The acute, subacute and long lasting effects of Ayahuasca

Goal: This project aims at using different techniques of relevance to neuroscience, such as functional neuroimaging (EEG and fMRI), biochemical, behavioral and scales to investigate the effects of ayahuasca

0 new
0 new
0 new
0 new

Project log

Draulio Barros de Araujo
added 8 research items
Background Neuroimaging studies have just begun to explore the acute effects of psychedelics on large-scale brain networks’ functional organization. Even less is known on the neural correlates of subacute effects taking place days after the psychedelic experience. This study explores the subacute changes of primary sensory brain networks and networks supporting higher-order affective and self-referential functions 24h after a single session with the psychedelic ayahuasca. Methods We leveraged task-free functional magnetic resonance imaging data one day before and one day after a randomized placebo-controlled trial exploring the effects of ayahuasca in naïve healthy participants (21 placebo/22 ayahuasca). We derived intra- and inter-network functional connectivity of the salience, default mode, visual, and sensorimotor networks, and assessed post-session connectivity changes between the ayahuasca and placebo groups. Connectivity changes were associated with Hallucinogen Rating Scale scores assessed during the acute effects. Results Our findings revealed increased anterior cingulate cortex connectivity within the salience network, decreased posterior cingulate cortex connectivity within the default mode network, and increased connectivity between the salience and default mode networks one day after the session in the ayahuasca group compared to placebo. Connectivity of primary sensory networks did not differ between-groups. Salience network connectivity increases correlated with altered somesthesia scores, decreased default mode network connectivity correlated with altered volition scores, and increased salience-default mode network connectivity correlated with altered affect scores. Conclusion These findings provide preliminary evidence for subacute functional changes induced by the psychedelic ayahuasca on higher-order cognitive brain networks that support interoceptive, affective, and self-referential functions.
Draulio Barros de Araujo
added 11 research items
Ayahuasca is an Amazonian botanical hallucinogenic brew which contains dimethyltryptamine, a 5-HT2A receptor agonist, and harmine, a monoamine-oxidase A inhibitor. Our group recently reported that ayahuasca administration was associated with fast-acting antidepressive effects in 6 depressive patients. The objective of the present work was to assess the antidepressive potentials of ayahuasca in a bigger sample and to investigate its effects on regional cerebral blood flow. In an open-label trial conducted in an inpatient psychiatric unit, 17 patients with recurrent depression received an oral dose of ayahuasca (2.2 mL/kg) and were evaluated with the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale, the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, the Young Mania Rating Scale, and the Clinician Administered Dissociative States Scale during acute ayahuasca effects and 1, 7, 14, and 21 days after drug intake. Blood perfusion was assessed eight hours after drug administration by means of single photon emission tomography. Ayahuasca administration was associated with increased psychoactivity (Clinician Administered Dissociative States Scale) and significant score decreases in depression-related scales (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale, Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale) from 80 minutes to day 21. Increased blood perfusion in the left nucleus accumbens, right insula and left subgenual area, brain regions implicated in the regulation of mood and emotions, were observed after ayahuasca intake. Ayahuasca was well tolerated. Vomiting was the only adverse effect recorded, being reported by 47% of the volunteers. Our results suggest that ayahuasca may have fast-acting and sustained antidepressive properties. These results should be replicated in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.
Ayahuasca (AYA), a natural psychedelic brew prepared from Amazonian plants and rich in dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and harmine, causes effects of subjective well-being and may therefore have antidepressant actions. This study sought to evaluate the effects of a single dose of AYA in six volunteers with a current depressive episode. Open-label trial conducted in an inpatient psychiatric unit. Statistically significant reductions of up to 82% in depressive scores were observed between baseline and 1, 7, and 21 days after AYA administration, as measured on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), and the Anxious-Depression subscale of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS). AYA administration resulted in nonsignificant changes in Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) scores and in the thinking disorder subscale of the BPRS, suggesting that AYA does not induce episodes of mania and/or hypomania in patients with mood disorders and that modifications in thought content, which could indicate psychedelic effects, are not essential for mood improvement. These results suggest that AYA has fast-acting anxiolytic and antidepressant effects in patients with a depressive disorder.
Background: Recent open-label trials show that psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression. Methods: To test the antidepressant effects of ayahuasca, we conducted a parallel-arm, double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial in 29 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Patients received a single dose of either ayahuasca or placebo. We assessed changes in depression severity with the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Hamilton Depression Rating scale at baseline, and at 1 (D1), 2 (D2), and 7 (D7) days after dosing. Results: We observed significant antidepressant effects of ayahuasca when compared with placebo at all-time points. MADRS scores were significantly lower in the ayahuasca group compared with placebo at D1 and D2 (p = 0.04), and at D7 (p < 0.0001). Between-group effect sizes increased from D1 to D7 (D1: Cohen's d = 0.84; D2: Cohen's d = 0.84; D7: Cohen's d = 1.49). Response rates were high for both groups at D1 and D2, and significantly higher in the ayahuasca group at D7 (64% v. 27%; p = 0.04). Remission rate showed a trend toward significance at D7 (36% v. 7%, p = 0.054). Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first controlled trial to test a psychedelic substance in treatment-resistant depression. Overall, this study brings new evidence supporting the safety and therapeutic value of ayahuasca, dosed within an appropriate setting, to help treat depression. This study is registered at (NCT02914769).
Draulio Barros de Araujo
added a project goal
This project aims at using different techniques of relevance to neuroscience, such as functional neuroimaging (EEG and fMRI), biochemical, behavioral and scales to investigate the effects of ayahuasca