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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Volunteers freaked out

September 15, 2016

An ayahuasca church in Florida is shutting down after receiving a letter from the DEA asking them to ask permission before continuing. The center, SoulQuest, has hired a lawyer, and a Florida TV news team's "legal analyst" said the shutdown of SoulQuest was probably temporary. "The DEA is gonna keep this church under a microscope, but as long as they follow the rules and regulations, they should be back in business," he said.

 

There were reports of two deaths, during or after ayahuasca ceremonies in Peru and Kentucky. Both decedents were surprisingly young: both 33 years old. The Peruvian police detained the proprietor. The Kentucky authorities are investigating.

 

Meanwhile, Americans are so desperate for ayahuasca shamans they're advertising for them on craigslist. AyaMundo and AyaAdvisors are good resources. Otherwise it's often word of mouth. Or you can make your own with supplies off the Internet.

 

Researchers are stretching out DMT trips by carefully metering the amounts in the IV. DMT is the trippy component of ayahuasca, and a natural part of your brain. This technique is promising for studies, although successful attempts by a German team resulted in "a number of freaked-out volunteers," said Vice.


In the media, the usual news stories were everywhere — "Can a crazy drug actually help?" — as the BBC asked whether aya can help you find god, the Dallas Observer marveled that such a hippie thing has come to Texas, FoxNews Latino reported that it's big business in the Amazon, NewTropic asked if it's a viable alternative medicine, and the Wall Street Journal talked to PTSD sufferers who've found relief. The New Yorker was more in-depth and more enthusiastic in "The Drug of Choice for the Age of Kale." The reporter wrote "If cocaine expressed and amplified the speedy, greedy ethos of the nineteen-eighties, ayahuasca reflects our present moment."

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AyaNews: Ayahuasca improves mindfulness

June 24, 2018

End-of-the-world "preppers" do ayahuasca, too

January 4, 2018

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