Anadenanthera peregrina tree with seeds showing, also called yopo
|Common names||Yopo, Jopo, Cohoba|
|Active constituents||5-MeO-DMT, DMT, Bufotenin|
Anadenanthera peregrina (also known as Yopo, Jopo, or Cohoba) is a perennial tree native to the Caribbean and South America.
The beans of the Anadenanthera pergrina plant have been noted to contain significant quantities of bufotenin alongside lesser amounts of 5-MeO-DMT and DMT, all of which have a long history of use as entheogens. It has been used for ritual and healing purposes for thousands of years.
History and culture
Archaeological evidence shows Anadenanthera beans have been used as hallucinogens for thousands of years. The oldest clear evidence of use comes from smoking pipes made of puma bone (Felis Concolor) found with Anadenanthera beans at Inca Cueva, a site in the northwest of Humahuaca in the Puna border of Jujuy Province, Argentina. The pipes were found to contain the hallucinogen DMT, one of the compounds found in Anadenanthera beans. Radiocarbon testing of the material gave a date of 2130 BC, suggesting that Anadenanthera use as a hallucinogen is over 4,000 years old.
Snuff trays and tubes similar to those commonly used for yopo were found in the central Peruvian coast dating back to 1200 BC, suggesting that insufflation of Anadenanthera beans is a more recent method of use. Archaeological evidence of insufflation use within the period 500-1000 AD, in northern Chile, has been reported.
Some indigenous peoples of the Orinoco basin in Colombia, Venezuela and possibly in the southern part of the Brazilian Amazon make use of yopo snuff for spiritual healing. Yopo snuff was also widely used in ceremonial contexts in the Caribbean area.
Yopo snuff is usually blown into the user's nostrils by another person through bamboo tubes or sometimes snuffed by the user using bird bone tubes. Blowing is more effective as this method allows more powder to enter the nose and is said to be less irritating. In some areas, the unprocessed ground beans are snuffed or smoked producing a much weaker effect with stronger physical symptoms.
Inhaling Yopo can cause considerable pain in nostrils. However, this pain usually subsides within minutes. Physical effects include tingling and numbness throughout the body and an increased heart rate. The hallucinatory effects follow as colors become enhanced and shapes appear to morph. The effects of Yopo intensify quickly but gradually fade and are replaced by nausea and general bodily discomfort.
When taken orally by some tribes in South America, small amounts are often combined with alcoholic chichas (maize beer). Moderate doses are reported to be unpleasant, producing nausea and vomiting. The beans were a main ingredient in bilca tauri, an oral purge medicine used to induce ritual vomiting once a month. Large amounts are not usually consumed orally; as many tribes believe oral use is dangerous.
Use with MAOIs
Some South American tribes have been documented to use various bean preparations along with Banisteriopsis caapi, an herb containing MAOIs. Typically Banisteriopsis caapi is chewed in the mouth while the Anadenanthera beans are snuffed or smoked. Occasionally Banisteriopsis caapi is found mixed in with the snuff. Moderate amounts of Banisteriopsis caapi have been reported to effectively double the potency of the Anadenanthera beans. Larger amounts of Banisteriopsis caapi will not only double the potency of Anadenanthera beans but also alter the quality of the experience, producing a more relaxed dreamy effect, with possible increased nausea.
The beans have been found to contain up to 7.4% bufotenin. At up to 7.4% (74 mg per gram) bufotenin, an effective 40 mg dose of insufflated bufotenin requires little more than 0.5 grams of beans.
The effects of insufflated DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are relatively short acting. The experience lasts about 10 minutes but can take an hour to get back to baseline, while the effects of insufflated yopo typically last 2–3 hours. Of the three main compounds present, only insufflated bufotenin lasts 2–3 hours. The beans have been found to contain up to only 0.04% 5-MeO-DMT and 0.16% DMT. This suggests that they play only a minor role (if any) in the experience, as psychoactive levels of either substance would require an impractical amount of beans to be used.
For this reason, the effects of yopo are primarily attributed to the hallucinogenic properties of bufotenin (5-HO-DMT).
- Pagán-Jiménez, J., & Carlson, L. (2014). Recent Archaeobotanical Findings of the Hallucinogenic Snuff Cojoba (Anadenanthera Peregrina (L.) Speg.) in Precolonial Puerto Rico. Latin American Antiquity, 25(1), 101-116.
- Juan P. Ogalde; Bernardo T. Arriaza; Elia C. Soto (2010). "Uso de plantas psicoactivas en el north de Chile: evidencia química del consumo de ayahuasca durante el periodo medio (500-1000 d.C.)". Latin American Antiquity. 21 (4): 441–450.
- Torres, Constantino Manuel; David B. Repke (2006). Anadenanthera: Visionary Plant of Ancient South America. New York, New York: Haworth Herbal Press. ISBN 0-7890-2642-2.
- Pharmanopo-Psychonautics: Human Intranasal, Sublingual, Intrarectal, Pulmonary and Oral Pharmacology of Bufotenine by Jonathan Ott, The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, September 2001