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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), Camellia sinensis (tea), 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 therapeutically (e.g., cannabis as a drug) for thousands of years.[2] Hence, the sociocultural and economic significance of psychoactive plants is enormous.

Contents

Examples of psychoactive plantsEdit

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   coffee caffeine   stimulant, temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness
Nicotiana tabacum   tobacco nicotine   stimulant, relaxant
Cannabis sativa   marijuana, hashish tetrahydrocannabinol   euphoria, relaxation, and increase in appetite
Erythroxylum coca   coca cocaine   stimulant, appetite suppressant
Papaver somniferum   opium morphine   analgesia, sedation, euphoria
Lophophora williamsii   peyote mescaline   hallucinogen

Botanical taxonomyEdit

In the plant kingdom (Plantae), almost all psychoactive plants are found within the flowering plants (angiosperms).[3] 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.

PhytochemistryEdit

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 alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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 (1976). Hallucinogenic Plants. Illustrated by Elmer W. Smith. New York: Golden Press. pp. 2, 9, 34. ISBN 0-307-24362-1.
  3. ^ Schultes, Richard Evans (2001). Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press. ISBN 978-089281979-9.

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