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Tobacco

  • By: Matthew W. Johnson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Tobacco has an ancient history throughout the Americas as a shamanic inebriant. European settlers found tobacco use to be nearly universal among Native American tribes. Routes employed for this use include smoking, chewing, use as a snuff, and oral consumption. Tobacco is one of the most common additions to ayahuasca, a sacramental hallucinatory admixture common to many indigenous cultures in South America, consisting of at least one plant containing the hallucinogen dimethyltryptamine, another plant containing a monoamine oxidase inhibitor that allows the dimethyltryptamine to become orally active, and often other plants (including tobacco). The doses of nicotine, the primary psychoactive agent in tobacco, in theses methods aimed at hallucinatory or visionary experience are much higher than those typically experienced by modern day cigarette smokers.

European settlers ...

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