Did Psychedelics Play a Role in Human Evolution?

Did Psychedelics Play A Role In Human Evolution

The allure of heroin and cocaine can be attributed to their direct stimulation of the brain’s reward centers. However, understanding the appeal of psychedelic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin is more complex. These substances can induce altered states of consciousness that produce unconventional patterns of thought and perception, typically associated with sickness or poisoning.

Despite this, people are willing to pay for these experiences and may face legal consequences. One possible explanation is that psychedelic drugs offer a shortcut to religious and transcendental experiences that may have played a significant role in human evolution.

In reality, the role that psychedelics may have played in human evolution is still a matter of debate and ongoing research. While there is evidence to suggest that early humans may have used psychedelics and that these substances may have had specific effects on the brain and behavior, there is still a need for conclusive evidence to support the idea that psychedelics played a significant role in driving human evolution.

Some researchers have suggested that psychedelics may have played a role in developing human creativity, spirituality, social bonding, and language. Still, more research is needed to understand these substances’ potential effects on human evolution. With that being said, it’s worth exploring the possible contributions that psychedelics have in this regard.

What Are Psychedelics?

Psychedelics, also known as hallucinogens, are psychoactive drugs that can alter an individual’s perception, mood, and cognitive processes. These substances can induce profound changes in consciousness, including vivid sensory experiences and alterations in thought patterns and emotions.

These can be found in various forms, including natural sources such as mushrooms (psilocybin), cacti (mescaline), and ayahuasca (DMT), as well as synthetic substances like LSD and MDMA. The use of psychedelics can result in various effects, from euphoria and feelings of connection to the universe to anxiety and intense fear. Psychedelics are also associated with potential risks and side effects, and their use is subject to legal restrictions in many parts of the world.

The Stoned Ape Theory

The shift from early hominins to modern humans was a significant development that some researchers believe may have been aided by external factors that accelerated the development of complex cognition and sociality. The “stoned ape theory” proposes that our ancestors’ consumption of magic mushrooms played a pivotal role in expanding our mental capacities. While there is no solid evidence to support this speculative hypothesis, a new article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology seeks to make a case for this unconventional theory.

José Manuel Rodríguez Arce, an independent researcher, and Dr. Michael Winkleman from Arizona State University co-authored the paper. The authors posit that the ever-changing and challenging environmental landscape of hominin evolution required the advancement of a socio-cognitive niche that depended on greater intelligence, cooperative communication, and social learning.

According to the researchers, these traits heavily rely on serotonin, a neurotransmitter synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan. Since humans cannot produce tryptophan, the authors argue that early hominins may have increased their serotonin levels by consuming magic mushrooms.

Psychedelics For Treating Mental and Health Disorders

The authors cite recent studies that suggest the potential of psychedelics in treating mental health disorders such as depression by activating serotonin receptors and enhancing neural plasticity. They contend that the ingestion of these substances by early humans could have facilitated new modes of cognition and even contributed to brain growth.

They further suggest that consuming psychedelic plants fostered social bonding among ancient hominins, eliciting euphoria and laughter while enhancing storytelling and musical abilities. This could have promoted pro-social tendencies and group cohesion and facilitated survival.

Our Ancestors and Magic Mushrooms

Although plausible, there is no concrete evidence that early hominins ingested mind-altering substances. Nevertheless, the authors argue that “psychedelic mushrooms were inevitably encountered and likely ingested” by our ancestors throughout their evolutionary history. They also cite archaeological evidence that prehistoric humans consumed mushrooms and contend that various fungi were a significant part of the early human diet.

Despite these claims, it is essential to acknowledge that this theory remains speculative and unproven. The authors recognize that the truth regarding the consumption of magic mushrooms by early hominins “will forever remain uncertain.”

Human Brain Evolution Vs. Other Primates

Since we’re on the subject, it’s important to compare how our brains evolved to those of other primates.

When it comes to brain evolution, humans have undergone a much more rapid and significant transformation compared to other primates. For example, the size of the human brain has tripled over the past few million years, while the brains of other primates have remained relatively unchanged.

In addition to changes in size, there have also been significant changes in the structure and function of the human brain. The prefrontal cortex, responsible for higher-level thinking, decision-making, and self-awareness, has undergone particularly important expansion in humans.

These changes have been linked to the development of complex cognition and sociality, which have allowed humans to develop language, culture, and technology. While scientists still debate the same factors that led to these changes, some researchers have suggested that our ancient ancestors’ consumption of psychedelic substances played a role in kick-starting the expansion of our mental capacities. However, this hypothesis remains controversial and unproven.

Overall, while there are certainly common traits between the brains of humans and other primates, it’s clear that the evolution of the human brain has been a unique and remarkable process.

How Psychedelics Affect Your Brain

When you take psychedelics, they interact with various neurotransmitter systems in your brain, particularly the serotonin system. They bind to and activate serotonin receptors, which alter your sensory perception, mood, and thought processes. This can result in experiencing visual and auditory hallucinations, altered states of consciousness, and shifts in your mood and emotions.

Psychedelics can also increase neural plasticity, allowing new connections and pathways to form in your brain. This is thought to underlie the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelics in treating mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

It’s important to note that the specific effects of psychedelics on your brain can vary depending on the type of substance, dosage, and individual factors such as genetics and environment.

How Psychedelics Can Affect Creativity

When you take psychedelics, it can lead to increased creativity and innovation. This is because drugs can alter your mind, allowing you to see things from a new perspective and think outside the box. You may experience enhanced imagination, increased visual and auditory perception, and a heightened ability to connect seemingly unrelated ideas.

