Not many plants can claim such complex and closely intertwined relationships with people, such as opium poppy and tobacco. Both plants play a major role in behavior associated with an extremely high level of addiction, which shortens life and burdens society with medical and financial concerns. Nevertheless, the general position regarding these plants can hardly be different. Opium is illegal in most of our world. Poppy pockets, a source of raw opium, are strictly controlled by photo satellite satellites, and each year the plans for opium production in the world are carefully studied by governments to calculate what share of the budget is allocated for treatment of addiction, external efforts to eradicate and internal banning products of refined opium, such as morphine and heroin.

Tobacco, on the other hand, is probably the most widely used plant drug on the globe. No people recognized tobacco smoking as illegal, and indeed, any country that tried to do this would be in conflict with one of the most powerful international drug concern that ever existed. However, the indisputable fact that tobacco smoking is the cause of the premature death of millions of people: lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease are closely linked to smoking. Tobacco also causes addiction no less than heroin, revered by the most powerful drug. When this fact was declared by the leading US surgeon Everett Coop, a whole storm of ridicule and humiliation struck him, raised by leading American tobacco companies and countless number of their consumer adherents.


What do we learn from comparing these two plants? Both have a long history of consumption, both contribute to addiction and are extremely destructive, and nevertheless, one is closely interwoven with our life style and given to us as very courageous, refined, pleasant, while the other is outlawed, severely persecuted, considered suicidal and perceived with the thoughtless horror with which the previous generations looked at the Bolsheviks, suffragist women and oral sex.

This situation is another example of the hypocrisy of the culture of dominion, how it selects and advances those truths and realities that it finds convenient. But the fact is that although heroin greatly contributes to addiction, and one of the preferred routes of administration is intravenous injection – it carries with it the possibility of spreading serious diseases, nevertheless it is no more dangerous than its legal and heavily proposed competitor tobacco. “Entire volumes of research … lead to the conclusion that the consumption of heroin does not cause any organic diseases. It is a physically harmless, albeit strongly addictive substance. ”

The difference in the public perception of these two plant-based drugs, which now cover the entire planet with a pandemic, cannot in any way contribute to a reasonable social assessment of their harmfulness. With the right approach, the attitude towards these two plants would be similar. However, we are forced to point out some points that are not related to the common property of tobacco and heroin to cause addiction, in order to understand why the society of dominion chose to “crush” one and elevate the other.


Tobacco is a natural plant for the New World, and so is the custom of smoking plant materials to achieve the narcotic effects of them. Smoking may have been known in the Old World during the Neolithic period. Here the opinions of scientists are divided. However, there is no evidence that tobacco smoking was a practice known to any of the historical civilizations of the Old World before Columbus brought it after its second trip to both Americas. After less than a hundred years, packs of tobacco were left lying on the graves of shamans in Lapland! This gives some insight into how quickly tobacco could spread like a smoke, even in a society that was not at all familiar with it before. By the beginning of the XIX century, tobacco consumption in Europe was considered the prerogative of men. The prosperity of men was judged by the quantity and quality of cigars they smoked.Tobacco was ranked among the long list of male privileges of the style of dominion, which included almost all types of alcohol (ladies brandy, please), financial control, access to prostitutes and control of political power (remember the very “smoke-filled rooms”).

Even in the current atmosphere, a clear idea of ​​drugs does not see any contradiction between the passionate calls for the prohibition of drug use by professional athletes and the figure of the chewing tobacco of the main attacking team, stepping towards the emblem of the power, whose eyes are frozen in narcotic tension. Would exclusion of drugs from sports mean the disappearance of this ridiculous figure of a blunt stuffed animal with a good feeding paw? I’m somehow not sure about this.

While tobacco was making its way to the present heights, opium was also popular, albeit insignificant in comparison with tobacco. Ladanum – opium tincture in alcohol – was used as a remedy for colic in children, as a “female tonic”, as a remedy for dysentery and, most significant, as a causative agent of creative imagination among writers, travelers and other bohemians. Morphine, which is to be administered by injection, was the first synthesized alkaloid. This event, which occurred in 1805, cast a shadow on the quiet little world of incense enthusiasts – for however much creative inspiration Coleridge and De Quincy received from their supposed “opiomania” slavery, their dependence on opium, although serious, could be compared with cocaine addiction and new synthetic heroin analogues,then it seems just insignificant.


