Drug Policy

Stone Age Stoners

|

cavemen

Terence McKenna, thou shouldst be living at this hour:

It has long been suspected that humans have an ancient history of drug use, but there has been a lack of proof to support the theory.

Now, however, researchers have found equipment used to prepare hallucinogenic drugs for sniffing, and dated them back to prehistoric South American tribes….

Scientists believe that the drug being used was cohoba, a hallucinogen made from the beans of a mimosa species.

Caveat: The researchers' abstract dates the paraphernalia to between 400 and 189 BC, which may well be prehistoric as far as those tribes are concerned but isn't exactly paleolithic.

NEXT: Obama's Job Fetish

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. it’s called yopo bitches

  2. Umm, reading further on in the article, it mentions both “prehistoric” and “100BC and 400BC.” I realize that “prehistory” can refer to merely the period of human history before writing, but the article also shows a picture of a cave man from a BBC series, which is not seemilyly relevant to the story. I’m horribly confused here what they’re getting at.
    They’re implying that they found evidence that Mr. Ugga Ugga used drugs, when they found some pieces from 100BC. Give me a break.

  3. “Mimosa species”?

    They had brunches, too?!
    Truly, though, the first breakthrough was the bloody mary, and man was not civilized until he created the tequila mary.

  4. I assume the tribe was at a Stone Age “level” of development, and that the archeologists were speculating from that.

  5. Small children don’t have to be taught how to spin in a circle until they get dizzy and fall down.

    People have always gotten high. People will always get high.

  6. How can a caveman have a paper clip collection? I don’t get it.

  7. …but you know what? The Journal of Archeological Science article isn’t available to nonsubscribers, but the abstract doesn’t say a thing about the Stone Age. Grrr. I’ll post an update.

  8. I wonder if they also had to live in fear of jackbooted, club-wielding thugs rolling through their cave at dawn and killing the family mammoth.

  9. “a hallucinogen made from the beans of a mimosa species.”

    Damn. I had such hopes here. N.J. is littered with ‘mimosa trees’, but I checked and they are actually misnamed Silk Trees of the genus Albizia.

    And here I was thinking that hordes of Garden Staters weaving around in a hallucinatory haze would explain the drivers on the Parkway.

  10. Jesse,

    The earliest date suggested for an item is in the following passage:

    In comparing inhaling bowls known from areas around the circum-Caribbean, the dates of ca. 100 B.C.-A.D. 500 have been given to Costa Rican inhaling bowls, the majority of which have protuberances at the same junction, although the protuberances become flattened and are without the central pit (Stone, 1966 D. Stone, Synthesis of lower central American Ethnohistory. In: R. Wauchope, Editor, Handbook of Middle American Indians vol. 4, University of Texas Press Ltd, London (1966), pp. 209-233.[Stone, 1966], [Snarskis, 1981] and [Snarskis, 1982]). Mexican inhaling bowls have a date range from ca. 1500 B.C.-A.D. 300 ([Furst, 1974] and [Furst, 1998]).

    Is 1500 B.C. considered the Stone Age for extreme southern portions of North America? Were they smelting bronze by then? (I really have no idea, English major.)

  11. SugarFree: Does this mean you’ve accessed the full text of the article? If so, could you send me a url or a pdf?

  12. I learned it by watching you Og!

  13. Jesse,

    I was able to download a .pdf, but not a stable off-subscription URL. It should hit your reason.com email in a minute.

    I’ll mail it to anyone else interested.

  14. I’m holding out for evidence of prehistoric rolling papers and munchies.

  15. I’m just waiting for evidence that man first tamed fire so he could light a bowl.

  16. (indicating bong made out of tusks)
    And this – this is my jumbo jim!

  17. What we said about mimosa beans, that 99% of those who try it become addicted, 100% of addicts overdose within two years, users becoming wildly violent with superhuman strength, and young women being lured into a life of vice and sexual degradation, is actually true of fermented fruit juice.

  18. The Caribbean, and much of and NA and SA, at this time could be characterized as “Civilized”. They had hierarchies and long distance trade networks among other relevant trappings.

  19. Caveat: The researchers’ abstract dates the paraphernalia to between 400 and 189 BC, which may well be prehistoric as far as those tribes are concerned but isn’t exactly paleolithic.

    South America at that time was at best a neolithic culture. Our ancestors were using drugs before they evolved into Homo sapiens.

  20. “Mimosa beans. When he punched through the windshield, he probably broke every bone in his hand and didn’t feel a thing.”

  21. “That coffee is two hours cold. I put a cigarette out in it.”

  22. “You see this scar…”


  23. South America at that time was at best a neolithic culture.

    Absolutely, totally wrong in so many ways…..

  24. “How do I look?”

    “Like shit, boss.”

  25. The Caribbean, and much of and NA and SA, at this time could be characterized as “Civilized”. They had hierarchies and long distance trade networks among other relevant trappings.

    Stone Age

    Paleolithic
    Mesolithic
    Neolithic

    Bronze age
    Iron age

    The Native Americans were a stone age people until the arrival of Europeans. The terms I listed relate to technological, not sociological development. Stone age ? hunter gatherer society.