This can be particularly helpful in creative pursuits such as art, music, and writing, as well as in problem-solving and idea generation. Many famous artists and thinkers throughout history have credited psychedelics with inspiring their work and helping them break through creative blocks.

It’s important to note that the effects of psychedelics on creativity and innovation can vary depending on the individual, the substance, and the dosage. It’s also crucial to use these substances safely and responsibly and under a trained professional’s guidance if used for therapeutic purposes.

How Psychedelics Can Enhance Social Bonding and Communication

When taking psychedelics, your brain’s serotonin receptors are activated, leading to an increased sense of empathy and social connectedness. This heightened emotional openness and receptivity can facilitate communication and bonding with others. Studies have shown that individuals who take psychedelics report greater closeness and trust with others.

Psychedelics may also increase your ability to recognize and interpret nonverbal cues, like facial expressions and tone of voice, which can help you better understand and connect with others. Additionally, the altered state of consciousness that psychedelics can induce may lead to a more introspective and reflective mindset, facilitating meaningful conversations and shared experiences with others.

Overall, psychedelics have the potential to enhance social bonding and communication by increasing feelings of empathy, emotional openness, and connectedness with others.

How Psychedelics Can Influence Language Development

Psychedelics have been known to influence language development, and this effect is thought to be related to the increased neural plasticity that they produce. By allowing new connections and pathways to form in the brain, psychedelics can promote the development of language skills, including the ability to understand and use language more effectively.

One way psychedelics influence language development is by enhancing the ability to connect words and concepts. This can increase vocabulary and improve communication skills, leading to more effective social interactions.

Additionally, the altered states of consciousness that psychedelics produce may facilitate creative language use and the development of new language forms. This can lead to innovative new modes of expression and shape the evolution of language over time.

Of course, the effects of psychedelics on language development can vary depending on individual factors such as dosage and set setting. Nonetheless, many people report that the use of psychedelics has positively impacted their language skills and abilities and may be worth exploring further for those interested in personal or creative development.

While the idea that psychedelics played a role in human evolution remains a topic of debate, there is evidence implying that they may have influenced the development of our brains and social structures. They can alter perception, increase neural plasticity, and promote pro-social behaviors, which could have had significant evolutionary advantages.

However, the potential adverse effects of psychedelic use should not be overlooked, and more research is needed to understand their impact on human evolution fully. Whether or not our ancient ancestors consumed magic mushrooms, studying psychedelics can provide insight into the workings of the human brain and potentially offer new avenues for treating mental health conditions.

Astral Agency is Your Reliable Source of Quality Shrooms, DMT, and Other Psychedelics

Astral Agency is an online mail-order dispensary that provides Canadians with quality shrooms, DMT, and other psychedelics. We use a third-party testing facility and the results are posted in the photo gallery of each of our products. We use a special machine called an FTIR spectrometer to test your sample, as well as immunoassay test strips that check for potent substances like fentanyl or benzodiazepines. Some branded products do their testing and come sealed, so we don’t test those.



Although some researchers believe it is possible, there is no definitive evidence to prove that early humans actually took psychedelics. The “stoned ape theory” suggests that early humans consumed magic mushrooms, which kick-started the expansion of our mental capacities, but this remains a highly speculative hypothesis without hard supporting evidence. While it is hard to know for sure whether early humans consumed mind-altering substances, there is some archaeological evidence that suggests they ate mushrooms and other types of fungi.
The exact role of psychedelic use in human evolution remains unclear and is still a matter of scientific debate. While some evidence suggests that psychedelic use may have influenced human cognitive development, social bonding, and creativity, the extent to which it played a significant role in human evolution is still not fully understood. More research is required to fully explore the potential effects of psychedelic use on human development.
The “stoned ape theory” is a controversial hypothesis proposed by Terence McKenna that suggests early humans ingested psilocybin-containing mushrooms and that this consumption played a significant role in human evolution. According to the theory, consuming these mushrooms allowed humans to experience a shift in consciousness that enhanced their creativity, problem-solving ability, and social cohesion, leading to language, art, and culture development. However, the scientific community does not accept the stoned ape theory, as there needs to be more concrete evidence to support it.
There is proof to suggest that psychedelics can increase creativity in some people. Research has shown that psychedelics can improve the brain’s neural plasticity, which may lead to more flexible thinking and greater creativity. Some studies have also found that people who use psychedelics report increased creativity and originality in their thinking and a greater appreciation for art and music.
However, it is important to note that not everyone who uses psychedelics will experience these effects and that individual reactions to these substances can vary widely. Additionally, the potential risks and side effects of psychedelic use should always be carefully considered before use.
Some research suggests that psychedelics may enhance social bonding and communication. Studies have shown that individuals who use psychedelics in a controlled setting may experience increased empathy and connectedness with others. This could lead to enhanced sociability and a more remarkable ability to connect with others.
But more studies are needed to understand the potential effects of psychedelics on social behavior fully. It’s also important to note that the results of psychedelics can vary depending on the individual, the type of substance, and the dosage. As with any substance, it’s crucial to approach psychedelic use with caution and to seek guidance from a medical professional if you have any concerns.
There is limited research on the specific effects of psychedelics on language learning, but some anecdotal reports suggest that they may enhance language processing and fluency in some individuals.
It’s important to note, though, that the use of psychedelics is illegal in many countries and can have serious risks and potential negative consequences, including impaired cognitive function, increased anxiety and paranoia, and the possibility of triggering underlying mental health conditions. So it is not recommended to use psychedelics as a means of language learning, and more research is needed to understand the possible risks and benefits of their use.