Poppy seeds are tasty and non-psychoactive food, as all lovers of buns with poppy seeds can confirm. But if an immature seed box is incised with a blade or simply scratched with a fingernail, then a milk will soon appear, like latex, which, when thickened, turns into a dark brown substance. This material is raw opium. Like the psilocybin fungus growing on cattle litter, ergot growing on rye and other cereals, opium poppy – the main psychoactive plant – developed in close proximity to the source of human food. In the case of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), the psychoactivity and nutritional value of the same plant are two sides of the same coin.

Opium – in one form or another – was at the doctors in service at least since 1600 BC. er One of the Egyptian medical guides of the time prescribed it as a sedative for children – exactly as the Victorian nannies did, giving the children the Godfrey flavored drink with opium to soothe them. Opium — this black sticky gum — was not smoked for most of its history, but dissolved in wine and drank or rolled into a ball and swallowed. Opium as a remedy for pain, for euphoria and, according to widespread rumors, an aphrodisiac, was known in Eurasia a few thousand years ago.

During the decline of the Minoan civilization, which dates back thousands of years, and its religion of the Archaic cult of the Great Mother, the original source of the connection of plant nature to the Goddess was eventually replaced by opium intoxication. Early Minoan texts indicate that the poppy was widely cultivated in Crete and Pylos in the Late Minian era; According to these texts, poppy heads were used as ideograms on payment labels. The indicated quantities of the poppy crop are so large that for some time it was assumed that these numbers refer to the grain, and not to the poppy. This is easy to understand, since Demeter was a goddess of both.

As far as knowledge about poppy was transferred to the Greek mysteries of Demeter on the mainland, in fact, it remains to be seen, especially from those considerations that there is a certain iconographic confusion between the poppy flower and the pomegranate, a plant also associated with the mysteries. Kareni quotes Theocritus.

For the Greeks, Demeter was still the poppy goddess, Holding a sheaf and a poppy in her hands.

The famous illustration from Erich Neumann’s book “The Great Mother” depicts a Goddess next to a hive, holding poppy boxes and ears in her left hand, and her right hand resting on one of the undecorated columns that were central to the Minoan religion of the land (ill. 20). It has rarely happened that so many elements of the Archaic technology of ecstasy so obviously come together. This image is an almost pure allegory of the transformation of the Minoan shamanic spirituality in its late phase. Its mushroom roots symbolize the non-conic column; they are the touchstone of the Goddess, addressed to the promises of poppy and ergotized grain. The beehive introduces the theme of honey, the archetypal image of ecstasy, female sexuality and protection, alternating botanical identities and sacred sacraments.

Poppy and latex opium were known to the ancient Egyptians and are manifested in their funerary art, as well as in the earliest medical papyrus. Different types of poppy were known to Persians; in ancient Greece and other places, the poppy was known as the “tribuler”.

Theophrastus knew him as a means of causing sleep, in 300 BC. e., and his observations repeated Pliny in the I century AD. e., adding thoughts of opium poisoning. The Greeks dedicated the poppy to the goddess of the night Nike, Morpheus – the son of Hypnos and the god of dreams, and Thanatos – the god of death. They brought together all his properties in the deities to which he was offered as an offering. Opium spread throughout the Islamic world after the VII century. It was undoubtedly used to treat dysentery, as well as to alleviate mental anguish.

Although the property of opium to cause addiction was mentioned by Heraclides of Tarent in the III century BC. Oe., it was something that even doctors could not understand for almost 2000 years. We, who grew up with the notion of addiction as a disease, may find it hard to believe that chemical dependence on opiates was neither noted nor described by medical authorities until the beginning of the 17th century. In 1613, Samuel Pürchez remarked about opium that “once consuming it, you will have to continue it on pain of death, although some find a way out, resorting to wine instead”. “Understanding that opium causes addiction is rarely found in that period.”

For the ancient world, opium was a means of bringing sleep and relief of pain. In the last days of the Roman Empire, opium was prescribed, perhaps, excessively. Then, opium consumption almost stopped in Europe for many centuries; Old herbalists from Saxon England mention juice, which is driven from poppies as a remedy for headaches and insomnia, but opium undoubtedly played a rather minor role in the healing equipment of medieval Europe does not contain any signs or special marks for opium. although it contains such notes for hundreds of other substances and materials / Martin Rouland’s Alchemical Lexicon , published in 1612, mentions only the word “ozor” (osoror) as a synonym for opium, and without explanation.


