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    ayahuasca cannabidiol CBD social cognition ICEERS study

    Ayahuasca and Cannabidiol in Social Cognition


    Interactive effects of ayahuasca and cannabidiol in social cognition in healthy volunteers: A pilot, proof-of-concept, feasibility, randomized-controlled trial

    Giordano Novak Rossi, Juliana Mendes Rocha, Flávia L. Osório, José Carlos Bouso, Genís Oña, Gabriela de Oliveira Silveira, Mauricio Yonamine, Giuliana Bertozi, Eduardo José Crevelin, Maria Eugênia Queiroz, José Alexandre S. Crippa, Jaime E. Cecílio Hallak, and Rafael G. dos Santos.

    Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology



    About the study

    This study explores the potential therapeutic effects of ayahuasca and cannabidiol on social cognition and interactions. Ayahuasca, a psychedelic brew containing DMT, is being researched for the treatment of mental illnesses, while CBD, derived from cannabis, has shown anxiolytic and antipsychotic properties.

    The research evaluates the impact of ayahuasca and CBD on recognition of emotions and empathy in healthy volunteers, as well as subjective effects, plasma levels of ayahuasca alkaloids, and safety. The hypotheses include a reduction in recognition of negative emotions after ayahuasca, potential alteration by CBD, a reduction in anxious feelings after ayahuasca, and a greater anxiolytic effect in the group that received both drugs compared to the placebo and ayahuasca group.

    The results showed that both ayahuasca alone and ayahuasca combined with CBD improved emotional processing by reducing reaction times for emotion recognition and empathy. The treatments also exhibited anxiolytic effects, irrespective of the group. In addition, the participants had a positive experience and expressed gratitude for the opportunity. 



    Background: Serotonergic hallucinogens and cannabinoids may alter the recognition of emotions in facial expressions (REFE). Cannabidiol (CBD) attenuates the psychoactive effects of the cannabinoid-1 agonist tetrahydrocannabinol. Ayahuasca is a dimethyltryptamine-containing hallucinogenic decoction. It is unknown if CBD may moderate and attenuate the effects of ayahuasca on REFE.

    Procedures: Seventeen healthy volunteers participated in a 1-week preliminary parallel-arm, randomized controlled trial for 18 months. Volunteers received a placebo or 600 mg of oral CBD followed by oral ayahuasca (1 mL/kg) 90 minutes later. Primary outcomes included REFE and empathy tasks (coprimary outcome). Tasks were performed at baseline and 6.5 hours, 1 and 7 days after the interventions. Secondary outcome measures included subjective effects, tolerability, and biochemical assessments.

    Results: Significant reductions (all P values <0.05) only in reaction times were observed in the 2 tasks in both groups, without between-group differences. Furthermore, significant reductions in anxiety, sedation, cognitive deterioration, and discomfort were observed in both groups, without between-group differences. Ayahuasca, with or without CBD, was well tolerated, producing mainly nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort. No clinically significant effects were observed on cardiovascular measurements and liver enzymes.

    Conclusions: There was no evidence of interactive effects between ayahuasca and CBD. The safety of separate and concomitant drug intake suggests that both drugs could be applied to clinical populations with anxiety disorders and in further trials with larger samples to confirm findings.


    Link to the study


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    Categories: Studies & papers , Ayahuasca , Cannabis , Psychedelics
    Tags: ayahuasca , scientific research , study , safety , CBD , psychoactive , psychedelics , psychoactive plants , hallucinogens , mental health , social cognition , facial expressions , integration