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The Internationalization of Ayahuasca

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Abstract

The Internationalization of Ayahuasca is composed of 27 articles (almost 500 pages) and is divided in three parts: “Ayahuasca in South America and the world”, “About medical, psychological and pharmacological Issues: is the use of ayahuasca safe?” and “The expansion of the use of Ayahuasca and the establishment of a global debate on ethics and legalization”. The book brings together the work of scholars from different countries and academic disciplines to offer a comprehensive view of the globalization of this Amazonian brew. It presents a rich array of reflections on the complex implications of this expansion, ranging from health, spiritual and human rights impacts on individuals, to legal and policy impacts on governments. As ayahuasca drinking becomes an increasingly established practice beyond the Amazon in the early 21st century, Labate and Jungaberle have put together a collection that is an unprecedented contribution to a growing field of research. It is a must-read for people interested in the present and future of ayahuasca, as well as in spirituality, ethnobotany, social science theory, contemporary religious and ritual studies, therapeutic potentials of psychedelics, and international drug policy. (Kenneth W. Tupper, Ph.D.)
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... Ayahuasca expanded globally via three main vehicles (Tupper, 2009;Labate and Jungaberle, 2011). The first is via Brazilian syncretic churches who use ayahuasca with a communal-religious intention, while borrowing from different spiritual and religious traditions such as Christianity, African rituals and Amazonian traditions (Soibelman, 1995;Labate and Macrae, 2016). ...
... The ceremony participants' interpretive framework was aligned with new-age culture and inner-spirituality (Heelas, 1996;Heelas, 2009;Simchai, 2009). Ceremonies were influenced by South American ayahuasca traditions and neoshamanic culture (Labate and Jungaberle, 2011), and also had Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and Hindu elements. Most ceremonies were at night, and participants drank two to three cups of ayahuasca throughout the evening. ...
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Psychedelics are used in many group contexts. However, most phenomenological research on psychedelics is focused on personal experiences. This paper presents a phenomenological investigation centered on intersubjective and intercultural relational processes, exploring how an intercultural context affects both the group and individual process. Through 31 in-depth interviews, ceremonies in which Palestinians and Israelis drink ayahuasca together have been investigated. The overarching question guiding this inquiry was how psychedelics might contribute to processes of peacebuilding, and in particular how an intercultural context, embedded in a protracted conflict, would affect the group’s psychedelic process in a relational sense. Analysis of the interviews was based on grounded theory. Three relational themes about multilocal participatory events which occurred during ayahuasca rituals have emerged from the interviews: 1) Unity-Based Connection – collective events in which a feeling of unity and ‘oneness’ is experienced, whereby participants related to each other based upon a sense of shared humanity, and other social identities seemed to dissolve (such as national and religious identities). 2) Recognition and Difference-Based Connection – events where a strong connection was made to the other culture. These events occurred through the expression of the other culture or religion through music or prayers, which resulted in feelings of awe and reverence 3) Conflict-related revelations – events where participants revisited personal or historical traumatic elements related to the conflict, usually through visions. These events were triggered by the presence of ‘the Other,’ and there was a political undertone in those personal visions. This inquiry has revealed that psychedelic ceremonies have the potential to contribute to peacebuilding. This can happen not just by ‘dissolution of identities,’ but also by providing a space in which shared spiritual experiences can emerge from intercultural and interfaith exchanges. Furthermore, in many cases, personal revelations were related to the larger political reality and the history of the conflict. Such processes can elucidate the relationship between personal psychological mental states and the larger sociopolitical context.
... Currently, an internet search for the word Ayahuasca provides millions results and the contents cover different fields such as legal issues, commercial publicity, spirituality, and information on indigenous cultures. Today, the Ayahuasca ceremony has become an established practice well beyond the Amazon (Labate and Jungaberle, 2011). During its process of globalization and migration from the Amazon to the Western world, Ayahuasca has encountered different legal and cultural responses (Labate and Cavnar, 2018). ...
