Were We Stoned Apes?

For millennia humans have sought the meaning of spirit and some believe it started when apes stumbled across and ingested magic mushrooms to expand our consciousness into what it is today. This is called the stoned ape theory proposed by Terence McKenna.

Even in our nomadic days, almost all the world’s cultures stumbled upon psychoactive plants that opened our small minds to larger ideas. Could the discovery of mind altering drugs have led to spiritual enlightening?

Around 1.8 million years ago humans (Homo Erectus) began our hunter gatherer lifestyle. A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals or “foraging”. The early groups would have travelled by foot in search of game and food coming across a wide range of plants and fungi.

They differentiated plants by a like by like system. Clover resembles sorrel although the flavor is different. If the unknown plant looked like an edible one, they would have probably chanced it. Remember in those days humanity’s ancestors were on the brink of starvation. Looking at a mushroom field guide today, and given that almost all wild mushrooms are poisonous, it is certain some humans died attempting to eat strange plants or fungi. One of the earliest and most common psychoactive plants humans came across is Cannabis. The cannabis flower is nearly impossible to miss in nature given it’s 140 different terpenes (essential oils) and it’s incredibly tall beautiful buds. Early man would have been attracted to cannabis as easily as a bright and sweet-smelling hanging fruit. History shows we tried it even earlier than 2700 BCE! And what would these early humans have experienced?

The first human or ape to eat a psilocybin mushroom would have felt their emotions intensifying as they saw patterns and a sensory overload of saturated colors that would have seemed extra bright or glowing. They probably counted themselves in the unlucky group who ate a poisonous plant, but after surviving and with a story to tell, they could have changed history. Magic mushrooms are from a genus of mushrooms called Psilocybe. These mushrooms contain psychotropic tryptamines that cause the brain to become “hyper connected” and allows increased communications between different regions of the brain. In a study on this effect using an MRI researchers saw upon receiving psilocybin the brain actually “re-organized connections and linked previously unconnected regions of the brain”. After the mushrooms wore off the brain returned to normal. This hyper connectivity gives users a feeling of one-ness, acceptance, and a connection to something larger than themselves. It’s no wonder these mushrooms have been depicted on cave walls as far back as 9000 BCE with many cultures having used them for spiritual purposes.

The actual flower bud of cannabis is not psychoactive on its own. A regular joint of cannabis only contains one percent THC as well as a full living garden. The trick is to heat the cannabis up or decarboxylate/activate your bud. Essentially all cannabis contains mostly THC-A (the acid form of THC) and does not make the chemical change until it starts burning. When humans learned to burn cannabis, it seems they did so on a large scale.

The Scythians would erect a tent with a brazier in the middle where they would lay large amounts of cannabis hash (concentrated) on extremely hot rocks. The tent would keep the smoke from dissipating, creating an environment today we like to call the “HOT BOX”. This way the entire time the user was in the tent they would not be inhaling any oxygen but cannabis smoke. The Scythians were known to “howl in their joy at the vapor-bath”. Even in Christianity some researchers believe the “anointed oil” Jesus used to cast out demons was cannabis based.

Using cannabis can give you feelings of euphoria, a sense of well-being, energy, anti-anxiety, clarity or distraction. Users may experience “time dilation” where it seems that a large amount of time has passed but only a few seconds have actually passed. Some genetics of sativa can stimulate the brain and become so cerebral the user is completely in their mind and not actually using their open eyes. Almost as if it were an out of body experience!

Humans continue to study new plants and fungi in hopes of bettering our health and well-being, as well as our spirit. Fungi and cannabis may have changed the course of humanity’s spirituality long before written history and we are better for it.

Since 2009, High Country Healing has dedicated their time and energy to creating the best and most effective medicine possible. These stores feature a live grow, visible to patients, where one can directly observe the cultivation of cannabis by hand. This transparency allows patients to see the love and care that goes into their medicine. Visit highcountryhealing.com for more information or call (970) 468-7858 to talk to a professional.