  26. I don’t need this kind of evidence to know old-timey people used drugs. I’ve read the bible. Modern editions have removed all instances of “dude said” and “like totally”, but it’s still pretty clear what was going on.

  27. South America at that time was at best a neolithic culture.

    Absolutely, totally wrong in so many ways…..

    You may wish to peruse a dictionary prior to verbalizing via your anus. There was no bronze or iron smelting in the new worls until after the arrival of the Europeans.

    Tools used were (OMG!) made of fucking stone.

  28. Buddy,

    “Neolithic” isn’t really used in New World Archaeology.Technologically these people had, or had contact with, people working gold,copper and constructing monumental architecture.I’m not really familiar with Caribbean culture phases but this was 1000 + years after people from their region had introduced ceramic technology into SE NA.

  29. Buddy, the Inca and Aztecs had large stores of gold & silver, which they mined. How did they not have some form of smelting?

  30. Buddy,

    I’m trying to be polite here but you are the one pulling stuff out of your ass. You said “Neolithic at best”. In any way that new and Old World social organization can be compared much of the New World was way past anything like “Neolithic”.
    Individual and isolate cultures may vary.

  31. It looks like they used stone tools due to a lack of resources, not a lack of knowledge.

    Sophisticated Metal Processes
    What has surprised archaeologists is the technological development of Mayan metalwork. The technical aspect of processing metals was highly developed. Archaeologists have been astonished at the technical sophistication of Maya metal processing simply because there are few local sources of metal resources and with metal as a scarcity it has always mystified experts as to how they acquired such knowledge with such little to work with.

    Because of the shortage of metal resources, artisans crafted metal objects only for ornamental or religious purposes for use by the elite classes. Similarly, the Mayan kings commissioned great works of art and architecture in order to memorialise themselves into history.

  32. When did this become the Terminator thread?

  33. The answer is YES!

    The thing about these new world entheogens is that when the euro-conquistadores were exposed to them, they assumed the altered perception was the work of SATAN!!!

    That’s crazy, but wow. The devil really? In fuckin’ plants! Sneaky fuckin’ bastard that Devil. I think this devil in the drugs is really at the heart of modern prohibition. Well shit, I done sputtered out.

  34. When did this become the Terminator thread?

    When Cromartie tried to kill NutraSweet.

  35. I was honestly surprised when T:SCC got picked up for the rest of the season. Go them, I guess.

  36. “Neolithic” isn’t really used in New World Archaeology.Technologically these people had, or had contact with, people working gold,copper and constructing monumental architecture.I’m not really familiar with Caribbean culture phases but this was 1000 + years after people from their region had introduced ceramic technology into SE NA.

    SIV,

    Main Entry:
    1Stone Age

    Function: noun
    Date: 1854
    1 : the first known period of prehistoric human culture characterized by the use of stone tools – compare mesolithic , neolithic , paleolithic [emphasis added]

    I’m well aware of the technoligical sophistication of some pre-columbian societies, that different cultures advance in different ways technologically.

    Extensive trade networks and monument building existed in the old world prior to the bronze age as well.

    The terms we’re using may be are inadequate to completely describe technological and cultural development. Prehistoric (before developement of a written language), civilization (the development of cities) and other words are all needed to describe a society.

    The term neolithic as applied to the pre-columbian new world is an accurate, not complete, definition.

    But all of this discussion has nothing to do with the fact that humans have been using drugs for as long as we’ve been human.

  37. What we said about mimosa beans, that 99% of those who try it become addicted, 100% of addicts overdose within two years, users becoming wildly violent with superhuman strength, and young women being lured into a life of vice and sexual degradation, is actually true of fermented fruit juice.

    So, it is a bad thing to be addicted to something that gives you superhuman srength and lures women into a life of vice and sexual degradation?

  38. I was honestly surprised when T:SCC got picked up for the rest of the season. Go them, I guess.

    It’s a good show, and though Fox is usually quicker to axe a good show than CBS is to greenlight a crime procedural, maybe they were smart this time. The ratings of almost all dramas are down right now, so it’s not just T:SCC.

  39. Epi —

    Ain’t that the truth, and while I don’t share the same affection for the show as you do, I never fail to miss an episode on Hulu. It’s decent in its way.

    One thing that has been bothering the crap out of me regarding the show is the unevenness with which the machines simulate human behaviors. They go from really good at it to really bad at it and back in the space of a few episodes. They really need their actors to get a better handle on what types of behaviors the machines are bad at emulating.

  40. One thing that has been bothering the crap out of me regarding the show is the unevenness with which the machines simulate human behaviors

    Agreed. Though the show has shown itself to be quite skilled at later explaining why something previously seemed illogical, so we’ll see.

  41. I’m with you on that, Elemenope. Cameron is better than the other ones at it. Shirley Manson seems to forget she’s an android every other scene.

    I get a little tired of swarms of people and terminators showing up from the future, but what are they going to do?

