A Guide To Ayahuasca Effects: The Brain, Depression & Rebirth

Ayahuasca is a shamanic medicine originating from the Amazon Rainforest, brewed from a combination of several plants that are legally available. It is associated with rituals and religious ceremonies that are specific to a complete Ayahuasca experience. The immediate effects of the medicine can be felt in about 20-60 minutes after the oral intake, but the intoxication can last on a person for up to 8 hours. Ayahuasca has a broad spectrum of some amazing positive effects on the body, mind and soul, making one feel completely different in every single ceremony.

Here are some of the benefits and effects associated with the medicine explaining why should one try the amazing Ayahuasca Experience.

Ayahuasca Duration
Oral
Total Duration 4 – 8 hrs
Onset 20 – 60 mins
Coming Up 30 – 45 mins
Plateau 1 – 2 hrs
Coming Down 1 – 2 hrs
After Effects 1 – 8 hrs
Hangover / Day After – – –

Positive Effects

  • mild to extreme mood lift, euphoria
  • ego softening / ego loss
  • oceanic feeling of connectedness to the universe
  • feelings of love and empathy
  • a sense of inner peace and acceptance of self, others, and the world
  • profound life-changing spiritual experiences
  • emotional healing / mentally therapeutic
  • claimed physical healing (such as anti-cancer effects)

Neutral Effects

  • sedation
  • strong visions; some typically reported include snakes, big cats, insectoid aliens, female goddesses
  • meaningless visual “noise”
  • auditory hallucinations / sound distortions
  • altered sense of space and time
  • increased likelihood of embracing magical thinking, paranormal ideation

Negative Effects

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, sweats/chills (alternating), and other flu- or food poisoning-like symptoms, much less common after multiple experiences
  • fear and/or paranoia
  • feeling as though one is losing one’s mind
  • feeling as though one is dying
  • disequilibrium, difficulty walking

Ayahuasca General Effects

Ayahuasca is used extensively for healing and religious ceremonies. In recent decades, there is a growing interest in the said substance due to its potential in treating mental disorders like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction.

Ayahuasca users disclosed that the experience was fulfilling and worth it. Most individuals feel that they are free and a better person following their Ayahuasca session. Some were able to quit from doing cocaine and bad habits. Others experienced psychological and spiritual healing with personal insight and integration.

It might sound exaggerated to some who are doubtful to Ayahuasca but yes, there are Ayahuasca users who became more appreciative of life and their family after using the substance. Life and work became easier and enjoyable.

Some felt that they were lost, but came to their senses again after using Ayahuasca. Others felt that they were too consumed with their personal issues, but Ayahuasca awakened them to feel alive again.

Although using Ayahuasca gives you a euphoria there are also side effects that you should watch out for.

In most ayahuasca ceremonies, nausea and vomiting are a common side effect. Some even experience diarrhea. Aside from these, there are obvious physical side effects. Some ayahuasca users experience profuse sweating and shivering. Their heart rate and blood pressure rise. These ayahuasca effects, which are likely due to DMT intoxication, subject one to risks of hypertension, agitations, dizziness and muscular incoordination.

Ayahuasca may also affect one’s emotional state. As some put it, ayahuasca makes one reflect on his experiences and loosen up from his normal way of thinking. It gives one the strength to think about his traumatic past and confront those things that he usually pushes out of his conscious mind. It can stir up your traumatic past and result in distress. It may also heighten one’s fears and result in anxiety and paranoia.

Ayahuasca expert Charles Grob, M.D., warns the use of ayahuasca. “Ayahuasca is not for everyone. You have to be willing to have a very powerful, long, internal experience, which can get very scary.”

How Ayahuasca Affects the Brain

Ayahuasca hyper activates the neocortex, the area of the brain, which we use to reason and decide. Ayahuasca also activates the amygdala the region of the brain where early memories are stored specifically those traumatic and most significant experiences like losing a loved one. Furthermore, Ayahuasca activates insula, which bridges the gap between one’s emotional impulses and decision making.

The traumatic experiences often leave a print on one’s brain and repeated exposure to it strengthens the neural patterns. It’s a shortcut that when one faces a similar event, it is activated. Take, for example, if one was repeatedly abused during his childhood, his fears will come to life when he sees a child being abused. He will react adversely even if the victim is somebody else.

Ayahuasca hyper activates the entire brain where emotional memories are stored and along the process, it also uncovers long and unforgotten memories. Ayahuasca enables the conscious part of the new brain to temporarily override the old pattern. Thus, allowing new connections. The old fears may no longer have the same effect because the memories are re-evaluated.

For this reason, Ayahuasca users developed new perspectives on their past experiences and deeply rooted patterns of behaviors. This is why quitting from bad habits is easier and finding freedom from depression is possible.

Long Terms Effects of Ayahuasca

The short term effect of Ayahuasca may differ for individuals. For some, it could be like in a hell world for eternity. Others think that they encounter their most painful psychological experience during their Ayahuasca session. However, according to Dr.Grob, there is a very limited data about the long-term adverse psychological effect of Ayahuasca.

If we look into its long-term negative effects, a number of studies revealed that Ayahuasca does not have such. A 2012 study examined 127 people who used Ayahuasca at least twice a month for 15 years and compared these individuals to those who have never taken the substance. After a series of interviews and tests, the researchers concluded that there is “no evidence of psychological maladjustment, mental health deterioration or cognitive impairment in the Ayahuasca-using group.”

In fact, Ayahuasca users had lower presence of psychopathological symptoms. They showed lower rates of depression, anxiety, hostility and negative traits. They also performed better on neuropsychological tests and psychosocial adaptations as reflected in their attitudinal traits in Purpose in Life and Subjective Well-Being. They also scored higher in the spiritual orientation inventory which covers nine major components including transcendent dimension, meaning and purpose in life, mission in life, sacredness of life, material values, altruism, idealism, awareness of the tragic and fruits of spirituality. Overall, Ayahuasca users have better general mental health compared to the control group.

For those who fear that Ayahuasca is addictive, your fears have no grounds. Dr. Josep Fabregas co-author of the study of the long term effects of Ayahuasca added that it is not addictive.

Why Take Ayahuasca ?

According to the aforesaid studies, researches and factors, it can be rightly concluded that Ayahuasca brings some wonderful positive impacts to one’s mind and spirits as well as it has its own wonderful effects on the body. The brew could very efficiently help in the treatment your sorrows, fear of mortality and chronic addiction. People with less-defined diagnoses but a hunger for something missing say that Ayahuasca offers something ineffable: compassion, connectedness, spirituality. Ayahuasca has quite a strong impact on the spiritual processes of an individual and facilitates awakening, understanding, healing and the enhancement of spiritual wisdom when used in combination with a healthy life and spiritual practice.

The results and actions may vary from person to person and one must be willing to have a very long, powerful and internal experience when opting for it. Undoubtedly, the medicine can change one’s life and transform them into a whole new individual having new spirits and energy.

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Sources:
https://www.erowid.org/chemicals/ayahuasca/ayahuasca_effects.shtml
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/0603/features/peru.html
http://www.ayahuasca.com/science/the-ayahuasca-effect/
http://www.live.strong.com/article/140204-ayahuasca-side-effects/ http://sabotagetimes.com/life/ayahuasca-the-powerful-mind-altering-drug-thats-back-in-the-headlines http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0042421http://reset.me/study/study-ayahuasca-has-no-long-term-negative-effects/
http://www.beamsandstruts.com/bits-a-pieces/item/750-neuro-huasca

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