Expert Report on The Legal Status of Ayahuasca
Not only is legal in Spain, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile but in all countries governed by the Conventions and agreements of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), unless specific legislation of any country.
According to the indications of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the ayahuasca-ancient herbal preparation use among South American indigenous peoples, nor is, nor should be considered a way of making DMT, substance occurs naturally in most living things, including humans, and drawn synthetic itself is prohibited by the INCB, as set out in Schedule I of psychotropic substances under international control under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971, and published in the Green List of the INCB, May 2010.
Thus, according to international law and Spanish, since Spain is governed by international conventions, ayahuasca is not a drug legally audited.
- WHAT IS THE AYAHUASCA?
Ayahuasca is the most common term to refer to a liquid form vegetable mixture with psychoactive effects are not harmful or addictive, consumed for millennium by numerous ethnic groups in South America. Currently and since the 1990s, its use is spreading in urban American and European and Japanese for their potential beneficial properties derived from psychological experiences, transpersonal and spiritual it brings.
Globalization and the development of new technologies have allowed to acquire ayahuasca importing it from countries where its use is traditional, not being prohibited its purchase or consumption in most Western countries, including Spain. It is also legal to import and / or acquisition of the fresh or dried plant material that is produced ayahuasca.
The term ayahuasca comes from the Quechua language, ethnicity living since time immemorial, Andean and Amazonian. Ayahuasca comes to mean: ‘vine that takes the place of the dead’, since the Quechua believed-and believe-that when you are under the influence of ayahuasca may have visions or some perceptual or spiritual connection with the world inhabited by the spirits of the ancestors, hence its consumption enjoy a spiritual and healing. It is also used as traditional medicine for emotional education, decision-making, the cure of ailments group or individual, etc..
The rich lexicography and vast territory of ayahuasca use, among other variables studied by anthropology, indicate the great profundad temporary use in the Amazon basin and in the Andean foothills, old that probably goes back to about ten or twelve thousand years. For example, the same herbal preparation called zuma honi Remo language of the people in the banks of the river Rapiche (Peru and Brazil) Quichua yagé between northern (Colombia) and yagé is also the generic term used in Colombia instead of ayahuasca, is called honi in Caxinaua indigenous language (Peru and Brazil); natém th among the Shuar and Achuara (Ecuador), jurema, cha and daime (Peru and Brazil), etc.. Anthropology has described ayahuasca consumption as traditional holistic medicine current 76 ethnic groups distributed by Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, etc.. Ethnobotany reported five thousand possible combinations of different plants which decoction adequate results in a mixture with similar psychoactive effects, mixtures that are generically called ‘ayahuasca’.
To give an analogy in Western cultures: the wine, the psychoactive effects and complexity of applications. We know sacramental and mystical use of wine from the Old Testament, for thousands of years (the liquid becomes symbolically in the blood of Christ in the mystery of the Mass); known therapeutic use (medicine has highlighted the benefits of moderate consumption for the cardiovascular system, and the use anesthetic, disinfectant, etc..), a social and psychological use disinhibit people in the celebrations and to tone certain meetings held, a food (‘with bread and wine walks the road ‘as they used to say), a festive use as an intoxicant, and much more. Furthermore, the liquid ferment glucose result grape wine are generically called, is actually a complex cluster of names, beverages and effects, also the result of deep historical use in West: no white wine , red and pink, more or less graduation, sweet, rough or dry, still or sparkling result of fermentation, reserve or youth, etc., in addition to the countless derivatives wine: vermouth, sparkling wines, different blends, mead …
Current use of ayahuasca has spread from the West thanks to interest in alternative medicine, ethnic values and shamanism, and self-examination of the human, all areas where the use of ayahuasca is useful to induce emotional and spiritual states curative, introspective and therapeutic. On the other hand, it has been observed that consumption of ayahuasca follow any pattern of compulsive, or generate physiological or psychological addiction both in cultures of origin and in the West, so that you can undoubtedly claim that there is no danger to public health.
