New study compiles the experiences of 8,629 ayahuasca users from 40 different countries, and results are very promising for the future of psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Consuming ayahuasca in a natural, ceremonial setting can bring about such a profound spiritual awakening for some individuals that they have dramatically reduced their alcohol and drug use.
According to a large international cross-sectional study published this week in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, this reduction in substance consumption was also significantly notable among those with a history of substance abuse, suggesting the psychedelic brew may be helpful in treating those with drug or alcohol addiction.
Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew made from the ayahuasca vine and other plants indigenous South American, specifically the Amazon basin. It is often used ceremonially by shamans to open up communication with nature. The primary psychoactive ingredient is the compound N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), known as the “spirit molecule” due to the intense psychedelic experience it evokes. Celebrities including Megan Fox, Lamar Odom, and Miley Cyrus, have publicly shared their spiritual and healing experiences after participating in ceremonies, propelling the ancient medicine to more mainstream awareness.
The new study compiled the experiences of 8,629 ayahuasca users from 40 different countries. Slightly more than half were male, and the average age of participants was 40 years. Researchers also took into account participants' current use of alcohol and other drugs as well as their church or community membership. In summary, the researchers found that individuals who had consumed ayahuasca most regularly were less likely to use alcohol or drugs.
“The number of times ayahuasca had been consumed was strongly associated with increased odds of never or rarely drinking alcohol, never or rarely engaging in ‘risky drinking' and having not consumed a range of drugs in the past month, with these effects greater for those with a prior substance use disorder compared to those without,” researchers reported.
Researchers concluded, “The strength of ayahuasca drinkers’ subjective spiritual experience, number of personal self-insights obtained, and drinking ayahuasca with an ayahuasca church were also associated with lower substance use in some models.”