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    ayahuasca public health study jungle ICEERS

    Ayahuasca and Public Health


    Ayahuasca and public health: health status, psychosocial well-being, lifestyle, and coping strategies in a large sample of ritual ayahuasca users

    Genís Oña, Maja Kohek, Tomàs Massaguer, Alfred Gomariz, Daniel F. Jiménez, Rafael G. dos Santos, Jaime E. C. Hallak, Miguel Ángel Alcåzar-Córcoles, and José Carlos Bouso.

    Journal of Psychoactive Drugs



    About the study

    This article presents the results of a face-to-face assessment of health and psychosocial well-being, lifestyle, and coping strategies among a large sample of Spanish ritualistic ayahuasca users, using public-health-based indicators.

    This study involved a sample of 380 (47% women) long-term ritualistic ayahuasca users in Spain who had used ayahuasca in a ritual communitarian context for more than six months before the assessment. This is the first study to assess regular ayahuasca users from a communitarian public health perspective.

    The participants had high levels of general, mental, and positive health, and showed excellent levels in terms of adjustment and coping strategies, in addition to having healthy life-style habits. Consequently, the authors assert that a respectful and controlled use of hallucinogenic/psychedelic drugs taken in communitarian settings can be incorporated into modern society with potential benefits for public health.



    Background: Assessing the health status of ayahuasca users has been challenging due to the limitations involved in randomized clinical trials and psychometric approaches. The main objective of this study is the implementation of an approach based on public health indicators.

    Methods: We developed a self-administered questionnaire that was administered to long-term ayahuasca users around Spain. The questionnaire was administrated face-to-face to participants (n = 380) in places where ayahuasca ceremonies were occurring. Public health indicators were compared with Spanish normative data, and intergroup analyses were conducted.

    Results: Long-term ayahuasca use was associated with higher positive perception of health or with a healthy lifestyle, among other outcomes. Fifty-six percent of the sample reported reducing their use of prescription drugs due to ayahuasca use. Participants who used ayahuasca more than 100 times scored higher in personal values measures.

    Conclusions: The main conclusion of this study is that a respectful and controlled use of hallucinogenic/psychedelic drugs taken in communitarian settings can be incorporated into modern society with benefits for public health. This new approach, based on the use of health indicators that were not used in previous ayahuasca studies, offers relevant information about the impact of long-term exposure to ayahuasca on public health.


    Link to the article


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    Photo by Chris Abney on Unsplash.

    Categories: Studies & papers , Ayahuasca
    Tags: ayahuasca , scientific research , study , health , psychedelics , community , hallucinogens , public health , ritual