Actually huge news

May 15, 2017

Ayahuasca is heading down the road to become a prescription drug. The government gave a group of researchers the go-ahead to start phase 1 clinical trials in healthy adults. They'll give aya to people who have treatment-resistant depression, to find out if aya can succeed where Prozac or talk therapy or electroshock therapy have failed. Several studies have suggested that it could. 


Users of ayahuasca and similar drugs don't get hooked on opioids, a study analyzing the National Survey on Drug Use said. This jibes with other stuff we know. HuffPo says this finding could make a dent in the opioid crisis.

An American was found lying in the street asking for help in the Peruvian jungle city of Iquitos after taking aya he got from someone he didn't know.


In "The Psychedelic Miracle" a Rolling Stone author, Mac McClelland, says she stopped being suicidal after drinking ayahuasca. She also lists a half-dozen deep ayahuasca transformations she heard about, total frat douches becoming mini-Gandhis: a guy quit manufacturing weapons to open an art and music residency program, and the inventor of Four Loko (which is basically a crime in a can) asked himself while tripping: "Why are you such a dick?"


The Independent UK interviewed a lawyer who protects people using aya for their religion — although he says some people abuse this fundamental American right. Best quote: "in every 'shaman' there is a 'sham.'"


Some media drew a (probably false) connection between ayahuasca and a twin who murdered his twin.


In Salon, a liberal arts prof says aya gave him compassion for The Donald. And, in a similar vein, the sith lord Darth Vader says ayahuasca helped him make peace with Yoda. (One name for the feeling you get on ayahuasca is "the force." Now we know why.)


Those are the big items I know about this month.


If you're gonzo for this stuff, head to Psychedelic Science 2017 in Oakland April 19-24, which has a whole "plant medicine" track. I'll be there.




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Ayahuasca is a  jungle vine that allows your brain's natural psychedelic, DMT, to persist and affect you. I first encountered it when Karla took me to visit her family in the Amazon nine years ago. Her tribe, the Shipibo, has used it for hundreds, thousand of years, and her mom drank it for stomachaches as a little girl. So it's either children's Tylenol or uber-LSD, or both. But for unknown reasons, it helps depression, drug addiction and acedia — at least it did for me.

Reilly Capps // reporter
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