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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.

But before that, let me announce that other than the writing I also make rapé pipes. You can check my kuripe shop on Etsy if you feel: I put a lot of love in it.

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
    Reply
    Author
    Ashlie Lopez

    Hi,

    I’m a long time reader.

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    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.

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    Ashlie Lopez

    • arambol
      Reply
      Author
      arambol

      May be interested. Any idea?

  • Geoffrey
    Reply
    Author
    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
      Reply
      Author
      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
    Reply
    Author
    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

  • Brandon Somaya
    Reply
    Author
    Brandon Somaya

    I am a long time nicotine user. Rapè is teaching me the power of tobacco and ceremony. Freeing me from my own chains. What wise teachers the plants are.

    Four Visions Market is my source of rapè, and their Kuripes/tepis come from the Yawinawa and Nunu tribes, as well as their blends.

  • Alfie Meneses
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    Author
    Alfie Meneses

    Hello, I came across this article because I have a close friend and roommate who uses rapé ceremonially. Before rapé, my friend had a heavy use of marijuana. This was heightened at the start of the pandemic in America and after losing his job. He then discovered DMT, which led to a spiritual awakening and he began a path that included breaking his use on marijuana completely. He started attenting bufo and kambo ceremonies. He found a new love for the plant medicine that he wanted to start a journey towards becoming a shaman and leader and server of plant medicine. Enter rapé. When he first started using rapé, it started as a once a day thing, but then his frequency of it started to increase to sometimes 4 or 5 times a day. Eventually he started serving rapé to friends within our circle and yoga community, without going through any formal training or without the guidance of an established shaman. Then some life things happened. His girlfriend who was on a similar spiritual path aside him broke up with him and His car which was deteriorating for some time broke down completely. His use of rapé continued but he then reintroduced marijuana into his life and added in mushrooms. He spends his days now just doing medicine (by himself and with others), and sleeping and playing video games in the living room. At 41, He’s not actively doing anything that will get him to his original quest to become a shaman with the exception of having friends over for rapé, mushroom, and marijuana ceremonies, he’s not taking care of financial obligations like bills and his car, and he’s become neglectful of his own dog and about his joint custody of his 13 year old daughter.

    Now I myself do not take the medicine; in my own journey and how I’m trying to integrate my own spiritual path through yoga and meditation, I’m not feeling called to the medicine yet. Maybe there is where I don’t necessarily have an understanding of the ceremonial and intention use of the medicine. But what about the balance of taking the medicine to connect with divinity and applying and integrating it to everyday modern life? As someone who is just simply able to observe day to day my friend and is becoming emotional affected by it, how do I decipher between someone who is just doing ceremony and someone who is slowly falling apart and holding on to the medicine to cope?

    • arambol
      Reply
      Author
      arambol

      Hi Alfie.
      It looks like your friend is overdoing rapé. I myself do it less than daily.
      Rapé contains a lot of nicotine and can create dependency.