October 3, 2023

Is Ayahuasca Safe? A New Study Analyzes the South American Traditional Medicine

Ayahuasca is a plant-based psychedelic substance generally utilized in indigenous Amazonian shamanic practices. It is typically brewed into a tea and consumed throughout a ritualistic session led by a skilled facilitator or shaman.
According to the Global Ayahuasca Survey, 70% of participants reported experiencing physical unfavorable effects and 55% reported experiencing psychological health negative results. However, only 2.3% of respondents who experienced physical unfavorable events required medical attention.
According to a brand-new research study published in PLOS Global Public Health, making use of the plant-based psychedelic substance ayahuasca is connected with a high rate of unfavorable physical effects and difficult psychological effects. However, these results are generally not serious.
The study, performed by Daniel Perkins of the University of Melbourne and coworkers, is one of the couple of to examine the negative results of ayahuasca, which is a conventional South American medication and ceremonial drink that is getting appeal for its possible psychological health benefits and personal and spiritual development homes. Despite scientific trials and observational research studies demonstrating the possible advantages of ayahuasca, there is an absence of research on the unfavorable effects of ayahuasca..

In the brand-new research study, the scientists utilized data from an online Global Ayahuasca survey performed between 2017 and 2019, including 10,836 individuals from more than 50 countries who were at least 18 years old and had actually utilized ayahuasca a minimum of as soon as. Info on participants age, physical and psychological health, and history and context of ayahuasca use was gathered.
Preparation of ayahuasca (from B. caapi and P. viridis). Credit: Daniel Perkins, CC-BY 4.0.
In general, severe physical health unfavorable effects were reported by 69.9% of the sample, with the most common impacts being vomiting and nausea (68.2% of individuals), headache (17.8%), and stomach pain (12.8%). Only 2.3% of participants reported physical adverse occasions needed medical attention for this issue. Among all individuals, 55% also reported adverse mental health impacts, consisting of hearing or seeing things (28.5%), feeling detached or alone (21.0%), and having nightmares or troubling ideas (19.2%). Of all respondents identifying these mental health results, 87.6% thought they were entirely or rather part of a positive growth process.
The scientists likewise determined several aspects that incline people to unfavorable physical events, consisting of older age, having a physical health condition or compound utilize condition, life time ayahuasca usage, and taking ayahuasca in a non-supervised context.
The authors make the observation that ayahuasca has significant, although seldom serious, negative effects according to the requirements utilized for assessing prescription medicines. Because sense, they mention that ayahuasca practices can hardly be examined with the exact same criteria used for prescription medications considering that the myriad of its results includes challenging experiences that are intrinsic to the experience, some of which are considered as part of its recovery process.
The authors add: “Many are relying on ayahuasca due to disenchantment with standard Western mental health treatments, however, the disruptive power of this standard medication should not be undervalued, commonly resulting in mental health or emotional challenges during assimilation. While these are generally transitory and viewed as part of a helpful growth procedure, risks are greater for vulnerable people or when used in unsupportive contexts.”.
Reference: “Adverse effects of ayahuasca: Results from the Global Ayahuasca Survey” by José Carlos Bouso, Óscar Andión, Jerome J. Sarris, Milan Scheidegger, Luís Fernando Tófoli, Emérita Sátiro Opaleye, Violeta Schubert and Daniel Perkins, 16 November 2022, PLOS Global Public Health.DOI: 10.1371/ journal.pgph.0000438.

Overall, acute physical health adverse impacts were reported by 69.9% of the sample, with the most typical impacts being vomiting and nausea (68.2% of participants), headache (17.8%), and stomach discomfort (12.8%). Only 2.3% of individuals reported physical unfavorable events needed medical attention for this concern. Among all participants, 55% likewise reported negative mental health results, consisting of hearing or seeing things (28.5%), feeling disconnected or alone (21.0%), and having nightmares or troubling ideas (19.2%). Of all respondents identifying these psychological health results, 87.6% thought they were entirely or somewhat part of a positive development procedure.