It’s a fruit that’s found in everyone’s house, one that athletes and dirty minded people love alike. Yes, I’m talking about the ubiquitous banana.
We’ve all grown up hearing our parents asking us to eat a banana, saying that it’ll make us stronger and smarter (or in my case, that it’ll make me poop better.) And it’s true that bananas are extremely healthy. They’re high in potassium, a mineral necessary for your muscles and nerves to function properly; and they’re also a great source of fibre which is great news for your digestion!
But as your hippie-high guide, it would be wrong on my part to not tell you that bananas have some mind expanding, hallucinogenic properties as well. Wait. Did you read that right? Yes. But how do we know this? Did people actually smoke bananas, or is it just a made up story? Here’s what we know:
Back in the 60’s, a lot of hippies and counterculturists were experimenting with various kinds of mind altering substances. This is around the time marijuana, LSD and others like them became famous/notorious for their effects on people and thus, the world. Marijuana was banned after a thorough battle with US propaganda and LSD was banned (not for MK Ultra victims, though) in 1966.
To the quintessential American hippie, this was a time of desperation. And unsurprisingly, around 1967, someone wrote to a California hippie paper called 'Berkley Barb’ claiming that they’d found a new smokeable hallucinogen that anybody could get their hands on. This substance was none other than the white fibers on the peels of every banana.
The method of smoking was supposed to be this:
1 . Peel the banana.
2 . Scrape the inner fibre out.
3 . Dry it out in an oven/ the sun.
4 . Roll it into a joint.
5 . Trip balls.
To say that the news spread like wildfire would be an understatement. Hippies ran in an out of stores with banana crates in their hands and cars, papers everywhere were reporting this story. It got to a point where even The Times wrote an article about it. A congressman even made a joke, publicly stating that 2 new articles were being introduced to the Congress: the Banana Labeling Act of 1967 and the Banana and Other Odd Fruits Disclosure and reporting Act of 1967.
But elsewhere, there was trouble brewing. The United Fruit company was very pissed off about these stories, so was the Food and Drug Administration. The scientists who got to work on this project in 1967 realized that bananas were high in serotonin and norepinephrine, which is found in substances like LSD that gets you high. BUT the quantity of these chemicals in bananas were way too low for anyone to get high on. So in simple words, the entire banana smoking idea was a giant hoax.
Fun Fact: It was these guys (who were testing bananas for hallucinogenic qualities) who were the first ones to find out how important bananas are for potassium in our systems!
We absolutely would not recommend anyone to try smoking a banana at home, and if you intend to do so, you should know that it is know to have given people headaches before. The rest my friends, is up to you.