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The seeds of several types of tropical lianas have been used by the Indians in Mexico in their rituals for a long time. One of the first Spaniards who observed those rituals wrote in his book: “…and when the priests want to communicate with their gods and to receive their message they eat from this plant, from which they later get into delirium. Throughout the whole time they see thousands of visions and divine hallucinations…” Because of this total negative attitude of the Spaniards towards those rituals, through the last centuries they were kept in secret; many of the scientists even began to doubt the stories of the first missioners. The mysterious lianas were found by Doctor Richard Schultes in 1941; it seems that Indians, living in one of the Mexican states still use them with that purpose. Some other types of lianas used by Indians are the “Rivea corymbosa” and “Ipomoea violacea”. All of them belong to the Convolvulaceae family. The active substance is found in the seeds; they are usually grinded, then they are put in water, which is later filtered and then drunk. But others who do not value the rituals so much just chew the seeds.
Not all of the convolvuluses are “active”. The active sorts have strange names such as “pearl doors”, “heavenly sky”, “flying saucers” and so on. After Schultes made his discovery a lot of fans of new experiences, especially in the USA, very quickly found out which were the active sorts. Despite this fact the usage of convovulus’s seeds didn’t get popular, and nowadays it is even greatly decreased. Those who seek psychoactive convolvuluses take the risk of coming across some poisonous types; not that anyone can die from it but the poisoning can be very unpleasant one. Apart from that the sellers very often replace the active sorts with inactive. In the well-developed countries the seeds that are sold, are often processed with mercury products. The official version is that this is a precaution taken against parasites, but it is more likely that it is used for poisoning. It looks like these measures are taken under the influence of some people and services, which share the same thoughts as the superstitious Spanish monks that everything unusual is unholy.
The main active substance found in the seeds was identified by some doctor as lysergamide (LSA). This substance is about 10 times weaker than LSD. LSA is taken in orally and after 20 minutes it causes a dream-like state during which the consciousness of the person is completely preserved. In a little bit larger doses these symptoms may get stronger and after an hour the user usually falls asleep. As a matter of fact, LSA causes the typical for LSD visual effects very rarely, except if it is not taken in very large doses. Although it is of less importance, for the effect of the fresh drug helps also the other derivatives of LSA. Despite the fact that this influence resembles the effect of LSD, it has a lot of other unpleasant side-effects such as nausea and diarrhea. This is also the reason why its usage is not so popular.
The LSA can be found also (in smaller amount) in the ergot; perhaps this is the reason for the psychosis that is caused although rarely when suffering from ergotism. In greater amounts LSA is found in the parasite mushroom “Claviceps papalii”, that grows on corn plants. There are also some speculations that it was used in ancient Hellas for the make-up of sacred beverages. Such statements have inspired the authors of the articles containing description how “to get high” with mouldy bread. Except that these descriptions are not effective, they are dangerous; some of the toxins contained in the mould cause liver cancer.