Only in Paracelsus, the famous father of chemotherapy, can we trace the revival of interest in opium. The great Swiss alchemist of the 16th century, a medical reformer and medicine man, defended opium and used it on a large scale. And here again, as in the case of purified alcohol, we meet with an alchemist, busy searching for the spirit, locked, as it seemed, in matter, who discovered the means to release the power contained in a simple plant. And just like Llull before him, Paracelsus assumed that he had discovered a universal panacea: “I own a secret means, which I call“ incense ”and which surpasses all other heroic means.”

Soon after Paracelsus began to proclaim the virtues of opium, the doctors belonging to his school began the preparation of a medicinal panacea, whose exceptional active basis was the abundant amount of opium contained in them. One of these enthusiastic followers, the alchemist van Helmont , became widely known as “Dr. Opius,” the first “trupak,” or


While the “Yatrochemists” Paracelsus “religions” promoted the use of opium in Europe, the exotic newcomer slowly made his way onto the European scene. Tobacco was the first and most immediate payment for the discovery of the New World — On November 2, 1492, less than a month after his first arrival in the New World, Columbus landed on the north coast of Cuba. Admiral Okeansky sent two members of his crew loaded with gifts to the interior of the island, where, he believed, was supposed to be the head of many coastal villages that he had seen. The admiral, no doubt, still had some hope that his people would return with the news of gold, precious stones, precious woods and spices — the wealth of India. Instead, the scouts returned with a message about men and women,in which burned rolled leaves were inserted into the nostrils. These lighted convolutions were called“Tobaccos” and they consisted of dried herbs wrapped in a large dry leaf. They were lit from one end, and people were drawing in smoke from the other – they “drank” it, that is, they breathed in something completely unknown in Europe.

De las Casas, Bishop of Chiapsky, who published the report of Columbus in which this description is given, added his comment.

I know the Spaniards imitating this custom, and when I reprimanded them for this wild occupation, they replied that they could not give up this habit. Although the mariners were extremely surprised by this strange savage custom, they, having experimented with it themselves, soon got so much pleasure that they began to imitate him.

Four years after the first journey, the recluse Romano Pane, whom Columbus left in Haiti after completing his second trip to the New World, described in his journal a local habit of inhaling tobacco smoke using a bird-bone device inserted into the nose and supported above the tobacco piled on coals. The consequences of this simple ethnographic observation were yet to be taken into account. It introduced into Europe an extremely effective method of introducing drugs into the human body, including many potentially dangerous ones. It made a worldwide tobacco smoking epidemic possible. It was a fast and abusive way to consume both opium and hashish. And it was the distant ancestor of crack cocaine smokers and Pi-Pi-Pi [ PCP, phenylcycledine. – Approx. ed. ]. He, it should be said, allows one to experience the deepest ecstasy caused by indole hallucinogens, a rare but incomparable practice of smoking DMT (dimethyltryptamine).


By the time of contact with Europe, tobacco smoking was widespread in North America. Although the habit of consuming hallucinogenic, DMT-containing snuffs also prevailed in the Caribbean cultural area, so far there have been no confirmed reports of any other smoking materials besides tobacco.

The high culture of the Mayan Indians, which flourished in Mesoamerica until the mid-800s, had a long and complex relationship with tobacco and its habit of smoking. The classic Mayan tobacco was the tobacco Nicotiana rustica, which is still in use among the indigenous populations of South America to this day. This species is much stronger, potentially chemically hallucinogenic in contrast to the commercial varieties available today, Nicotiana tabacum. The difference between this tobacco and cigarette is very large. Wild tobacco was dried and rolled up into cigars, which were then smoked. The trance-like state that followed as a result of smoking, in part because of synergy with the compounds present, including MAO inhibitors, was central to Mayan shamanism. Recently introduced antidepressants, MAO inhibitors are distant synthetic relatives of these natural compounds. Francis Robishek wrote a lot about the fascination of the Maya people with tobacco and its chemically complex composition.

It should also be recognized that nicotine is in no way the only bioactive substance in a tobacco leaf. Recently, the harmala group alkaloids — garman and norgarman — were isolated from commercially produced tobacco and their smoke. They make up the chemical group of beta-carbolines, which include harmine, harmaline, tetrahydroharmine, and six-methoxygarmine, all with hallucinogenic properties. Although so far none of the natural varieties of tobacco have been tested for the presence of these substances, it is reasonable to assume that their content can vary widely depending on the type and development of tobacco and that some of the local types of tobacco may contain relatively high concentrations.

