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There is a question I’ve continuously been asking myself since the beginning of my experiences with the shamanic snuff tobacco: is rapé addictive?

See also: what is rapé, the shamanic snuff tobacco from the Amazon?

Now that I’m leaving Arambol to spend the summer in North India, it’s a good moment to recapitulate everything I learned about it through my first-hand experience, aside from the scientific evidence I managed to collect and what I’ve been told by people who took rapé for years in many different countries.

I will start with some basic scientific evidence, and move to real-life experiences further on.

A little introduction about rapé

I take for granted here that you already know about rapé. If you don’t, you can read my essay about What is Rapé, and about the two applicators used to administer it: the tepi pipe and the kuripe.

Is rapé addictive? Scientific evidence

Let me put it this way: no matter how shamanic you wanna be, no matter how anti-establishment you are, there is an undeniable fact here. The main ingredient of rapé is tobacco. Actually, a particular kind of tobacco called nicotiana rustica, known to contain about 20 times the amount of nicotine usually found in regular tobacco.

See also: 10 things you should know about Kuripe, the pipe to take rapé on your own

Nicotine is an addictive substance. When smoked or inhaled, it releases dopamine in the brain and produces reinforcement: it teaches the brain to repeat the same action over and over.

But what about the other ingredients of rapé? The indigenous people who make it mix tobacco with various medicinal plants, such as mint, clover, tonka beans, banana peels and cinnamon.

Nothing wrong with mint, cinnamon, clover or banana. As for Tonka beans, they are considered toxic, but they are not known to be addictive.

Some rapé recipes also include other ingredients such as anadenanthera and jurema. In some cases even the powerful datura. We are talking about psychedelics here. But are psychedelics addictive? No, they are not.

So, is rapé addictive? Yes, it is addictive because it contains a lot of nicotine. But this is only one side of the story.

Addiction is strictly connected to the way we consume a substance. And from this point of view, it will be wrong to compare smoking cigarettes and taking rapé.

Let’s talk about my personal experience now.

Is it possible to develop an addiction to the shamanic snuff tobacco? – First-hand experiences

is rapé addictive? scientific evidence and first-hand experiences

I have been taking rapé for about two years now and I don’t think I have developed any dependence whatsoever. Taking rapé is not, at least for me, a repetitive act.

I have been smoking cigarettes for years and I remember very well that smoking had stopped being a choice a long time ago. I lit up cigarettes almost unconsciously, driven by my addiction and not my real desire.

With rapé, it’s a whole other story. Taking rapé is a ceremony. I do it with a specific goal in mind. I always focus on an intention and I follow a ceremonial procedure.

For some time, I took rapé around once a week. Sometimes more frequently. Sometimes less.

Rapé never became an addiction for me because it never turned into an unconscious action.

However, other people had a different take on this topic.

Some people say rapé is addictive

Nando Yanomani recently commented on one of my Facebook posts: “The effects I have seen them in the first hand are nasty and the person after some time got very addicted to it”.

Andrej replied: “[When I was taking rapé] I was always super sick… projectile vomiting… I don’t like it at all… Nice clarity afterward, but too high a price for the minor effect…”.

Most of the people I discussed this topic with have told me that they didn’t notice any signs of addiction after taking rapé, even long after having taken it.

Looking for a good rapé pipe? Here is a list of the best Kuripe on Etsy

But clearly, developing an addition to rapé is a possibility to be taken into consideration.

To sum it up: is rapé addictive? Yes it is because it contains tobacco. On the other hand, the risk of addiction can be greatly reduced by taking the shamanic snuff tobacco not like a habit (like many do with cigarettes and alcohol), but as a ceremony.

What about you? Have you ever taken rapé? Have you experienced any addictive pattern? Please share your experience in the comments below.

  • Ashlie Lopez
    Ashlie Lopez


    I’m a long time reader.

    I’m writing to you because I’d love to contribute a guest post to your website.

    I’ve been brainstorming some topics and I think your readers would get a ton of value from them.
    I’ll make sure the piece is filled with information that can’t be found anywhere else. In exchange, all i expect is a backlink from within the main body of the article.

    Do let me know if you like this proposal and if I can begin sending you some topic ideas.


    Ashlie Lopez

    • arambol

      May be interested. Any idea?

  • Geoffrey

    Thanks for the article! I tried rapé for the first (and only) time about 5 days ago. I have been very interested in it since, and have been looking for a good place to order some online. I’ve been very excited to try it again, and a little anxious because I have no idea what blend I got the first time. That being said, I have almost been unable to stop thinking about it.

    I have never had a very addictive personality, I smoked cigarettes for 6 months and quit cold turkey with no problems (I now smoke about 1-3 cigarettes a year), and I haven’t had any problems with any other drugs that I’ve tried. BUT the amount that I’ve been thinking about rapé and the excitement / emotional response that I have behind the thoughts has made me question the addictive qualities of the snuff.

    After reading your article, and doing a good amount of research I feel like I am at least equally excited for ritual, the prayer, and the journey that I am embarking on as I am for the grounding, focusing, and eye-opening effects of the “high” from the rapé. I will definitely pay attention to my relationship and urges or desires, and will try to comment back if I have any new opinions.

    Thanks again, and if you happen to have any suggestions on the best place to purchase from online, I would love to hear!

    • arambol

      Hey Geoffrey!
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Buying rapé online is a problem. Many sources out there, but crazy prices.
      I live in India most of the year and I buy from local sources.I am also searching for trustable online sources, so I will share my findings here as soon as I get some good one.
      Have a nice one!

  • Aliza

    Yes. I’ve been addicted to rapeh and used it always with respect but way too much. I don’t have any other addictions but am a member of a medicine church for ten years. I’m healthy, happy, productive but over time I went from sometimes to once a day to three times a day to more! I have always stopped for periods but find myself unable to limit my amount.
    I was a smoker in the womb and perhaps that’s why tobacco and I are so close… I love rapeh. It has helped me so much. I do find it difficult to reasonably work with this medicine though