Psychedelic Tobacco — What Wacky Tobacky Sent the Mayans to Mars?

by Aug 6, 2021Smoke Signals0 comments

Psychedelic Tobacco — What Wacky Tobacky Sent the Mayans to Mars?

by Aug 6, 2021Smoke Signals0 comments

Smell that wacky tobacky. No, not the jolly green ganja. If you read early accounts of white people’s first encounters with tobacco in Pre-Colonial America, the Natives were totally spun off their gourds.

Rip-tripping, super-Cali’d frazzled, sizzle jizzled — spun to the clouds like a makisupa Montezuma monsoon.

The early Americans reached a level of intoxication the Marlboro Man could only dream. American Spirit ziplined them so far to the moon maybe they used Janis Joplin blotter paper for a Zig Zag.

“Some records of early observers who described the drunken behavior of those who smoked tobacco are puzzling,” Francis Robicsek points out in Smoke: A Global History of Smoking. “How could the N. tabacum plant, which is smoked today by millions without any of these effects, have made the Indians ‘intoxicated,’ behave ‘foolishly,’ ‘lose their judgement,’ ‘fall down as if they were dead’ and ‘invoke demons?’”

In other words — what the hell were they smoking?

Some speculate it wasn’t just tobacco — the Native peace pipe was likely packed with a cornucopia of herbs, many of them psychedelic. 

Like Burning Man, Only Mayan

Robicsek suggests a few reasons why early Shaman puffers seemed less Joe Camel and more Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test:

  • The Mayans smoked a more potent tobacco species than what is commercially grown today.
  • The Mayans smoked a great deal of it.
  • The Mayans combined tobacco smoking with chants, ritualized dancing, fasting, self-torture, and other spiritually freaky deaky to throw fresh-off the-Inquistion white people into thinking they were high.

But the most likely blue ribbon winner, according to Robicsek? The Mayans “may have consumed herbs other than tobacco with psychotropic properties, in conjunction with or instead of tobacco.

“It is probable that the early Spaniards, being only vaguely aware of these herbs but having learned of tobacco on the Carribbean Islands on which they first landed, thought that everything the Mayans smoked was tobacco and labeled it as such.”

It’s possible, Robicsek allows, that contemporary scholars are also at fault. Modern translators of historical Spanish texts were a little loose in their interpretations. Spanish expressions like “smoking reed,” “odoriferous herb,” and “smoke” were often translated as generic “tobacco.”

Damn you auto correct!

Blending Herbal Psychedelics

At the point of early white people contact, indigenous people smoked as many as 100 different plant species, according to recent research out of Washington State University. Many of these were psychoactive. Recent excavations of a burial site in the Sora River valley in Southwestern Bolivia discovered a bundle of psychotropic plants believed to be used for religious purposes. Archaeologists unearthed two snuffing tablets, a snuffing tube, and a pouch made from fox snouts. 

“The snuffing tablets would have been used to grind psychotropic plants into snuff which then would have been smoked with the snuffing tube,” Kay Vandette reports on The bundle is believed to be around 1,000 years old.

Kinnikinnick, the inspiration for this Bear Blend, is a Native American traditional mixture of bark and leaves. It means “that which is mixed”  and typically blends herbs like bearberry, red osier dogwood, silky cornel, Canadian bunchberry, evergreen sumac, littleleaf sumac, smooth sumac, and staghorn sumac. Kinnikinnick would often be mixed with tobacco and/or psychotropic herbs.

Bear Blend’s Rebirth

Bear Blend continues the tradition of mixing a cornucopia of herbal blends — calamus, calendula, catnip, lavender, damiana, mugwort, passionflower, skullcap, St. John’s Wort, vanilla bean, wormwood, yerba mate and more. These herbs induce cool and calming effects — reduce anxiety, aid sleep, and make you feel downright fabulous

It all started when our founder Bear was working on an organic farm he shared with his brother in Meigs County, Ohio. It was a hip-dippy community. Many of their neighbors were herbalists, and included Tis Mal Crow, a Native American root doctor and herbalist. One day Bear’s rolling up a cigarette of American Spirit. “It’s funny you call that tobacco,” Crow muses. “When I was growing up, Shamans had their own blends of tobacco, which were really all these different herbs.”

A light bulb went off and Bear started picking and packing, rolling and smoking. Gathering herbs in the woods around his farm, Bear developed his own blend for fun and recreation, sharing it with friends. Eventually he started to package it, and Bear Blend was born. 


Blending Moments of the Soul

Of course it won’t get you high, but Bear Blends will help settle the mind, inspire contemplation, ease your soul into chill. 

We recommend smoking Bear Blends outdoors, under a tree, bending cloud balloon animals with your mind. Offer up a prayer to the Spirit; give thanks to the smoke. Reconnect with nature and all the Earth has to give.

It’s a Native American tradition, a way of appreciating nature, herbs, and the gifts of the Earth. Some of our blends are designed to inspire energy; others encourage sleep and contemplative relaxation. 

Our Moon Blend is designed for women with magical herbs like St. John’s Wort, passion flower, and holy basil blended with rose leaves. Our Shaman Blend features CBD rich hemp flowers. Our Amazon Blend is active and attentive, inspiring balance with passion flower, clove, and calamus. 

Bear Blend herbs are good for what ails you — an opportunity to connect and commune with the Earth, be One with the Great Spirit and rediscover your true nature. They can be blended with tobacco, cannabis, or simply enjoyed on their own for a satisfying and relaxing smoke.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Celebrate wisely and reconnect with the Spirit inside you. 

Matt Gallagher

Matt Gallagher

Wordsmith Specialist

A freelance writer for hire, Matt Gallagher is the face and voice behind Web Copy Magician. He enjoys Bear Blend as a tea to spiritually reconnect with nature and the therapeutic wonders of chlorophyll.


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