Tobacco was and is always an appendage of more powerful plants and visual hallucinogens, wherever they are consumed in both Americas in the traditional and shamanic form.

And one of the traditional ways of using tobacco includes an enema invented in the New World. Peter Furst studied the role of enemas and klysters in Mesoamerican medicine and shamanism.

Only today it turned out that the ancient Maya, like the ancient Peruvians, used enemas. Syringes, or narcotic enemas, and even enema rituals, reflected in the art of Maya, are found. An outstanding example is a large painted vase, dated to 600–800 AD. O., which depicts a man inserting an enema, and a woman who helps him. As a result of this newly discovered image, archaeologist M.-D. Coe was able to identify a strange object that holds the jaguar deity on another painted Mayan vessel, like a syringe. If the enemas of the ancient Maya consisted, like those of the Peruvian Indians, of intoxicating or hallucinogenic substances, then they may have consisted of fermented balche, a honey drink. Balche – a sacred drink that was made stronger with the help of an admixture of tobacco or bindweed seeds. Thus, it was possible that they took dope extracts and even hallucinogenic mushrooms. Of course, they could use and just tobacco impurities.


Any specific means introduced into use is inevitably accompanied by a multitude of charlatan medical theories and methods of treatment. Cocaine abuse, as we shall see, was preceded by the fashion for tonic “Vin de Mariani”, and heroin was offered as a treatment for addiction to morphine. In order not to be disgusted with the Mayan “enema” rituals, one should take into account that in 1661 the Danish doctor Thomas Bartholin recommended enemas to his patients not only from tobacco juice, but also from tobacco smoke.

Anyone who accidentally swallowed tobacco can witness its laxative effect. This property is used in tobacco enemas used in enemas. My dear brother Erasmus showed me this method. The smoke from two pipes (filled with tobacco) is blown into the intestines. Suitable for this tool came up with an ingenious Englishman.

Not conceding to a clever Englishman, a French doctor of the 18th century, Buco began to defend the use of “intravaginal injection of tobacco smoke for the treatment of hysteria.”

Quite apart from these eccentric and strange uses of tobacco consumption and despite the disapproval of the clergy, the habit of smoking quickly spread in Europe.

Any means in the process of its introduction into a new cultural environment is glorified as a “love affair,” which is obviously the most effective of all advertising tricks. Such different substances as heroin and cocaine, LSD and MDMA, all of them at some stage were offered as a means of providing a certain sense of intimacy – sexual or psychological. Tobacco was no exception: the reason for its rapid spread was in part the sailors’ trailing bikes about its remarkable properties as an aphrodisiac.

The sailors talked about Nicaraguan women who smoked this potion and found such ardor that they would not see in their sleep. Probably, it was these rumors that became the decisive argument in favor of the popularity of smoking among women in Europe. Perhaps this is the reason for the success of the former Franciscan monk Andre Teve, who in 1579 presented tobacco to the French court.

Teve was well aware that tobacco would be smoked and consumed as a means of restoring strength and invigoration. Earlier, the French ambassador to Portugal, Jean Nico, experimented with shredded leaves of tobacco, using them as a snuff

mixture for the treatment of migraine. In 1560, Niko handed over a sample of his smelling mixture to Catherine de Medici, who suffered from chronic migraine. The queen was delighted with the action of this plant, and it quickly became known as “Herba Medicea”, or “Herba Catherinea”. Niko’s snuff was obtained from the more toxic Nicotiana rustica, the classic Mayan shaman tobacco. Nicotiana tabacum monk Teve conquered Europe in the form of cigarettes and was a plant that became the basis for an extremely important tobacco economy, which grew in the colonial New World.


Not everyone welcomed the appearance of tobacco. Pope Urban VII threatened to excommunicate anyone who smoked or snuff tobacco in the temples of Spain. In 1650, Innocent X prohibited the snuffing of tobacco at St. Peter’s Basilica under threat of weaning. The Protestants also condemned the new habit and were directed in their efforts no less as the king of England James I, whose fiery “Protest against tobacco” appeared in 1604.

And good compatriots, let us (I ask you) consider what honor or prudence can inspire us to imitate slave Indians, especially in such a disgusting and fetid custom … Without shame, I will tell you why we should humiliate ourselves like that, being like these rude Indians, the slaves of the Spaniards, the dregs of the world, also alien to the Covenant of God? Why don’t we then imitate them in walking in the nude? .. And why should we not deny God and worship the Devil, like them.