Currently, there are abundant literature and scientific information on the effects of ayahuasca in the short, medium and long term, various investigations conducted by independent researchers and official centers by pharmacologists, psychologists, biochemists and internationally renowned etnopsiquiatras such as Dr. J. Riba (Neuropsychology Foundation, St. Pau Hospital), Prof. JC Bouso, Dr. J. Callaway (University of Kuopio), Dr. C. S. Grob (Dept. of Psychiatry, UCLA Medical Center, USA), Dr. DC Mash (University of Miami School of Medicine, Dept. of Neurology), Dr. JM ª Fericgla (Sd’EA, ª F JM Foundation, Barcelona, etc.). For a comprehensive review of scientific research articles see the collection of scientific material by JC Bouso and available online (more scientific information, see ICEERS official website ).
- COMPOSITION AND LEGALITY
The basic preparation ayahuasca consists of a minimum of two herbal ingredients, but may include many more varieties of plants to modify the basic preparation effect.
From the standpoint of pharmacological and biochemical one vegetable ingredients to the mixture provides an inhibitor of monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, and the other provides DMT, the substance which provides part of psychoactive effect of the mixture. None of the two components, consumed orally by isolated, produce psychoactive effects.
Usually, but not exclusively, the two plants that blend two Amazonian vines: a) the vine popularly known as ‘ayahuasca’, which names the final preparation, botanically Banisteriopsis caapi, is the provider of the MAOI, b) leaves Psychotria viridis or cabrerana Diploterys liana, which provide the DMT to final preparation.
The legal misunderstanding that currently weighs on ayahuasca (see below the strictly related jurisprudence) comes from plants DMTcontributing to the mixture. The production and trade of psychoactive substance chemically known as DMT, is prohibited by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances United Nations, 1971, appearing in the Green List of the INCB with PD-004 code. But since DMT is a substance widely spread in nature, the INCB has set the percentage amount of DMT that a preparation must contain to be considered forbidden, well above the proportion in which it appears in the wild (for System Operation of Drug Control, the official text of the INCB in its 2010 edition, see ).
For example, the human body secretes DMT abundant throughout the day and pharmacodynamics has shown that endogenous substance is a production related repairers nightly dreams. On the other hand, one of the richest plant specimens DMT production is the common reed river or reed, Phragmites Australis botanically, so no sense to prohibit the natural production of a substance that is related to life on Earth .
Therefore, the INCB report 2010 on the drug situation in the world, at point 284 is explicit a number of plants and herbal preparations such as ayahuasca, iboga plant, peyote, mushrooms psilocybian and others who “are not subject to control under the 1971 Convention or the 1988 Convention”, and it has repeated the INCB in a letter sent to D. Loenen, Dir of ICEERS, dated June 1, 2010, signed by J. Lucas, secretary of the INCB.
In reference to the Spanish Penal Code, in Article 368 is punishable with a jail says who traffics with “toxic drugs, narcotics or psychotropic drugs.” Therefore, what you need to know is whether, in the Spanish Penal Code ayahuasca is considered drug, narcotic or psychotropic. The same law says drugs are considered substances in the Schedules to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Narcotic: this list does not appear ayahuasca (to consult the official website, see ).
In addition to the substances listed in Schedule I of 1961, there is another list attached, the INCB Green List, published in May 2010, which is added to the above in accordance with the 1971 Vienna Convention on psychotropic substances. In 1971 the list does not appear ayahuasca (to query the official website, see ).
So, in any of the lists of internationally controlled substances appears ayahuasca, clear and legally separating this mixture vegetable substance chemically called DMT, which itself is audited.
On the other hand, Article 2 of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic says: “Unless expressly stated otherwise or the context otherwise requires, the following terms of this Agreement shall have the meanings indicated below: e)” Psychotropic substance “means any substance, natural or synthetic, or any natural material in Schedule I, II, III or IV”, and none of them appears ayahuasca.
By his side, and to various inquiries that have been made, the INCB has made explicit statements numbering several plants that are not included in the lists of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic banned, and repeating that the only controlled plants are included in the 1961 convention on narcotic drug: cannabis, poppy and coca.
