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Feature image by Drome.

Brownie photo by Meryl CA.

There’s just something about these plants. As well as using them for their psychotropic effects, an entire world of cookery and recipes has sprung up around the ingestion of them.

But remember that although they are only plants, in many countries you can end up in prison for the rest of your life if you’re caught carrying, growing, or using something that has been deemed illegal. (And Matador is not encouraging you to break the law!)

But just in case you do fancy getting creative, here are five of our favorite recipes made with illegal plants.

1. Alice’s Mushroom Chocolate

Turn your home into a magic wonderland. Cover the walls with soft bright fabrics. Instruct everyone to dress up as cheshire cats and white rabbits and have your own Mad Hatter’s tea party.

Photo by *Ann Gordon

Ingredients: Milk chocolate, a splash of milk, one tablespoon vanilla and your favorite mushroom ground into small pieces in a food processor.

Preparation: Heat the chocolate, milk and vanilla in a pan over low flame until entirely melted. Leave at room temperature until the chocolate has cooled enough so it is no more than warm to the touch but the mixture is still soft. Mix in mushrooms.

Place in a pan or greased chocolate molds. Put the chocolate in the refridgerator for 10 minutes to set. Then remove and allow to harden completely at room temperature. Store leftover chocolate in the refrigerator.

Other recipes: Mushroom Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls

Years in prison if you’re caught: Mushrooms containing psylocibin, the active psychotropic ingredient in most magic mushrooms, are considered a class A or Schedule I drug and carry the heaviest penalties — from 2 to 20 years in prison in countries like the United States and England. If you’re caught with them in, say, Iran or Singapore, you will probably be executed.

2. Mint and Coca Leaf Ice Cream

This minty scoop of cool goodness is perfectly legal in countries like Bolivia and Argentina – where coca leaf has been used for centuries to boost energy and revive the spirit – but according to the United Nations 1971 Convention on Pyschotropic Substances, this little green leaf carries with it the same penalty as cocaine and heroin.

So if you’re visiting South America or simply willing to risk prison time, check out this refreshing recipe for Mint and Coca Leaf Ice Cream.

3. Bud Butter

Photo by Mailloux

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is fat soluble. That means you’re not going to get high from cannabis tea. Instead, you must draw the THC out using a fatty substance like oil or butter.

Use bud butter instead of regular butter in any recipe you’d like to give that extra kick, such as MJ Brownies, Bud bars, banana bread, and more.

Ingredients: 1 pound of butter and half an ounce of finely ground marijuana.

Preparation: Melt the butter in a saucepan until simmering. Put in the marijuana and allow to simmer for half an hour. The butter will turn green. Strain well to remove all pieces of plant matter then chill until solid.

You can create a Bud Oil by soaking the marijuana in an oil of your choice for a week.

Note: Possession of half an ounce of marijuana or more can potentially be seen as going beyond personal use, and you could be charged with intent to distribute. Or like Chris Diaz, you could face life in prison.

4. Bhang

The hemp plant has long been considered holy by Sufis and Hindus, thought to bring on states of reduced anxiety and spiritual ecstasy. So important is this plant to the culture, it has long been incorporated into celebrations of the Indian festival of Holi .

Try your own versions of hot buttered bhang, preferably using the fresh leaves and flowers from the female plant.

Bhang actually sounds remarkably similar in recipe and psychoactive effect to soma or sauma, another ancient drink used to bring on ecstatic spiritual states. It’s unclear if the active ingredient of soma, though, was psychedilic mushroom, marijuana, opium, ephedra, or some mixture of these.

5. Absinthe

Photo by eschipul

Long vilified as the green fairy that will leave you morally bankrupt, penniless, and possibly toothless, absinthe is becoming popular again, with bars and clubs not only serving absinthe, but also teaching preparation methods.

Made from the wormwood plant, it’s the chemical thujone that is known to cause absinthe’s psychoactive effects. Wormwood also causes the bitter flavor of this drink, thankfully tempered by adding anise, nutmeg and cloves.

Check out this detailed recipe for absinthe that provides comprehensive instructions for every part of the process, from ingredients to the benefits of using a still when preparing your own.

So yes, plants. Plants that you can use to make delicious hallucenogenic treats to liven up any party and possibly bring you closer to God. As long as you don’t wind up hat in hand explaining yourself to your local police officer from the back of a squad car.



About The Author

Leigh Shulman

Leigh Shulman is a writer, photographer and mom living in Salta, Argentina. There, she runs Cloudhead Art, an art & education group that creates collaborative art using social media to connect people and resources. You can read about her travels on her blog The Future Is Red

  • Louis

    What is the amount of mushrooms suggested in the first recipe?

    • Leigh Shulman

      Honestly, Louis, I don’t really have an answer for that. It also depends how much chocolate you use. But basically, you decide how much mushroom you want to ingest and then how much choc you want to eat in order to ingest that amount.

      Chocolate will cover the bitter, often dirt-like flavor of the mushrooms somewhat. Obviously, the more you use, the less you’ll taste the mushrooms.

  • kara rane

    Hi Leigh-
    thanks for bringing in some history with the recipes.
    also enjoy your blog & good cause for old cameras :D

    • Leigh Shulman

      Thanks Kara. I’m glad you like the recipes and thanks for reading my blog.
      I just checked out your blog. Are you still in Brooklyn? I’ll be there this week and would love to check out your art space.

  • Karras Bommer

    Sweet recipes. Isn’t it absolutely ridiculous that people can go to jail for possession of a plant or herb. I’ll bet some people are even afraid to comment on this page. This kind of victimless crime injustice will end someday. I only hope it is soon.

    • Leigh Shulman

      I personally don’t understand it. Especially since there are other plants that are legal that probably fall into similar categories as many of the plants here.

      I wonder if you’re right about people not wanting to comment here out of fear. I suppose I considered that when writing this article, but ultimately, this is about plants.

  • MrG

    Interesting article, it reminded me of a book I read – COCAINE An Unauthorized Biography by Dominic Streatfeild – in which he states that one of the secret ingredients of Coca Cola are the coca leaves, once stripped of cocaine by a chemical company in New Jersey that has a special license to import the plant. The “new” coke that was a bust some years ago was coke without the leaves, apparently they are what gives the product its distinct taste.

  • Ryan V. Stewart

    Absinthe is legal now. Also, thujone is only active at levels so high that is would require drinking a hundred glasses of absinthe in order to induce its effects, which aren’t really even psychoactive. Instead, thujone causes convulsions. The hallucinations reported to be had on absinthe are but myths. I’ve had absinthe a number of times and all I get is drunk. The psychosis it causes was made up by the French wine industry in the late 1800s so it could be banned so that wineries could make a better rofit off the failure of absinthe distilleries, powerful competition at the time. In the late 1800s, sub-par absinthe was often made with copper sulfate to create a green color, and ingesting this can cause brain damage, and hence hallucinations. This made it cheaper to produce. It’s similar to how during prohibition in the U.S. methanol, rather than ethanol, was used to make cheaper booze and the stuff would make its imbibers go blind.

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