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Is rapé addictive? (scientific evidence, first-hand experiences)

is rapé addictive?

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

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. Click here if you want a wider explanation of the effects of rapé.

But before that, let me announce that other than the writing I have started to sell two unique blends of rapé produced in Goa with traditional methods. You can buy rapé here if you feel: it is made with love and intention, and it is getting more and more popular among the spiritual community.

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, is known to contain about 20 times the amount of nicotine usually found in regular tobacco.

The level of nicotine can vary depending on the rapé blends you are using.

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 shamanic snuff tobacco? – First-hand experiences

is rapé addictive scientific evidences

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.

Is rapé addictive? Some say it is

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 as 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 patterns? Please share your experience in the comments below.

14 thoughts on “Is rapé addictive? (scientific evidence, first-hand experiences)”

  1. 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!

    1. 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!

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

    1. 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.

  5. Hello, I have discovered Rape after a reasonably long term marijuana dependency. I find it very grounding, it seems to help with an anger management issue that I have and it brings great clarity. I have, however, begun to use it 3+ times daily. It’s quite magical. I can see that I am forming a dependency. Kind regards

  6. I have most definitely formed a habit with rapé :/ yes I do it very ceremonial and intention based but over 2 years I have used nearly every day and have regularly done 3 times a day. As for physical dependence there is none as I have travelled without Rapé for a week or more and there is no need but at home I struggle not to have it everyday to quick shift emotions or just some clarity or silence the monkey mind – but I feel I now need to stop which I’m finding to be tough :/

  7. I fell in love with Rapeh while using it with Ayahuasca regularly while in Bahia Brazil. I began using it ceremonially daily to several times daily. I was in Costa Rica 3.5 months ago and developed acute sinusutis and rhinitis that the rapé seemed to exacerbate.Needless to say, I had to stop using my beloved medicine and the same issues continue months later after I stopped. Afraid I overused

  8. I am addicted to it and have an addictive personality. I have been using it daily for a year and a half and use it so many times throughout the day I can’t count. I am trying to stop right now.

  9. I am addicted to it and have an addictive personality. I have been using it daily for a year and a half and use it so many times throughout the day I can’t count. I am trying to stop right now.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie.
      Yes, if you feel an addiction to it, you might definitely want to reduce, or stop completely.
      Rapé has to be taken in a ceremonial way.

  10. Rapé is highly, highly addictive. I have seen a few relationships dissintegrate because of it, one marriage of close friends of mine almost dissolve because of it, and my own marriage has been hanging on by a thread since my husband became even more addicted to it after using it to cope with the stress of a new job after many years using it less frequently. I have known of a few people who have taken it up to 15 times a day and leave little wads of discolored toilet paper in a trail behind them. One former friend of mine admitted he was so hooked on it that he had to step it back to 2-3 times daily, which he seems to think is a reasonable and modest dose in comparison. Some of the people I’ve known who use it call it “brain glitter” and are extremely proud of their use of it. Of the three other women that I know whose relationships or marriages have been seriously impacted by the snuff, all of them have confirmed what I myself have notice: that Rapé, while initially heart-centered during the initial experience, depletes dopamine sufficiently to exacerbate qualities of defensiveness, reactivity, meanness and general irritability in those who abuse it. This is consistent with how it increases free testosterone in the blood, leading to overall increased hostility and aggression in its users. The denial among the users of this can be particularly strong because it is a psychedellic and used in spiritually oriented settings. However, the way many people are using this is a serious spiritual bybpass, and I believe, an abuse of this medicine. I wish more people were talking about this and I think I’m going to write an article about it. Very few of the articles on the snuff mention anything about addiction. This is disingenuous. The impact Rapé has had on my children’s lives is negative.

    One article to consider is this one by Mineral Shaman. He points out, and rightly so, that westerners, who are generally mineral depleted, may not fare as well using rape as their Amazonian counterparts.

    Please beware of the abuse of this highly addictive substance, Rapé. I have been emailing companies on Etsy that sell Rapé as well, sharing my experience with them. I hope more awareness will be brought to this problem. I do not believe that as long as you do Rapé consciously rather than unsconsciously, you are therefore not addicted. The definition of addiction is whether you can stop or not, and whether it is causing harm.

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