In 1492, when the floodgates of European explorers opened on North and South America, the many different native cultures there already had long traditions of chewing, smoking, and snuffing tobacco, sometimes in conjunction with other psychotropic plants. Used regularly in ritual and social contexts, tobacco and its counterparts were appreciated precisely for their physiological and mind-altering effects, which, among other things, aided the Amerindians in their pursuit of the supernatural. (Elizabeth Wyckoff)


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