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    Clinical Use of Ayahuasca in Brazil


    Ritual use of hallucinogens and psychedelic medicine: Articulations around the clinical use of ayahuasca in Brazil

    Genís Oña

    Quaderns de l’Institut Català d’Antropologia



    About the study

    This study explores the articulations between the ritual use of ayahuasca by Indigenous and religious communities, the scientific interest in its therapeutic effects and the hegemonic psychotherapeutic models built around hallucinogens.

    It highlights that the Brazilian clinical approach is particularly interesting because it does not rely on psychotherapeutic orientations or techniques to direct the subjective experience. Instead, it relies on the healing power of ayahuasca itself and on the social integration of the users.

    Finally, the author discusses the complex crossroads between cultural rights, individual rights and health rights in relation to the use of ayahuasca, raising some ethical, legal and political challenges for its regulation.



    There is currently a renewed academic interest in hallucinogenic drugs such as psilocybin or ayahuasca. The clinical use of hallucinogens has been accompanied by psychotherapeutic models that address their subjective effects. The clinical approach developed in Brazil is particularly interesting, since it does not have psychotherapeutic orientations or techniques of directionality of the subjective experience. This text discusses the complex crossroads that crystallize in Brazil and that occur between the use of ayahuasca in clinical settings, its use by Indigenous communities and religions, the relationships between these communities and the general Brazilian population, and the hegemonic therapeutic models built around hallucinogens.


    Link to the study


    Contact ICEERS Research team



    Photo by Guto de Lima on Flickr.


    Categories: Studies & papers , Ayahuasca
    Tags: ayahuasca , scientific research , study , psychedelics , psychedelic therapy , Brazil , psychotherapeutic processes