Traditionally, entheogens were typically derived from plant sources and most do not create drug dependency. Today, synthetic substances are available that have similar properties.
Entheogens have been used in religious and spiritual rituals for thousands of years – from Asia to the Americas. Vajrayana (a form of Tantric Buddhism) has had a well-documented tradition – albeit not widespread – of the use of entheogens, particularly datura and cannabis. In Hinduism, both cannabis and, to a lesser extent, the potent datura have been used in religious practices.
The Vedas (a large body of Hindu texts) mentions an ancient drink called soma, which is believed to have had entheogenic properties; although, its exact composition is unknown. The drink, prepared by sages and yogis, was believed to open neural pathways and facilitate spiritual visions, insight and communion with the Divine. It was also believed to heal the body.