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News | 07.05.2022

Neil deGrasse Tyson Talks Undiscovered Psychedelic Plants

The astrophysicist wonders if we have yet to discover more psychedelic plants on earth.

If cannabis is a plant that can get you high, might there be other plants that do the same? This is essentially what was on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s mind during his latest StarTalk podcast episode.

Of course, we have earth-grown naturals like psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca that cause psychedelic highs, but what haven’t we discovered yet?

During the podcast, Tyson spoke with Harvard University neuroscientist Staci Gruber, who talked about the effects of cannabis on developing brains, and how the plant can reduce chronic pain, inflammation, and overall opioid use.

Toward the end of the episode, Gruber explained how medicinal cannabis dates back to 2700 BC, noting that it’s been used as medicine since people became people.

This led Tyson to ask, what have we humans not discovered yet? What other plants are hiding their psychoactive and therapeutic potential?

“How many plants out there remain undiscovered simply because we don’t have enough people sitting down, ‘hey, let’s smoke that, let’s smoke this, let’s smoke this?’” he laughed.

That’s when Gruber stepped in, adding that there are likely many plants or fungi we have yet to discover. What really interested Gruber was how these plants could be used medicinally.

She says, “I think there’s huge potential in botanicals, and I think that we see that with some other things. Primarily these days, we hear about it in the hallucinogenic space like ayahuasca or these other sorts of natural things, mushrooms.”

This is especially true regarding “therapeutic application,” says Gruber. The podcast members didn’t entertain the idea any further, but they agreed that cannabis dates back far longer than we’d imagine simply because of its beneficial healing properties.

Might there be other plants out there with psychoactive or psychedelic properties? Even better, could these plants be beneficial to your health? We can only hope.

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