Kew Gardens, the famously British Royal Exhibition Gardens have brought something special within their gates. Intoxication Season, running from 20th September - 12th October 2014, demonstrates mind altering plants from around the world, allowing Londoners to get personal with Cannabis, Opium and Magic Mushrooms to name the well known varieties. With some less potent herbs and organics being offered to try, real experiences of consciousness shift are being enjoyed, albeit within responsible guidelines.
Even the puritan stance of the Daily Mail couldn't resist praising Kew for its 20% rise in visitors halfway through the exhibit. It doesn't take long to realise quite how significant this is, when alongside peyote and salvia, we find tea, tobacco and kola nuts (the main ingredient to cola). New Scientist Magazine stresses the importance of bringing everyday narcotics to our attention.
"Visitors will discover how plants’ identities have been manipulated through time, sometimes portrayed as friend, sometimes as foe, when in actuality no plant is inherently a drug, a medicine, or a poison." Insists Philosopher's Stone, where an important point is raised about perception and the role of propaganda. Ancient cultures and modern a like all make use of the natural effects given to us from the plant kingdom.
"Guest speakers at the event, which runs until 12 October, include Professor David Nutt, the controversial former government adviser on drugs who said ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol." the BBC raises an important point here, where it can be clearly shown that tolerated drug abuse and untolerated drug abuse have statistically very different stories. Kew hope to open up a natural and fair debate on this very subject, asking the British public if we really agree with the way things currently are.
Mind stimulating plants have been important to humanity since we evolved, many have suggested that psychedelic plants are responsible for the emergence of art, creativity and even the stimulation of further brain growth. From medicine to pleasure, the presence and reality of intoxicating plants be they friend or foe cannot be denied. I praise Kew for having the backbone to produce such a ground breaking exhibition and can only hope they show the initiative to bring it on a national tour. The rest of Britain is waiting for the show. Next stop, Sheffield please.
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