is a detailed catalogue of drugs consulted by recreational users as well as toxicologists. In our annual Tech Issue, Emily Witt speaks to the founders of the twenty-year-old site about how they’ve gathered so much information on (often illegal) psychoactive substances:
  1. It contains profiles of more than three hundred and fifty psychoactive substances, from caffeine to methamphetamine.
  2. Its name means, roughly, “earth wisdom.” It was coined with assistance from a dictionary of Indo-European roots.
  3. The site's founders go by the names Earth and Fire. The early Internet pioneers are a couple who live together in California.
  4. Earth and Fire themselves are not heavy drug users. One reason they haven’t tried opiates, Fire says, is that “Erowid’s legacy would take a nosedive” if one of them were to die of an overdose.
  5. Last year, the site had at least seventeen million unique visitors.
  6. In February, Reddit users deemed it the fourth-most-worthy nonprofit out of more than eight thousand candidates—ahead of NPR—and granted the site a donation of more than eighty thousand dollars.
  7. It’s not only a catalogue of drugs. You can read about drum circles in the “Mind & Spirit” section, and about Jerry Garcia in “Culture & Art.”