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    Study: Ayahuasca on Mental Health and Quality of Life

    14.09.2021

    Effects of ayahuasca on mental health and quality of life in naïve users: A longitudinal and cross-sectional study combination

    Authors:
    Daniel F. Jiménez-Garrido, María Gómez-Sousa, Genís Oña, Rafael G. dos Santos, Jaime E. C. Hallak, Miguel Ángel Alcázar-Córcoles & José Carlos Bouso.

    Journal:
    Scientific Reports

    Year:
    2020

    About the study

    Since ayahuasca use is expanding worldwide, the aim of this study was to observe the effects of ayahuasca on psychological and mental health variables in naïve users in order to help medical practitioners to understand possible adverse effects and potential therapeutic uses.

    The study was divided into two sub-studies. In the first, 40 ayahuasca-naïve subjects were assessed before using ayahuasca for the first time, and they were followed up with at 1 and 6 months after. In the second, a total of 23 ayahuasca-experienced subjects (10 women) were recruited.

    There was a substantial decrease in psychiatric symptomatology after the first use of ayahuasca, which persisted until the 6-months follow-up, but the most evident improvements were found with regards to depression. 

     

    Abstract

    Background: Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic decoction used as a traditional medicine in several Amazonian regions. The ritualistic use of ayahuasca has spread throughout many countries, making it necessary to study its risks and benefits.

    Methods: Two sub-studies were designed for this investigation. In sub-study 1, a psychiatric interview and a battery of questionnaires were administered to subjects (n = 40) before their first ayahuasca use. Two follow-ups were conducted at 1 and 6 months. In sub-study 2, the same interview and battery of questionnaires were administered to long-term ayahuasca users (n = 23) and their scores were compared with those of the ayahuasca-naïve group. In the first assessment, nearly half (45%) of the naïve users were found to meet the diagnostic criteria for a psychiatric disorder.

    Results: After the ayahuasca use, more than 80% of those subjects showed clinical improvements that persisted at 6 months. The questionnaires showed significant reductions in depression and psychopathology. Regarding sub-study 2, long-term users showed lower depression scores, and higher scores for self-transcendence and quality of life, as compared to their peers in sub-study 1.

    Conclusions: Further controlled and observational naturalistic studies assessing the eventual risks and potential benefits of ayahuasca are warranted.

     

    Link to the article

     
    Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash.

    Categories: Studies & papers , Ayahuasca
    Tags: ayahuasca , scientific research , study , psychedelics , quality of life , hallucinogens , mental health