Erowid is an online library of information about psychoactive plants and chemicals and other topics on altered states of consciousness such as meditation and lucid dreaming. It provides information about legal and illegal substances, including their desired and adverse effects. The site is organized by substance, ranging from well-known substances like alcohol, to obscure ones such as Bromo-DragonFLY (a hallacuinogen only slightly less potent than LSD, but which lasts for several days).
The information on the site is gathered from diverse sources including published literature, experts in related fields, and the experiences of the general public. Erowid acts as a publisher of new information as well as a library for the collection of documents and images published elsewhere.
Fire Erowid and Earth Erowid are the pseudonyms of the two creators of the site. Both work full-time on the project, along with speaking at conferences, producing original research, and contributing to entheogenic research. According to the site, the creators’ vision includes creating a ‘world where people treat psychoactives with respect and awareness; where people work together to collect and share knowledge in ways that strengthen their understanding of themselves and provide insight into the complex choices faced by individuals and societies alike.’ Erowid Center’s mission is to archive and disseminate independent accurate information.
Erowid was founded in 1995, and the Erowid.org website appeared six months later. The name was chosen to reflect the organization’s stated philosophy of education. Using Proto-Indo-European linguistic roots, ‘Erowid’ roughly translates into ‘Earth Wisdom.’ Since 2008, it has operated as a non-profit educational organization supported by donations (its website is free of advertisements). Although its primary focus is on the website, Erowid also provides research and data for other harm reduction, health, and educational organizations. The organization is based in Northern California and the main servers are located in San Francisco.
The library contains over 59,000 documents related to psychoactives, including images, research summaries and abstracts, faqs, media articles, experience reports, information on chemistry, dosage, effects, law, health, traditional and spiritual use, and drug testing. Erowid allows site visitors to submit descriptions of their own personal experiences with psychoactive substances for review and possible publication. The site states that they welcome all perspectives regarding personal psychoactive experience, including positive, negative and neutral. Their collection consists of more than 20,000 edited, reviewed, and published reports. Another 40,000 unpublished reports are undergoing review.
Erowid also co-sponsors and manages EcstasyData.org, an American street-ecstasy testing project. Tablets of street ecstasy can be anonymously submitted to a DEA licensed laboratory for testing and then photos of the tablets and GC/MS test results are published on the project’s website. EcstasyData has published testing results for more than 1,000 tablets. Testing costs have sometimes been covered by project funding (when available) and at other times are covered by those who submit tablets for testing. Erowid took over management of this project in 2001 and co-sponsors it along with MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) and DanceSafe.