I, like probably millions of others all over this globe, have an interest in psychoactive chemicals. What can they do to and for us? For humans, examples of psychoactive chemicals include caffeine, alcohol, cocaine, LSD, and cannabis. Can certain of these compounds benefit us, leading to higher levels of consciousness? Can they open our minds to new and different kinds of creativity, or simply make our lives more pleasurable? I was surprised to find new information on this topic on the National Geographic Wild channel yesterday.
The “Happy Hour” episode of the show “World’s Wierdest” explores how psychoactive chemicals have affected animal behavior throughout evolution, sometimes assisting them in being more effective hunters. One fascinating research project looked at how spiders weave very different types of webs on different compounds, for example cocaine versus THC. They also look at primitive tribes who have used these substances in their rituals for centuries.
Here’s a brief summary of this episode:
“Nat Geo WILD explores nature as it gets rolling drunk and spaces out, and delves into the importance, or lack thereof, of intoxication in the animal kingdom. Meet monkeys that binge drink and throw frat parties, elephants that go on drunken rampages through villages and lemurs that get high off millipedes. And when a jaguar’s hunting skills may have been enhanced by chewing on psychedelics, scientists question whether or not there are evolutionary benefits to psychoactive compounds.”
Another piece of human behavior I find fascinating is why some of us are open to learning more on this topic, even experimenting with a few new substances, while others fear even the smallest alteration to their present state of mind. Could it be that old fear of “losing your mind” on some level, or going some place you’ve never been before? My favorite joke on this topic: unemployment is much more of a gateway drug to serious drug use than marijuana, but LOVE is the best drug of all! Trust me, I know.