    One problem I did have with it was the characterization of John Connor, which has much improved.

  42. OBL, Epi —

    Yeah. Actually, I’m giving Shirley Manson a pass so far because the way her character was introduced (specifically, the description provided by the AI division head she offs at the end of the episode), I am given to saying that she’s more advanced in simulating human behaviors than the others. The fact that she has her “kid” even partially fooled is impressive enough.

    My thing is, if proto-Skynet exhibited behaviors strongly analogous to human humor, where did its sense of humor go? Unless that *isn’t* proto-Skynet, but something altogether different. After all, the robots wanted to destroy the nuclear plant, and then when they failed Ms. Manson-bot showed up to buy it. If they could just buy it for their ends, why bother trying to destroy it at all? Unless future-bots and Ms. Manson-bot are working at cross-purposes…

  43. Unless future-bots and Ms. Manson-bot are working at cross-purposes…

    I think if this show is allowed to continue it’s going to be far more convoluted of a story than just “kill John Connor”. If I were writing it I would have the repeated attempts to change the future actually change the future a hell of a lot, just in unexpected and complicated ways, including but not limited to Skynet civil war.

  44. There are a million bizarre loopholes in the plot, just like there are in all the movies, especially when you factor in all the time travel mess. I try to let that stuff go and just enjoy it.

    I like the menacing atmosphere of the Terminators themselves (particularly the droning sound that goes down in pitch when they do something mean), the action, the relationships between the characters, and the Lena Headey hotness. (Yeah, yeah, Summer Glau is okay.)

  45. Episiarch – don’t know if you’re a comics geek, but the book ROBOCOP VS. TERMINATOR deals with just that. A terminator and soldier travel to the past and every time they do something there is a radical change in the future world.

  46. Also looks like my “hapless strangely compelling FBI dude is somehow future-important” prediction is bearing fruit. After all, it stands to reason that Cromartie would repeatedly refuse to kill him if he has some important role to play working for Ms. Manson-bot. But that shoots the “robot civil war” theory all to shit.

  47. Episiarch – don’t know if you’re a comics geek, but the book ROBOCOP VS. TERMINATOR deals with just that. A terminator and soldier travel to the past and every time they do something there is a radical change in the future world.

    No, but I am a fan of The Big Time by Fritz Leiber.

    But that shoots the “robot civil war” theory all to shit

    Not necessarily. Plans within plans.

  48. Carl Sagan hypothesized in his book The Dragons of Eden that marijuana was the first purposely planted crop. I believe he said it would help hunters stand motionless for hours while prey came closer.

  49. South Americans have been chewing Coca leaves for 3000-3500 years based on evidence, and much longer based on conjecture from that evidence.

  50. Not necessarily. Plans within plans.

    It’s kind of a truism that a show on the brink of cancellation cannot support a plot of X complexity. Where “X” is anything that causes the learning curve for new viewers to be steep enough to discourage the investment.

    Especially on FOX.

  51. The researchers’ abstract dates the paraphernalia to between 400 and 189 BC, which may well be prehistoric as far as those tribes are concerned but isn’t exactly paleolithic.

    Drugs arrest and reverse normal evolutionary sequences: Paleolithic will follow neolithic, etc., as in individuals.

  52. I was honestly surprised when T:SCC got picked up for the rest of the season.

    It was much better when the intro was just shiny CGI and not a stupid explainey narrator making the plot sound retarded in dramatic movie announcer voice.

  53. Unless future-bots and Ms. Manson-bot are working at cross-purposes…

    It seems like they would have to be. Why else would the Shirley Manson-bot be trying to capture a terminator to study?

    Maybe they’re from different alternate universes and have different goals. Also, the Manson-bot might be a “machine learns to love” plotline.

    Also, is it not completely obvious that Cameron was a sexbot used for interrogation? I’m surprised this line hasn’t been explored more.

  54. It seems like they would have to be. Why else would the Shirley Manson-bot be trying to capture a terminator to study?

    Maybe they’re from different alternate universes and have different goals.

    That’s a damn good point, and an interesting speculation to boot. One might imagine that any bot of her sophistication would be able to design a thinking-bot fairly from scratch. Heck, if she could do a core-dump of herself she’d be in business. So why go through the trouble of trying to capture an 888?

  55. One of the drawbacks of frequenting a libertarian site is that so many threads get hijacked by nerds and their sci-fi obsessions. Not that I’m accusing anybody in this thread of doing that, of course.

  56. Have we not proof that humans have been imbibing the juice of the barley for some time longer than the official kickoff of civilization?

    I mean I know alcohol does not count as drug for most legal purposes today, but sreiously, in these types of discussions, it should.

  57. Scientists believe that the drug being used was cohoba, a hallucinogen made from the beans of a mimosa species.

    IIRC from my pre-Columbian studies in college, there were Incan stone writings on this subject. One such translated passage indicates that the hallucinogen in question was actually known as “snert” and was reported to be “fucking awesome, dude!”

  58. GEICO Caveman does not approve. Saw the GEICO commercial while loading his bong, got up and left.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.