In the Cap. II, Section 6 (“Plant materials containing psychoactive substances”), paragraph 284 and 285, p. 51 and 52 of the INCB Annual Report 2010, published on March 2, 2011, are mentioned plants containing psychoactive substances traditionally used but do not affect public health and are not audited. Literally the INCB says:
“284. (…). In accordance with the 1961 Convention and that Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the plants that are sources of drugs, like cannabis, opium poppy and coca bush, are subject to specific control measures. In contrast, although some active ingredients with stimulants or hallucinogenic effects contained in certain plants are subject to control under the 1971 Convention, there is no plant currently controlled under the Convention or the 1988 Convention. Nor preparations (eg decoctions for oral consumption) made from plants containing these active ingredients are under international control.
- Some examples of these plants or plant materials are (…) ayahuasca, a preparation of plants native to the Amazon basin, mainly the Banisteriopsis caapi (a vine in the jungle) and other tryptamine-rich plant (Psycotria viridis) containing several psychoactive alkaloids like DMT, peyote … “
Consequently, and insisting on the legal arguments, the INCB says specifically that DMT plants such as ayahuasca, are not prohibited in international conventions, are not included in the Schedules of the conventions mentioned. Therefore, and having no specific legislation in the Spanish, ayahuasca is not a prohibited psychotropic in Spain.
A consequence of this international law, most of Spanish and Latin American people have recently been arrested by the police and brought to justice accused of alleged drug trafficking ayahuasca for receiving mail, have been released without charge.
To mention some precedents that could possibly set a precedent:
1) the Provincial Court, Section Thirty, Madrid, magistrate Majadahonda No. 4, dated May 5, 2011, announced the decision No. 70/2011 in which absolves Alberto J. Varela of the charge of violating the public health at being seized a significant amount of Ayahuasca, Yage in terminology used in this case.
2) The Court of Instruction No. 27 in Barcelona, guard duties, issued an Order dated January 18, 2012, Proceedings of the guard 13323, annulling the arrest of Fernando Latorre Vazquez accused of an alleged crime against Health Contraband public, to be followed and arrested by police while picking provinentes bottles of ayahuasca in South America.
3) An early example was the ruling in the millennium by the Central Court of Instruction No. 3 of Madrid, signed by Ms M ª Teresa Palacios on October 20, 2000, that after reviewing the expert reports commissioned from the Spanish Agency of Drugs, Minist. of Health, and the National Institute of Toxicology, filed proceedings against the accused as alleged Brazilian drug traffickers have been arrested in Spain entering several liters of ayahuasca with a religious purpose, as they were members of the new church of the Holy Daime, from Brazil and officially registered in Spain.
4) One last case, being the most recent and despite being a trial held in Chile, a country that has no tradition of ayahuasca consumption between indigenous traditions and is known for his stance strongly prohibitionist legislation regarding psychotropics. The 4th Judicial Branch, Court of Criminal trial in Santiago de Chile, in the ACT 229-2011 Deliberation-RIT signed on 20-III-2012 in Santiago, Chile, said ayahuasca doses that are commonly provided , and according to the experts consulted, the DMT is present only 0.05% of ayahuasca, percentage, on the other hand, only about 15 or 20% goes to the systemic circulation, expressing the said Court, that the ayahuasca usual dose is not the same as DMT, a substance present in the human body and other mammals. Therefore, it took all the precautionary measures filed against the defendants they acquitted (Judge Mrs. Ella Morales Espinoza and sentence communicated the March 28, 2012 / RIT N ° 229-2011 RUC No. 0900858790-3).
- On DMT and Ayahuasca
Tryptamine known as DMT, consumed orally is not active, it is degraded by MAO gastrointestinal tract. Hence the incalculable cultural value arising from the preparation of ayahuasca by indigenous Andean and Amazonian: sophisticated without having the current knowledge of pharmacology, for between one hundred and one hundred twenty centuries developed a unique drug that facilitates access to the brain DMT, preventing systemic degradation. It was not until the 50s of the twentieth century that Western science discovered the mechanism of action of ayahuasca.
