Psychoactive substances in the Maldives

Like elsewhere in the world, Maldives is host to a variety of substances that have been known and used by the local people for achieving altered states of the mind. Oshani (Datura stramonium) and Afihun (Papaver somniferum), grown locally in the Maldives, were popular until relatively recently when the plants became classed as illegal.

However, while quite a few of the "reality altering" substances are illegal and carry prison sentences for possession and consumption, there exist psychoactive substances that do not have any restricting legislation on it. In fact, there are quite a few substances that are available right at home or at the convenience shop down the road. Here are a few of the substances available in the Maldives that "supposedly" have psychoactive/psychedelic properties.

Morning Glory (Ipomoea violacea)
Morning Glory is a non-native plant variety that had been imported into Maldives. The plants are grown and sold freely. Being an imported plant, they are mostly grown as a decorative garden plant. Among the various morning glory varieties, several are known to contain LSA (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide), a chemical similar to LSD, in amounts enough to create hallucinatory effects. The varieties commonly known as "Heavenly Blue", "Pearly Gates", "Flying Saucers", "Wedding Bells", "Summer Skies" and "Blue Star" posses these properties which amusingly, to say the least, are proudly grown in some of the homes in Male'.

While nutmeg is not known to grow locally in the Maldives its products are available freely, especially for use as a spice. The red mesh covering of the nutmeg nut is even used as a traditional medicine ingredient in the Maldives. However, it is the nut itself that presents the psychoactive properties! Ingestion in the right amount will cause an altered state of mind that is very intense and hallucinatory.

San Pedro
There are many varieties of cacti being imported to the Maldives and San Pedro is undoubtedly among them. It is legal everywhere in the world. This harmless looking cactus packs a punch of mescaline although the amount of mescaline it contains varies with the particular variety. The Native Americans used another similar variety of cactus known as peyote, which contains a stronger dose of mescaline, for their spiritual rituals in order to gain "prophecies" and reach an "enlightened" state.

Passion Flower
Yep, that harmless looking plant whose fruit we make juice out of has varieties that contain sedative chemicals that is supposed to give a mild high. All the parts of the plant, especially the leaves, are rich in these chemicals and can be used to relax by boiling the leaves in order to make a "tea".

There are a few varieties of mimosa in the Maldives. The potency of the plant comes from the presence of DMT, a powerful psychedelic. The type "Mimosa Hostilis" is attributed to as having this chemical. I am not sure of the plant's exact identity but apparently "ladhu gas" (the plant that closes its leaves when you agitate it via touch) belongs to the mimosa family.

This list is ofcourse non-exhaustive and there are a few other plants like "salvia" which I suspect is also grown in the Maldives oblivious of its psychoactive power. Extra information on these and more can be found on, which is an excellent resource on plants and drugs and happens to be where I got most of the information here.

Disclaimer: This information serves to cater for the intellectual enrichment of sane, curious individuals. It is not my intention to encourage unapologetic unleashing of scary monsters and/or morphing time and space into unrecognizable landscapes by the means of chemically induced altered states of consciousness and perception for nefarious purposes.


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