Know Your Herbs

Evidence Shows Ancient Egyptian Cult Tripped on Hallucinogens

An Ancient Egyptian vase with a face resembling the deity Bes was found with traces of a mixture containing several psychedelic compounds.

A recent preprint of a study intended for peer review, scientists discovered direct evidence inside a vase, indicating that the Ancient Egyptian cult of fertility god Bes used Syrian rue, Egyptian lotus, and royal jelly to trip on during religious ceremonies. Ptolemaic-era vases from the Tampa Museum of Art in Florida were analyzed.

Bes (and his female counterpart Beset) was worshiped during the New Kingdom, Ptolemaic period, and Imperial Rome as protector of households, i.e. women and children. Offerings to Bes usually were meant for fertility purposes. In the New Kingdom, Egyptians bore the image of Bes tattooed on their skin, and evidence suggests festivals in honor of Bes.

Researchers found traces of multiple plants and ingredients known for their hallucinogenic properties. “Our analyses revealed traces of Peganum harmala, Nimphaea nouchali var. caerulea, and a plant of the Cleome genus, all of which are traditionally proven to have psychotropic and medicinal properties,” researchers wrote. “Additionally, the identification of human fluids suggests their direct involvement in these rituals.”

Courtesy D. Tanasi et al., 2023

Other Egyptian cults and Ancient Mayans also used Nimphaea nouchali var. Caerulea for psychedelic purposes. Researchers also detected cow DNA, and speculate the vases may have contained a fermented milk or some other cow product. Traces of royal honey or royal jelly was also found in the vase, known for both hallucinogenic effects and for increasing sexual vitality, (though the FDA warned about hawkers mixing it with Cialis). Some of royal jelly’s benefits, however, are backed by science.

“Furthermore, metabolomics and SR μ-FTIR analyses also revealed the presence of fermented fruit-based liquid and other ingredients such as honey or royal jelly,” researchers wrote. “The identification of specific chemical compounds, such as alkaloids and flavonoids, provides insight into the psychoactive and therapeutic uses of these in ancient ritual practices. This multidisciplinary study highlights the complexity of ancient cultures and their interactions with psychoactive, medicinal, and nutraceutical substances. These findings contribute to our understanding of ancient belief systems, cultural practices, and the utilization of natural resources, ultimately enhancing our knowledge of past societies and their connection to the natural world.”

Along with the Egyptian or blue lotus, the most popular psychoactive plants we know about among the Ancient Egyptians are opium, tobacco, and coca.

Ars Technica reports that ceramic vases and similar vessels depicting Bes have been found and now populate museums and private collections across the world. Researchers speculate they held beer or an elixir. He’s usually depicted with a bearded dwarf and sticking his tongue out, sometimes with a phallic symbol.

“The familiar image of Bes is a composite of anthropomorphic and theriomorphic elements, part dwarfish, part feline,” the report reads. “He emerged from the magical realm of the world of demons as a guardian figure, and gradually seems to have obtained a more numinous status until, in the Roman Imperial age, he sporadically acquired divine worship. In terms of his functions, Bes provided protection from danger, while simultaneously averting harm, and being able with his power to prevent evil. In critical circumstances, he was also placating in nature as told in the well-known Myth of the Solar Eye, when he stopped the wrath of bloodthirsty goddess Hathor serving her an alcoholic beverage, spiked with a plant-based drug, disguised as blood to a deep forgetting sleep on her.”

Chambers painted with the image of Bes were built at the site of Saqqara near the Egyptian capital Memphis, south of Cairo, but little is understood about the religion specifics.

Expanding the sampling chemical study to other examples of similar times would show a clearer picture, researchers said.

The post Evidence Shows Ancient Egyptian Cult Tripped on Hallucinogens appeared first on High Times.

Source: Hightimes

Judge Clears Florida Doctor Accused of Medical Cannabis Fraud

A doctor in Florida who was accused by the state of failing to conduct adequate evaluations of patients before ordering them medical cannabis prescriptions was cleared by a judge on Wednesday.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that an administrative judge ruled that Joseph Dorn, a Tallahassee physician, “didn’t do anything wrong” when he was the subject of a pair of undercover investigations.

Last month, the state’s Department of Health proposed a number of harsh penalties against Dorn in its written recommendation to Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins: a permanent ban from ordering medical cannabis for patients, a $10,000 fine, and a five-year suspension of Dorn’s medical license.

But on Wednesday, per the Tampa Bay Times, Watkins “issued an order recommending that the complaint against the doctor be dismissed, saying that health officials ‘failed to present competent substantial evidence in this case establishing … that Dr. Dorn acted, or failed to act, in any manner to defraud or trick any patient, or that any patient was actually defrauded or tricked.’”

The accusations against Dorn, who boasts three decades of experience practicing medicine in Florida, stem from his interactions with two different undercover patients, referred to as “Patient O.G.” and “Patient B.D” in the state’s complaint against the doctor.

The Department of Health said Dorn failed to conduct physical examinations of “Patient O.G.” and “Patient B.D,” as the News Service of Florida reported last month, and even went as far as accusing Dorn of using a “trick or scheme” in his practice.

“Instead of recognizing this responsibility, respondent (Dorn) used his designation as a qualified physician to liberally qualify patients to receive medical marijuana by only performing perfunctory consultations and ignoring many of the requirements imposed by the legislature,” attorneys for the Department of Health wrote in their recommendation to the judge last month.

But on Wednesday, Watkins said that the state lacked the evidence necessary to back those claims.

“The evidence of record undermines DOH’s argument that Dr. Dorn’s practice is nothing more than an ‘open gate’ to medical marijuana. In the case of both O.G. and B.D. (and presumably the other 28 patients examined), Dr. Dorn conducted a detailed and thorough assessment of the patient’s condition prior to prescribing medical marijuana,” Watkins wrote, as quoted by the Tampa Bay Times. “Furthermore, the preponderance of the competent substantial evidence in this case demonstrates that Dr. Dorn performed a meaningful review of O.G. and B.D.’s medical history and symptoms, identified and discussed their qualifying stressors, and noted the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms being experienced by each.”

The ruling amounts to vindication for Dorn, whose attorney, Ryan Andrews, said last month that the state “offered no evidence whatsoever to support its allegation,” and that the Department of Health “does not know what the health benefits or risks are of medical marijuana.”

On Wednesday, the Times reported that Andrews “threatened to take legal action against the health department and officials involved in the complaint against his client.”

“This action didn’t sound in good faith and now it’s our turn to seek justice and right this wrong against everyone involved. This entire action against Dr. Dorn is an embarrassment and disservice to the state of Florida. Dr. Dorn is excited to continue treating patients without these baseless and harmful accusations hanging over his head,” Andrews said in a statement.

The post Judge Clears Florida Doctor Accused of Medical Cannabis Fraud appeared first on High Times.

Source: Hightimes