Ayahuasca is traditionally used as psychosomatic DMT and the amount of each dose containing a mixture varying from another, but strangely DMT exceeds 25mg per dose (= 0’53mg x 1ml, found at the concentration used to investigate ayahuasca its pharmacology, official studies conducted in Spain, at the Hospital Sant Pau, Barcelona).
We insist that there is a clear legal confusion about the composition of ayahuasca, a confusion that is the basis of current police arrests for alleged trafficking of a substance that is supposed prohibited, although it is not.
On the other hand, it should be added that each of the ethnic groups that traditionally prepared and consumed, and even every family has its own recipe for making ayahuasca, adding slightly varying plants and proportion effects of DMT that may slightly increase proprción mentioned standard.
The best way to explain briefly the effect of ayahuasca, is explaining that the DMT, which contains the potent substance and that owe their psychoactive effects, it is also a substance secreted by our body and is responsible for night dreams. Hence, the effects of ayahuasca are like dreaming but with full awareness of the content of the images and emotional content that stain sleep. To this, and the relatively short duration of its effects ¾ between 1 and 2 hours ¾ be the great potential in psychotherapy.
As already mentioned, the ayahuasca is consumed since about 10,000 years ago across the Amazon basin by millions of people. They are still taking this mixture psychoactive least 76 indigenous ethnic groups in the Upper and Lower Amazon and high Andean watersheds. Since the early 1930s there is also a growing westernized consumption by new religious syncretism born in Brazil (U. do Vegetal, Santo Daime, A Barquiña), officially registered in various Western COUNTRIES, including Spain, which in total welcome about 60,000 followers or worshipers.
Since the early 1970s, ayahuasca is also being used in cutting edge treatments of addiction and compulsive behaviors with remarkable therapeutic success (see: Takiwasi clinic in Peru; IDEAA, Institute of Applied Amazon Ethnopsychology, Spanish-Brazilian, etc.) .
Some South American country has even declared the National Intangible Heritage ayahuasca, as is the case of Peru (see Official Gazette “El Peruano”, of July 12, 2008, Volume XXV, no. 10292, Resolution No. 836/INC RD. National Institute of Culture). The governments of Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia are making arrangements to make similar statements.
- USE AND CONSUMPTION OF AYAHUASCA
Ayahuasca is part of the sacred rites of indigenous Amazonian and Andean. It is used to make decisions, to cure and heal, to resolve conflicts and etc. You can not explain the culture nor the lives of these peoples without considering the effect of ayahuasca in their lives. To continue the comparison, valid though distant, would be the equivalent in Mediterranean societies alcoholic beverages. No one can understand the evolution of our religious world (it is no coincidence that it is wine, intoxicating liquid that is transformed into the blood of Christ during Mass), or our world holiday (champagne for special days, ebriedades Sunday best and village festivals), nor could understand the family rituals (the first glass of champagne or wine that gives the father to his teenage son), and many of the reactions football fans crowded nor could only understand our traditional way of life without understanding the central role wine psychoactive effect. In this sense, ayahuasca plays a similar but much deeper existentially in those Amerindians.
Paleobotanical studies have been unable to locate the geographical origin of each plant in ayahuasca and, precisely for this reason, it follows that since prehistoric times plants have been transported and handled by human beings living in the Amazon basin. This, plus the multitude of vernacular names that have the mixture, gives an idea of the depth cultural and historical usage.
At present, also recorded ayahuasca consumption under the new religious forms or freely quoted, cited in Latin countries and also in Spain, Holland, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, United States, Mexico and Canada.
Rituals (religious syncretism)
Since the 1930s, indigenous shamanic consumption also worth mentioning the use given to ayahuasca important religious syncretism were born in Brazil. The first was founded by Raimundo Irineu Serra. While staying inside the jungle serving the Brazilian army, RI Serra learned the use of ayahuasca by indigenous people themselves. Upon returning to civilization ritual created a new way of eating and take advantage of this psychotropic effects and founded the religion called Santo Daime. The Santo Daime is a typical and interesting religious syncretism left the cross between the Christian religion and healing practices and indigenous Amazonian shamanism. The followers of this religion, now more than 20,000, consume psychotropic sacred and sing their hymns while experiencing the mystical state and structuring in the dipping mixture.
