This is Archived Content

This content is available for historical purposes only. It may not reflect the current state of science or language from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
View current meetings on


September 9, 2003 - 12:00am
Rockville, Maryland

NIDA and the Office of Dietary Supplements convened a workshop entitled "Psychoactive Botanical Products" on September 9, 2003 in Rockville, Maryland. This workshop provided a morning of speaker presentations followed by a moderated afternoon panel discussion which encouraged questions from audience members.

Presentation summaries:

  • Dr. Paul Coates, Director of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), addressed issues surrounding dietary supplements. He included an overview of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), the definition of a dietary supplement, and a discussion of the myth vs. reality of herbs. He also discussed the ODS's mission, issues related to research on dietary supplements, and the ODS's research agenda. Download Presentation (Powerpoint,18 MB)
  • Dr. Bryan Roth, Case Western Reserve University, discussed using the "receptorome" (receptors in the genome) as a tool to discover how psychoactive plants produce their effects in humans. He discussed his behavioral and "receptorome" research with Salvinorin A, cathine and cathinone (active ingredients Qat [Catha Edulis]), and ephedra. Download Presentation (Powerpoint, 9.9 MB)
  • Dr. Richard Briscoe, Merck Research Laboratories, discussed how preclinical research can be used to predict human risk. He discussed his self-administration and drug discrimination research with caffeine, ephedrine, and their combination. He also discussed what research could be done to increase the safety of marketed herbal products. Download Presentation (Powerpoint, 104 KB)
  • Dr. John H. Halpern, Harvard University, discussed hallucinogens and dissociative agents naturally growing in the United States. Ephedra, psilocybe mushrooms, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and peyote were among several of the drugs that were discussed, including behavioral effects, active ingredients, and cultural/religious use. Download Presentation (Powerpoint, 6.4 MB)
  • Dr. Dennis McKenna, University of Minnesota, discussed the problems and prospects of ayahuasca, including cultural/religious use, active ingredients (DMT and betaÐcarbolines) and ayuhuasca "analogs", and drug pharmacology. Issues related to using ayahuasca as a medicine (including possible therapeutic uses, public health and safety concerns), were also discussed. Download Presentation (Powerpoint, 1.3 MB)
  • Dr. Susan McCabe, East Tennessee State University, discussed misuse and abuse issues related to botanical products taken clinically, including who is use complementary or alternative medicines (CAMs), and consequences of misuse and abuse of psychoactive botanicals using examples from stimulant, hallucinogen, and anxiolytic classes of drugs. She also discussed kava kava use in Micronesia, and Pan-Asia use of betel nuts. Download Presentation (Powerpoint, 5.1 MB)

The afternoon panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Reese Jones (University of California, San Francisco). The following are examples of topics that were discussed:

  • Use of beta-carbolines as monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • The internet as a source of information and misinformation
  • Potential therapeutic uses of psychoactive botanicals
  • Basic and applied research that is needed to investigate psychoactive botanical products, including issues related to acute vs. chronic use, effects when taken during pregnancy, developmental effects.
  • Funding issues related to research on psychoactive botanical products