The plants and chemicals discussed in this chapter are some of the most colorful and controversial of all drugs. Some users have recommended them enthusiastically/claiming they are keys to understanding our minds and the origins of religious feelings. Many nonusers are fearful of them, regarding them as dangerous agents capable of driving people to insanity and suicide.
So heated is the debate over whether these drugs are good or evil that it's hard even to find a neutral name for them. When they first came to the attention of scientists in Europe and America in the 1950s, they were called psychotomimetics, based on the belief that they made people temporarily insane. (Psychiatrists now recognize that psychosis and the states induced by these drugs are very different.)
Many of the subjects who volunteered for the early research
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