Evolved Ethnobotany: Beyond Hemp

Evolved Ethnobotany: Beyond Hemp

Since our inception, DankeSuper has been steadfast in its commitment to the evolution of our collective ethnobotany. In this context, we refer to ethnobotany as the interrelation between humans and plants not necessarily the study of traditional knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants and their medical, religious, and other uses. Naturally, we look to science to inform our judgement, but our products are designed to offer experiences with plants and mushrooms Western science has oft overlooked whether it be because of commercial, legal, or cultural bias.

The agriculture improvement act of 2018 offered the perfect opportunity to participate in our culture’s ethnobotanical evolution through the authorization to produce hemp and removal from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) schedule of controlled substances.  Our underlying assumption was true. Hemp offered us the opportunity to witness firsthand the evolution in cultural perception and regulation of a previously illegal, harmless, yet highly beneficial plant. Unsurprisingly, it has been a significant mess with lack of clear regulatory guidance creating significant confusion, impairment in consumer trust, and proliferation of compounds marketed as “legal” under 2018 farm bill.

Cannabinoids such as Delta-8 THC or hemp derived Delta-9 THC continue to push the interpretation of the legality of hemp derived products. While the states fastest to ban delta-8 were primarily states with the most tax revenue at risk for cannabinoid related sales occurring outside of the dispensary system. At the same time, San Francisco has suspended its cannabis tax in a desperate attempt to direct consumers away from the competing black market. A market that increases an increasingly large amount of fentanyl laced products exposing consumers to a highly addictive substance with an alarming rate of overdose related death. Additionally, the lack of clear, mindful regulatory guidance exposes consumers to lack of clarity in testing standards, and the peace of mind that provided by oversight designed to protect the consumer. It feels a bit contrived zealously campaigning for what ultimately reflects our self-interest, but the past couple years have served as a catalyst for a larger scale issue. 


As a society, we are on the brink of facing an outright crisis driven by our broken interrelationship with a rapidly changing environment. A healthy relationship to plants is fundamental to our survival. That is true whether it applies to ensuring indiscriminate access to non-harmful, naturally derived substances like cannabinoids or psilocybin, or something as fundamental as locally sourced fresh produce. It’s hard to pick a fight when faced with a boundless need for change. Yet, hemp and its derived cannabinoids offer the opportunity for an incredible template for rethinking our ethnobotany to “mind altering” substances. Approximately 1/100 of our delta-8 consumers experience an unpleasant psychoactive experience. Ultimately, that’s a relatively harmless risk for a product, but one that should be well understood prior to consumption. There are additional risk factors such as children accidentally ingesting or mislabeling of products, but they are highly manageable within the construct of a clear framework. 

100,000+ people died of fentanyl overdoses in the United States this past year. Anecdotally, it overwhelmingly appears that fentanyl is being mixed into cocaine, cannabis, and psilocybin. “Drinking to cope” has emerged offers another alarming trend with long term consequences and highlights another example our ethnobotany gone astray. Individuals must be offered better coping mechanisms; we must be enabled to discover our own balance in a safe and supported manner without prejudice. If we do not learn to nimbly adapt to life’s challenges, we risk an accelerated trajectory towards a future of shortened, lower quality lives. 

Inevitably, the fentanyl epidemic will expand. Illicit producers and distributors will race to flood the market fueling addiction and death to its unacceptable limits. Environmental change and its uncertainty, displacement, and challenges present us with an existential stress of the magnitude we’re simply ill equipped or trained to independently handle. We are not under the illusion that “non harmful drugs” like psilocybin or cannabis will solve society’s problems, far from it. That said, everyone could use help coping, maintaining balance, achieving clarity, and decompressing. We’re simply arguing that making these naturally derived substances available in a transparent, well-regulated market may significantly reduce adoption of deadly alternatives.

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