By launching this rhetorical “protest,” in which you can see the first application for the “just say no” approach, the king turned his attention to other things. Eight years later, the report said that in the city of London alone there were at least 7,000 tobacco merchants and as many tobacco shops! Smoking and snuffing tobacco came with the intensity of modern fashion.


In a commercial sense, tobacco did not reach its heights until the end of the Thirty Years War (1618–1648). By that time, American colonies already existed that were fully capable of taking part in the emerging trade economy. In fact, this economy mostly rested on tobacco from the colonies in North America, purified alcohol and raw sugar from the tropics outposts. The Age of Enlightenment was firmly grounded in a drug-based economy.

The introduction of tobacco to Europe was accompanied by an amazing process: due to the emphasis on recreational potential and the large-scale cultivation of the less toxic of the two main types – Nicotiana tabacum, tobacco lost its importance as a shaman plant and hallucinogenic nature of the action. This was more than a matter of changing the standard dose and method of administration. Natural tobacco, which I have tried, being among the various peoples of the Amazon, is very disturbed orientation and was subtoxic. He clearly had the ability to cause altered states of consciousness. The tobacco use habit that arose in Europe was purely secular and aimed at “invigoration”, and therefore the mildest types were considered to be commercially beneficial.

As soon as any specific remedy is found, it often goes through a testing process — dilution, dilution — before reaching the most desirable level of action for all. The transition from eating opium or hashish to smoking these substances, as well as switching from large doses of LSD in the 1960s to the current practice of taking small (for rest and recuperation), was just such a process. This latter transition could have been the result of a small, but constantly present, percentage of people suffering from serious nervous disorders after consuming large doses of LSD. The idea of ​​the “correct” dose of a substance is something that a culture creates over time. (There are, of course, completely opposite examples:the shift from inhaling sprayed cocaine through the nose to smoking crack cocaine is an example of a shift towards larger doses and more dangerous methods of consumption).


It was the prohibition of tobacco smoking in China, the last emperor of the Ming dynasty (1628–1644) that led upset tobacco followers to experiment with smoking opium. Until that time, smoking opium was not known. So the prohibition of one drug inevitably leads to a transition to another. By 1793, both opium and tobacco were already habitually smoked throughout China.

In 1729, the Chinese strictly forbade the import and sale of opium. Despite this, the import of opium by the Portuguese from the plantations in Goa continued to grow until, by 1830, more than 25,000 boxes of opium were smuggled into China. England, with its financial interests, for which the threat of these bans was tangible, turned the situation around so much that it turned it into the so-called opium wars (1838-1842).

The East India Company and the British government justified the opium trade with the polite hypocrisy that the British establishment has become a talk of the town for three centuries. There was no direct connection between the opium trade and the East India Company, which, of course, had a monopoly in the British tea trade until 1834, did not exist. Opium was auctioned at Calcutta. After that, the company refused any responsibility for this drug.

The incident that triggered an episode of capitalist terrorism and real drug slavery on a massive scale was the destruction by the Chinese authorities of twenty thousand opium crates. In 1838, Emperor Dao Guan sent official envoy Lin to Canton to end the illicit trade in this drug. Official orders were issued to British and Chinese opium dealers to remove their goods, but these orders were rejected. Then the envoy Lin burned Chinese warehouses on land and British ships awaiting unloading at the port. More annual stock of opium soared up in smoke; The chroniclers who witnessed this event recalled that the fragrance was incomparable.

A rather boring controversy dragged on, but in the end in 1840 a war was declared. The British took the initiative, confident in the strength and superiority of the Royal Navy. The Chinese had no chance: the war was short and decisive. In 1840, Kusan was captured, and the following year the British bombarded and destroyed the fortifications on the Canton River. Local Chinese commander Ji Shen, who replaced Lin’s envoy, agreed to surrender Hong Kong and pay a contribution of 6 million Chinese silver dollars worth about 300 thousand pounds sterling. When this news reached Beijing, the emperor had no choice but to agree. Thus, the Chinese suffered significant losses in money and geographically.

Fifteen years later, a second war broke out. This war also ended badly for China. Soon after, the Treaty of Tianjin legalized opium trade in China.

In many ways, this incident has become a model for larger forays into the international drug trade by the governments of the 20th century. He clearly showed: the potential suitability for the sale of new drugs can be overcome by those established forces that oppose or seem to oppose a new product. and will overcome them. The scheme, created by the English opium diplomacy of the XIX century, was repeated, albeit with some new touches in the CIA secret collusion regarding the international trade in heroin and cocaine in our time.