Motivation of the study
Scientific evidence available in the published literature about ayahuasca’s psychological
and physiological effects indicates an acceptable risk profile with no abuse potential and
potential benefits in the use for e.g. depression and addiction treatment. However, national
and international drug control bodies, such as the International Narcotics Control Board
(INCB), advocate increasingly for repressive measures to ayahuasca drinking practices,
stating that there is an alarming increase in interest in its recreational use, which according
to several reports implies serious health risks, possibly encouraged by a lack of clarity with
regard to the control status of the plants at the national or the international level. The INCB
recommended in 2010 and again in 2012 that governments ‘take action’ against these
ayahuasca drinking practices where needed.
In this socio-political environment it is crucial to advance scientific knowledge about ayahuasca drinking practices and the increased use in our globalized world, as well as a better understanding on the health implications of ayahuasca, to make sure that political decisions can be taken based on evidences.