Currently there are several more religious syncretism whose central practice ritualized consumption of ayahuasca: the Uniao do Vegetal, A Barquiña, etc.. All these cults have been approved by various Latin American governments and currently enjoy high social prestige. Even the Uniao do Vegetal, syncretism of urban character, together leading figures from Brazilian artists and intellectuals. There have been several doctoral theses and other scientific research on these new religious cults that enable them away from the idea of sects .
From the knowledge of the effects of ayahuasca by scientists in the early 1950s, has increased the interest in studying this mixture, to unravel the way they act in the body and mind, and find applications in psychotherapy and in other fields of human endeavor.
In this sense, from the work done in Brazil for U.S. research teams (particularly the team led by psychiatrist Dr. Ch Grob, University of Los Angeles, USA, in 1995, and the team Pharmacologist Dr. J. Callaway, University of Kuopio, Finland) also from the work done by the undersigned and his team in Ecuador between 1992 and 1997, and from research conducted in Peru by part of the French physician Dr. J. Mabitt, who has founded Takiwasi center in Tarapoto, to assist addicts with treatments based on the effect of ayahuasca, from all this, then, we can say that, despite not having yet final statistical results, the psychotherapy using ayahuasca as a means to break the resistance of patients have highly beneficial effects observed.
Current scientific research
The first news in our societies of the existence of the vegetable mixture, ayahuasca, comes from studies conducted by the ethnobotanical Spruce in the basins of the Upper Amazon, in the first half of the nineteenth century. Later has been the subject of many studies by anthropologists, botanists, pharmacologists, physicians and biochemists.
In the U.S. they just made a major scientific conference, promoted by psychologist Dr. R. Metzner, exclusively dedicated to treating ayahuasca. Among other well-known researchers, have attended this event Dr. J. Callaway, Dr. R. Yensen, Dr. D. McKenna, etc. The results of the congress have been collected in the book Ayahuasca (Thunder’s Mouth Press, New York, without translation into Castilian).
Is currently undertaking a major research pharmacodynamics of ayahuasca in Neuropsychology Foundation Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona. The interim results this research is shedding highlight, among other things, the null hepato-toxicity of this mixture plant last point that clarification was needed on the physiological effect of ayahuasca on the human body.
The most important results that have come from scientific studies can be synthesized under these headings:
– In psychological terms, ayahuasca opens certain content of the human unconscious, hence the dreamlike visions that often appear while under its effect, which usually lasts between 1 and 2 hours.
– The ability of Ayahuasca to open the unconscious becomes a substance of great potential in psychotherapy that activates the brain area anterior cingulate, an area where old memories are stored in the subject. In fact, several studies have been applied to it, using ayahuasca to treat addicts and bipolar under a protocol similar to psychoanalysis.
– Since opening the unconscious pleasant experiences occur but other more difficult to bear (traumatic memories can be released) is totally unlikely playful or compulsive use of this psychotropic.
– After thousands of years of consumption in the Amazon there is not a single fact of misuse, for poisoning or accidents as a result.
No conflict with local law
Although DMT trade was banned by the Vienna Convention of 21.2.1971, when included in Schedule I, and ratified by Spain on 02/02/1976 instructions (RCL 1976 \ 1747 and 1943), not only is supervised ayahuasca, although contain some amount of DMT, but not explicitly ban the vegetable mixture in the international conventions mentioned.
On the other hand, there is no objective reason to support such alleged prohibitionist legislation. There have been cases of abuse or addiction to this substance is not toxic, does not produce dependence (on the contrary, their use has been verified as an excellent remedy for treating other dependencies) and not a single case of crime associated consumption of ayahuasca.
-Dr. Josep M. Fericgla