One of my relatives is a psychiatrist who sees a lot of drug abusers in his practice. He has come up with a Paleo meta-rule: If your heritage has no evolutionary history of using [fill_in_recreational_drug_here], don't do it.
As he treats an Amerindian population with a propensity for severe alcohol abuse and has seen the horrific damage first-hand, his quote to me was:
Man, these folks should be doing peyote or whatever drug it was they were doing before the Europeans showed up, because alcohol's ill effects are magnified by a orders of magnitude versus what you see in people of European heritage.
Make sense to you? Or total BS?
BTW what this implies -- IF true -- is that inverse would also would be true. European-Americans might be well-served from partaking in drugs such as peyote, marijuana, tobacco as those are unlikely to have been present in their evolutionary history. Maybe they should stick to alcohol...
The answers are devolving into a discussion about how the Amerindians suffered terribly (to say the very least) at the hands of European colonists. This is without question: true and lamentable.
However, this is not the topic of the question. The question is, can one create a meta-rule about recreational drugs and people's heritages such that it leads to better outcomes?!
and flip to page 83.
Forget your point. "Man, these folks should be doing peyote or whatever drug it was they were doing before the Europeans showed up". As a Tribal member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, born and raised on the Pine Ridge NDN Reservation, I would just like to say that the above is an insensitive and ignorant statement. Given the source, I am in no way surprised.
I read somewhere that alcoholism that appears to be from a genetic predisposition can often be attributed to a change in diet from a fish based diet to a diet that lacks omega 3 fatty acids. This is why alcoholism pops up in large numbers among tribal and coastal populations.
I just found an article about the alcoholism & Omega 3 link, but it doesn't go into the genetic factors. http://www.findnutritionsupplements.com/the-relationship-between-alcoholism-and-omega-3/
I'm much more inclined to believe that alcoholism is a nutritional problem, rather than a compensation for the decrease in ritual uses of mind altering plants.
The issue with this question is it seems very, very broad and generalized. The fact of the matter is that not all substances are equally powerfully acting on the system, nor necessarily similar in which system they act upon mainly, potentially allowing far vaster tolerances for across the board for some things. Also, chronic use is very, very different from occasional use.
I see a couple of logical holes.
Those who come from a lineage whereby foreigners have stolen their land drink more. Makes sense. I'm betting that is more of an issue of low income and cultural confusion, which can be tied directly to the aforementioned subjugation/annexation by The Man.
Second, recreational drugs differ greatly in their effects. Plus, many cultural practices are not directly tied to a survival advantage. Fijians drink their kava kava after work because it is totally relaxing, not so addictive, and rarely has major (liver) side effects. In other contexts, alcohol is a good way to let lose. Food in and of itself is often drug-like in effects. Back in the day, the internet and supermarkets weren't around to tell you if a mushroom would be good in a salad or would make you feel manic.
It is tough to make a meta-rule about drugs. If someone asked a paleohacker to make a meta-rule about fruits and vegetables (which are safe to eat and in what amounts), it would be difficult to do without jumping to over to pubmed. The same train of thought may apply here.
Mostly, I cannot believe that the stealing of America and Hawaii is not a bigger deal. Middle school kids should have to read little-kid versions of "A People's History of the United States".
Interesting......concept about environment over homeostasis.....I think the organism can go either way based upon it's current organization. And that milleu is in constant flux depending upon what you to yourself nano second by nano second
the stoned ape "theory", well really the stoned ape practice is very valid and doesn't have much to do with heritage. i think a lot of modern people strapped to their NSAIDS and MAO inhibitors would benefit greatly from ayahuasca experiences, regardless of their lily-whiteness. <--- supposedly-civilized & over-domesticated first-world people, regardless of race (but mostly of Caucasian descent)
I am suggesting, that maybe, those plants have been used for so long, that certain populations have evolved to better tolerate their use. – Patrik♦ May 4 at 16:46
How long does it take for a group of to evolve to tolerate something or to have a special genetic niche? The technical answer is a long f'ing time. My brain is pretty tired so perhaps I'm simplifying this too much. I'm sure someone will correct me if I am. To really evolve to handle something wouldn't that mean that over the past 20,000 years or however long, this input or X factor would have killed off the folks who couldn't handle it leaving the other folks who could. The 'survivors' would then breed and produce a new generation more likely to survive and breed again. I just really don't think evolution is subtle enough to evolve in the way that you are asking about.
On the other hand, I think there might be specialized gut bacteria (or lack thereof) that is passed from parents to child that might enable the next generation to 'survive' or even thrive where other groups of people would not. This could be developed over time but a much shorter timeframe than evolutionary change.
Like I said, brain is wicked tired. Sorry if this is gibberish.
Drugs and their influence is only a small part of the equation.
I grew up near a Rez as a kid and I would say a quarter of my friends were Natives (I can only claim a small bit of ancestry from my G-Grandmother), and I hate to make a generalization, but the working poor diet on the Rez is absolutely horrid (Even when compared to the Southern US "working poor" diet). Of all my friends, all of them had obese parents, and most but one or two had both parents who were obese.
Native foods, local game and gathered vegetation is eaten quite often for special occasions, but unfortunately still in conjunction with modern processed foods. One summer I worked in a plastics factory on the outskirts of a reservation with a couple of my now-grown Native friends. Packaged pies (or Lil' Debbie snack cakes) and coffee seemed to be the "Breakfast of Champions" and canned/potted meats with saltines was "lunch". Every night, we went to the bar for domestic draft happy hours, where bar food (burgers, fried pickles, etc) was dinner. Many of these guys were thin, but Type 2 diabetics (we were all between 19 and 25 years old).
Chicken or Egg? I have found in my own life and minor bouts with Alcoholism that proper nutrition plays a major role in energy and outlook, which in turn effectively combats addiction... regardless of "drug preference". I know you can more effectively solve problems of addiction by improving ANY person's diet and lifestyle, over a wild stab at genetics.
I see that statement as an over-simplification of a much larger problem in the First Nations communities (First Nations in Canada). I see the problem as more sociological rather than genetic. Nurture rather than nature.