Erowid, also called Erowid Center, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization that provides information about psychoactive plants and chemicals as well as activities that can produce altered states of consciousness such as meditation and lucid dreaming.
Erowid documents legal and illegal substances, including their intended and adverse effects. Information on Erowid.org 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.
2 Online library,
3.1 Experience Vaults,
3.3 Erowid Extracts,
5 See also,
7 External links,
Erowid was founded in April 1995 as a small business; their website appeared six months later. The name "Erowid" was chosen to reflect the organization's stated philosophy of education. Using Proto-Indo-European linguistic roots, "Erowid" roughly translates into "Earth Wisdom" (er meaning 'earth,' 'exist,' and 'be born' and wid meaning 'knowledge' / 'wisdom' or 'to see'). In 2005, the 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization "Erowid Center" was formed. The organization is supported by donations, and its website is free of advertisements. Although its primary focus is on the website, Erowid Center 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.
Fire Erowid and Earth Erowid are the sobriquets 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 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 provide and facilitate access to objective, accurate, and non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants, chemicals, technologies, and related issues. According to one study, "Erowid is a trusted resource for drug information -- both positive and negative". and Erowid has been extensively cited worldwide by book authors, scientific and medical journals, newspapers, magazines, film makers, radio and TV shows, PhD students, web sites, and other media producers.
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. Over 93,000 people visit the site each day (Nov 2011).
The site generally contains more detail in the pages listed under plants and chemicals than other sections. It does not have comprehensive information about the specific effects of most pharmaceuticals. Such information may appear elsewhere on the site, where one can read about people's individual reactions to various drugs.
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, as well as stating that they have another 40,000 unpublished reports undergoing review.
Erowid also co-sponsors and manages EcstasyData.org, an independent laboratory pill testing program co-sponsored by Erowid and DanceSafe, that monitors quality of American street-ecstasy. Launched in July 2001, its purpose is to collect, manage, review, and present laboratory pill testing results from a variety of organizations. 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. At least one published study uses EcstasyData.org as primary source of data.
Erowid Extracts, the bi-annual members newsletter of Erowid, has been published each year since 2001. It provides updates on the organization's activities, results of surveys conducted on Erowid.org, experience reports, new articles on various aspects of psychedelic and psychoactive plants and drugs, and information about psychedelic culture and events. New issues of Erowid Extracts are sent to members, but past issues are available on the Erowid website.
Due to the subject matter presented on Erowid.org, the site has drawn praise and criticism from both the media and medical officials. American physician and broadcaster Dean Edell often recommends Erowid to listeners interested in learning about drugs and drug use. On the other hand, Edward Boyer, an emergency-room physician and toxicologist, while admitting that Erowid has a plethora of useful information, argued the site may cause more harm than good to potential drug users. "Though Boyer has since come to cautiously admire Earth and Fire, and no longer refers to their site as 'partisan,' he still argues that Erowid minimizes adverse effects and includes too much dodgy - and potentially harmful - data in its quest to present all sides. 'Erowid is so comprehensive, and so much of the information is correct, that unless you're an expert in medical toxicology you may miss the dangerous information that's close to the surface.'" In the context of this debate, anthropologist Nicolas Langlitz argued that Erowid also serves as a mechanism of postmarket surveillance or pharmacovigilance in the realm of illicit and experimental substances.
Erowid.org is currently blocked by Websense filters as "Abused Drugs." It is also blocked by school web-filters Bess, iPrism, Lightspeed(not anymore), and SmartFilter as "Drugs", and by Palo Alto Networks (PAN-DB URL) as "abused-drugs." Also Russia has blocked access to Erowid.