When it comes to ayahuasca, the short answer to how often you should trip is “it depends.” The long answer is more complicated and needs some elaborate explanations.
There’s no doubt that the ayahuasca drink offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits—spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical. Some even say a single session is worth more than 200 years of therapy. But how often is too often, or is trying it once enough?
To determine the recommended frequency of ayahuasca, let’s examine what ancient Amazonian cultures, recent scientific research, and personal accounts have to say about using the psychedelic.
And we’re not only looking at how often you should trip for the best therapeutic benefits, but also how much you should drink on each occasion. Let’s get right to it.
Ayahuasca Dosage: Spiritual View
Western cultures are warming up to the spiritual and psychological advantages of drinking ayahuasca, but indigenous South Americans started using it a thousand years ago.
Different tribes have been using it in social and spiritual settings, supervised by experienced shamans and curanderos who know what they’re doing.
These healers can tell us a thing or two about the recommended quantity and frequency of ayahuasca. They infuse the plants expertly and administer the same dose to each participant while guiding them through the ayahuasca realm.
This is why it’s always best to use the medicine supervised because no one knows it like these healers. They often recommend users partake in the ceremony as infrequently as possible because it’s easy to forget that the medicine itself is a tool, not a solution.
While they themselves use it as frequently as possible, they do so to connect with long-lost loved ones and for spiritual guidance. Plus, they’re well-versed in navigating the realm without causing any damage to their psychological health. They even drink it in recreational and social settings.
Their advice to tourists is to marinate on what the Spirits show them before coming back when they feel they need another session of cleansing and healing.
Aside from the original ayahuasca users, we now have churches and spiritual centers dedicated to this entheogenic medicine. Most of these institutions recommend partaking in a ceremony every 6 to 8 weeks. This is to give your system enough time to cleanse and recover from the initial ayahuasca experience.
The aftereffects normally take 3 days and enlightenment comes on the third day.
The first day is likely filled with moments of purging and vomiting so your body is ready for the eye-opening effect of ayahuasca. And to sustain this effect, you’ll need to integrate the teachings into your life immediately so you don’t go back to your old lifestyle, mindset, and habits.
Having an ayahuasca ceremony every 6-8 weeks is advised to constantly purge your system of all spiritual parasites and toxins; see it as keeping on your spiritual toes.
This frequency implies that you’ll always be ready for spiritual clarity and continue directing all your energy to the right places. No matter what happens, you’ll be prepared to face it headstrong and keep your soul detached from negativity.
As for the recommended quantity of ayahuasca, keep in mind that the dosing is very difficult to pinpoint since there are different recipes, and dosing varies greatly.
Supervised ayahuasca ceremonies and retreats often give the first dosage a one-size-fits-all amount of the brew to every participant. Unless you have some severe mental health issue or weren’t prepared for the session, this dose should be safe and effective.
The chance of overdosing on this psychoactive brew is quite low, mostly because it has a strong taste and smell that ensures you take as little as possible. High doses, however, can be extremely disturbing or even deadly.
While no one has died from drinking ayahuasca, some users have pushed it far enough to the disturbing side.
Ayahuasca Dosage: Scientific View
In a 20-people study to figure out the correlation between ayahuasca use and mindfulness, participants were given the drink once a week for 4 weeks straight.
The results were more positive than an 8-week program of MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction).
If you’re interested in the results of this study(1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5869920/, you can read the official article to learn more. What this tells us is that drinking the brew with such frequency didn’t pose any risk to the participants. This further informs our case of how often is too often.
A similar study(2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23627784/ administered an ayahuasca ceremony every 2 days, but this only went on for 4 days. The participants had a 6-month follow up and the therapeutic effects were still present.
In essence, science has shown that drinking ayahuasca every 2 days or once a week is safe and beneficial. The only issue is, these studies were short. We wouldn’t recommend drinking it every 2 days for a month straight; that is probably too often.
While research has proven that the risk of developing tolerance or addiction (3)https://americanaddictioncenters.org/psychedelics/ayahuasca to the psychoactive brew is low, you can still build a behavioral dependence on the effects.
Some users keep coming back again and again for the euphoric kick, which defeats its purpose. The medicine should make you a richer and fuller person, so you can enjoy life without tripping all the time.
Drinking too much or too often can also lead to serious psychotic disorders like HPPD (hallucinogen persisting perception disorder)(4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8385145/ and persistent psychosis.(5) … Continue reading
Ayahuasca Dosage: Personal View
Now, what do regular people have to say about the right ayahuasca dosage based on their personal experiences?
For one, most people agree the answer is unclear. What they recommend is trying it for the first time. Once you take in this experience, you can then define how many more sessions you want, how often, or if you even need any more sessions altogether.
On the other hand, some experienced users suggest partaking in a couple of sessions on your first try. The reasoning here is to dedicate a week to finding yourself with the help of an adequate facilitator.
Prepare your mind and body ahead, set aside a week, and take part in 2 or 3 ceremonies. You’ll need plenty of rest in between these sessions to avoid any distressing situation.
You also want to observe what happens after this week, as you need to stay away from the brew for a while to see what it does to your overall well-being.
Other personal accounts suggest having just one session and never using it again. The idea here is to properly prepare for that one ayahuasca session and refrain from worrying about any more sessions.
It may be detrimental to concern yourself with having more than one before you even have your first session. When one can be enough, it’s better to gun for that. Many people report partaking in one retreat and using the lessons from that throughout their life, without needing to try it again.
Nonetheless, a handful of users claim to have drunk the brew dozens of times. You’ll find psychedelic enthusiasts who’ve taken part in over a hundred ceremonies, and they claim to have more spiritual and psychological clarity with each ceremony. None reported having persistent psychosis or HPPD.
Now, having your first session with an experienced and reputable guide, psychotherapist, shaman, curandero, or facilitator is one recurring theme in all personal accounts we examined. Please, be vigilant about who you pick as this will determine the quantity (and maybe even the frequency afterward).
Ayahuasca may be a powerful psychedelic but using too much of it can cause some real damage. Drinking it too often can also have some major drawbacks.
All these points remind us that the brew is still in its research stage, and we don’t fully know how it works or what the right quantity or frequency is.
As we’ve examined, there are no right answers. Your first session is the only indicator of how often you should trip on the psychoactive brew, that’s if you need to go more than once.
If this medicine offers a one-time cure for all psychological problems, no one would refrain from taking it. Alas, this is far from true, and the right frequency depends on a lot of factors.
Our advice is to tread carefully, as with any plant medicine. It’s always best to start small and see the short- and long-term effects of your first ceremony before you delve deep into the world of ayahuasca.