Diego Magaldi
México -
January 19, 2023

A class with the neighborhood chemist


When we hear the word “psychoactive,” we usually think immediately of a drug that causes hallucinations. But the truth is that we consume psychoactive substances daily that don’t produce anything like that. So, what is a psychoactive substance? What does it cause in our body? What is the difference between psychedelics?
In this new episode of “Jardínes y Laberintos,” we discuss these topics with Mexican Diego Magaldi, also known as “the chemist of the neighborhood.” Based in France, Diego studied organic chemistry precisely due to his interest in psychoactive plants.

Our guest explained that “a psychoactive substance can be any that alters the central nervous system. Sometimes, one can consciously notice the changes when consuming something as basic as coffee or sugar and go further, such as substances prohibited by law, considered drugs such as marijuana or cocaine, etc.”
But his main interest was always hallucinogens. “When hallucinogens are consumed, these substances give a completely new dimension to perception,” he pointed out. “Most people could say that it is a spiritual awakening because one comes into contact with such deep ways of thinking, stored memories, also giving this feeling of understanding.”
For the specialist, “it is difficult to express in words what these substances produce, but they allow a new way of perceiving oneself through a modification of mental or altered states of consciousness.”
However, Diego emphasized that psychoactive substances are dangerous when consumed out of control. “All these substances can be prone to abuse. One of the great examples is how for the ancient Mesoamerican peoples, tobacco, for example, was a sacred plant. Now it is one of the plants that produce a great number of deaths per year around the world.” That’s why, the chemist holds, “one of the maxims of pharmacology says that the poison or the cure is in the dose.”