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1960s / Bananadine Hoax 1967
Bananadine is a fictional psychoactive substance which is supposedly extracted from banana peels. A hoax recipe for its extraction from banana peels was originally published in the Berkeley Barb in March 1967. It became more widely known when William Powell, believing it to be true, reproduced the method in The Anarchist Cookbook in 1970. The original hoax was designed to raise questions about the ethics of making psychoactive drugs illegal and prosecuting those who took them: 'What if the common banana contained psychoactive properties, how would the government react?" One book of one-liner joke comics, published in 1971, contained a comic in which a teen is secretly handing bunches of bananas to a zoo gorilla at night, uttering the line, 'Just throw the skins back, man!' Researchers at New York University have found that banana peel contains no intoxicating chemicals, and that smoking it produces only a placebo effect. Over the years, there has been considerable speculation regarding the psychoactive properties of banana skins. Donovan's hit single Mellow Yellow was released a few months prior to the Berkeley Barb article, and in the popular culture of the era, the song was assumed to be about smoking banana peels. Shortly after the 'Berkeley Barb' and the song, bananadine was featured in the New York Times.