AUG 20, 2016 06:10 PM PDT
Your Brain On Ayahuasca: The Hallucinogenic Drug
WRITTEN BY: Julianne Chiaet
4 1 619

About two years ago, a friend told me she was going on an ayahuasca retreat in Peru. She mentioned frog venom, shamans, and the hope of a life-changing experience - but, ultimately, I did not understand what she was talking about. Fast forward two years and I've been hearing about the drug more than ever. While it has been used for hundreds of years in South America, it has only recently gained traction in the U.S. as a mainstream hallucinogenic.

Ayahuasca is a brew made from psychotria viridis leaves and banisteriopsis caapi vines. The leaves contain DMT, which has a similar structure to the neurotransmitter serotonin. The vines inhibit your gut enzymes from deactivating the DMT, thus allowing the compound to travel within your blood stream.

Those who choose to drink ayahuasca often do so in order to reconcile with their thoughts and emotions. Many people report feeling more at ease with their emotions and thoughts; as well as having improved symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trauma disorders.

There isn't enough data on the drug to be considered safe or effective in treating mental illness. After drinking the brew, most experience violent retching and/or diarrhea. This is due to the brew's extreme acidity.

On a lighter note, unlike cocaine and alcohol, the drug does not create a tolerance.

Sources: ASAP Science via YouTube, ayahuasca.com, erowid.org
About the Author
  • Julianne (@JuliChiaet) covers health and medicine for LabRoots. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, Scientific American, and MailOnline. While primarily a science journalist, she has also covered culture and Japanese organized crime. She is the New York Board Representative for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). • To read more of her writing, or to send her a message, go to Jchiaet.com
You May Also Like
MAY 05, 2018
Videos
MAY 05, 2018
LED Farming: New Method of Growing Crops
Plants use all the visible wavelengths lights for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a plant's physiological process where carbon dioxide and water is conve
MAY 09, 2018
Videos
MAY 09, 2018
Footage From NASA's InSight Launch
In case you missed it, NASA launched the InSight mission to Mars from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on May 5th. It was the first interplanetary m
MAY 13, 2018
Videos
MAY 13, 2018
What Might Hearing From Aliens Actually Sound Like?
Astronomers have long-theorized about the presence of intelligent alien life elsewhere in the universe, but humankind has yet to discover it anywhere offic
JUN 06, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUN 06, 2018
The Mechanism Behind Air Vortex Cannons
You probably have seen smoke rings blown by cigarette smokers or bubble rings from playful dolphins. But do you know that they are closely related to each
JUN 08, 2018
Videos
JUN 08, 2018
Video: Paper Made From What?
This eco-friendly paper is sourced from poop.
JUN 11, 2018
Videos
JUN 11, 2018
This is What Happens to the Body After Death
Death can be a taboo topic that most people don’t like discussing, but there’s undoubtedly a scientific interest in what happens to the body af
Loading Comments...