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On June 24, 2008, the Peruvian Government declared the "knowledge and traditional uses of Ayahuasca practiced by native Amazonian communities" as National Cultural Heritage. The inspiration that led to this important achievement was to protect the ritual use of the Ayahuasca brew as traditionally practiced for centuries by Amazonian indigenous communities, including its intangible ritual component, the knowledge of the healers and the healers themselves, while also favoring the protection of the environment and the sustainability of the plant resources involved. In the last couple of decades, the mechanisms of action of Ayahuasca and its therapeutic potential in several fields have been investigated in depth. Nevertheless, thirteen years after the enactment of this declaration, regulations that can offer a concrete protection are still pending, while we observe increasing commercial pressure and risks associated with the irresponsible use of Ayahuasca and other psychoactive plants in the context of shamanic tourism.
... Si une pluralité d'acteurs aux intérêts divergents est donc à l'origine de la reconfiguration des représentations collectives portant sur ces substances et de leurs effets, les organisations religieuses ont joué, dans cette dynamique, un rôle singulier. Aux États-Unis, au Canada ainsi que dans de nombreux pays européens (Espagne, France, Italie, Pays-Bas, Allemagne), des collectifs utilisant l'ayahuasca 8 ont en effet défendu le droit d'utiliser légalement le breuvage psychotrope au nom de la liberté religieuse (Labate et Jungaberle, 2011). Ces groupes se revendiquent majoritairement de deux mouvements religieux brésiliens usant du breuvage hallucinogène comme d'un sacrement, qui ont récemment connu une importante diffusion transnationale : le Santo Daime 9 et l'União do Vegetal 10 (Dupuis, 2018b). ...
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Over the last two decades, in North America and Europe, a growing number of laboratories have initiated clinical studies to evaluate the therapeutic potential of so-called “psychedelic” substances. Once viewed by the medical community as “hallucinogens” with pathogenic properties, these substances are now perceived by many clinicians as the next generation of treatments for mental health disorders. Based on the preliminary results of a survey conducted within clinical research units mobilizing the use of hallucinogens as well as on the analysis of the interplay of social actors involved in the medicalization of psychedelics, this article explores the modalities of this contemporary requalification of hallucinogens, the social dynamics underlying it and their epistemological, political and ethical stakes. The author highlights the central role played by religious organizations in these dynamics as well as the importance of the mobilization of medical authority in the legitimization of these emerging social practices. As some states consider changing the legal status of hallucinogens and as these substances attract the interest of private investors, a growing number of voices are being raised to oppose the medicalization of psychedelics. The reclassification of the status of hallucinogens thus promises to raise strong political, epistemological and ethical tensions. Keywords: hallucinogens – psychedelics – medecine – drugs – religion
... The widespread popularity and eventual internationalization of Santo Daime, and to a lesser extent UDV, has been a significant factor in the spread of ayahuasca to many other parts of the world, in particular Europe, Australia, and North America. The internationalization of Peruvian mestizo shamanism and neo-shamanic practices also continue to influence the widespread growth of ayahuasca-related practices (Tupper, 2008;Labate and Jungaberle, 2011;Labate and Cavnar, 2014). ...
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The present study describes the protocol for the Ayahuasca Treatment Outcome Project (ATOP) with a special focus on the evaluation of addiction treatment services provided through Takiwasi Center, the first ATOP study site. The goal of the project is to assess treatment outcomes and understand the therapeutic mechanisms of an Ayahuasca-assisted, integrative treatment model for addiction rehabilitation in the Peruvian Amazon. The proposed intervention protocol highlights the significance of treatment setting in the design, delivery, and efficacy of an addiction rehabilitation program that involves the potent psychedelic tea known as Ayahuasca. After describing the context of the study, we put forth details about our mixed-methods approach to data collection and analysis, with which we seek to gain an understanding of why, how, and for whom this specific ayahuasca-assisted treatment program is effective across a range of outcomes. The ATOP protocol employs qualitative research methods as a means to determine which aspects of the setting are meaningful to clients and practitioners, and how this may correlate with outcome measures. This paper delineates the core principles, methods, and measures of the overall ATOP umbrella, then discusses the role of ATOP in the context of the literature on long-term residential programs. To conclude, we discuss the strengths and limitations of the protocol and the intended future of the project.
... Some of the groups mentioned in ▶ table 2 seek treatment or self-development that reaches beyond the clinical approach. They engage with psychedelics for philosophical or political reasons, recreationally, or within a spiritual or religious framework [51,52]. Psychiatry and psychotherapy need to acknowledge these practices and establish borders between safe and evidence-based clinical strategies versus self-development and recreational uses outside of medical contexts. ...
