Taboo: Drugs

Mar 27, 2024 | Drugs, Videos

The National Geographic documentary, ‘Altered State’, is sure to bring viewers on a captivating journey of discovery. Through its exploration of drug cultures from around the globe, we are exposed to places and practices that offer unique perspectives on altered states of consciousness.

From the shamans of a remote Venezuelan village, who use psychotropic drugs to contact the spirit world; to a festival in Nepal where hashish is legalized for a day; to an Amsterdam nightclub scene – each destination serves as a prism through which we can examine the intersection between recreational indulgence and scientific inquiry.

In Venezuela, for instance, indigenous tribes have been using powerful hallucinogens such as ayahuasca for centuries in rituals that serve to connect them with nature and their spiritual heritage. During these ceremonies participants often experience visions of animals or even ascend into higher realms of reality. Not only does this practice provide insight into how drug use can be incorporated into spirituality, but it also casts light on ancient traditions which are at risk of disappearing.

The documentary also illuminates the potential pitfalls of carelessly using drugs – particularly in places where they are not regulated – by investigating an alarming rise in overdoses. This sobering reminder serves as a counterpoint to more celebratory events such as Nepal’s Hashish Festival – which

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David B