks for another great

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