By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe via LiveScience:
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Opium, “magic” mushrooms and other psychoactive substances have been used since prehistoric times all over the world, according to a new review of archaeological findings.
The evidence shows that people have been consuming psychoactive substances for centuries, or even millennia, in many regions of the world, said Elisa Guerra-Doce, an associate professor of prehistory at the University of Valladolid in Spain, who wrote the review.
Guerra-Doce’s previous research showed the use of psychoactive substances in prehistoric Eurasia. The new review “brings together data related to the early use of drug plants and fermented beverages all over the world,” Guerra-Doce told Live Science.
For example, the evidence shows that people have been chewing the leaves of a plant called the betel since at least 2660 B.C., according to Guerra-Doce’s report. The plant contains chemicals that have stimulant- and euphoria-inducing properties, and these days is mostly consumed in Asia.