Article
Serotonergic psychedelics such as psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), or dimethyltryptamine (DMT), as well as psychoactive drugs that trigger phenomenologically- related experiences like 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and ketamine, belong to the most promising treatment approaches in contemporary psychiatry. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is not only a new treatment paradigm in psychopharmacology, but it also requires a redefinition of psychotherapeutic processes and the contextualization of psychopharmacological interventions within a new treatment infrastructure. Crucial for future practice and research in the field are (1) informed patient referral and co-treatment practices, (2) screening (e. g., choosing the right patients for these therapies), (3) the dosing preparation sessions, (4) the assisted dosing sessions as well as after-care procedures such as (5) psychological integration and (6) supporting the development of structured patient communities. Definition of future treatment delivery infrastructures and requirements for therapist training are further challenges for research and practice. Finally, the implementation of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in routine mental health care must be embedded into public communication about the potential and risks of these innovative therapeutic approaches. This paper provides a synopsis of challenges for practitioners, researchers, and regulators to be addressed in the approval processes of psychedelics. Publication History Received: 15 February 2021 Received: 06 April 2021 Accepted: 13 April 2021 Publication Date: 12 May 2021 (online) © 2021. Thieme. All rights reserved. Georg Thieme Verlag KG Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany
... Contextually, alongside the emergence of psychedelic, 'modern', NPS there has been a parallel growth in and consolidation of a modern form of shamanism, e.g. a new trend in drug experimentation carried out by NPS enthusiasts, the so-called e-psychonauts ( Deluca et al., 2012 ;Orsolini et al., 2016 ). Psychonauts define themselves as either 'technoshamans' ( Booth, 2000 ;Labate and Jungaberle, 2011 ) or 'sailor of the mind/soul'. They typically explore their inner universe using psychedelic NPS whilst sharing their own drug experiences online ( Orsolini et al., 2015a( Orsolini et al., , 2015b. ...
Article
Psychedelics alter the perception of reality through agonist or partial agonist interaction with the 2A serotoninergic receptor. They are classified as phenethylamines, tryptamines and lysergamides. These classes, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), account for an important percentage of the new psychoactive substances (NPS) current scenario.The paper aimed at: a) identifying and categorising psychedelic molecules from a list of psychonaut websites and NPS online resources; and b) comparing the NPSfinderⓇ results with those from the European and United Nations databases. A crawling software (i.e. ‘NPSfinderⓇ’) was created to automatically scan, 24/7, a list of URLs and to extract a range of information (chemical/street names, chemical formulae, etc.) to facilitate NPS identification. Data collected were manually analysed and compared with the EMCDDA and UNODC databases.The overall number of psychedelic NPS detected by NPSfinderⓇ (November 2017-February 2020) was 1344, almost ten-times higher than that reported by the UNODC and EMCDDA combined. Of these, 994 previously unknown molecules were identified as (potential) novel psychedelics, suggesting a strong discrepancy between online and real-world NPS scenarios. The results show the interest of psychonauts, and maybe of the much larger community of ‘recreational’ drug users, towards psychedelics. Moreover, examining online scenario may help in assessing the availability in the real world of psychedelic NPS; understanding drug trends; and in possibly predicting future drug scenarios
Chapter
Ayahuasca, the vine of the souls in Quechua, is a psychedelic brew with a few formulations that most often include the bark of a liana in the Malpighiaceae family (Banisteriopsis caapi), with leaves from a shrub in the coffee family Rubiaceae (Psychotria viridis). Mixed with water and boiled for hours or days, it produces a brownish-colored liquid with a strong and characteristic taste. Ayahuasca contains the psychedelic tryptamine N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOi), and in the past few years, it has been tested. In recent years its antidepressant properties have been put to the test. Evidence from open and randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials has shown encouraging results, indicating significant and rapid antidepressant effects, starting as early as 1 day after the ayahuasca intervention. In addition, we have explored the nature of these effects using multivariate measures. In this article, we will review the history, pharmacology, clinical trials, and clinical and behavioral markers associated with the antidepressant effects of ayahuasca.
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Introdução: Doenças graves levantam questões existenciais que podem ser fonte de sofrimento psicológico e prejudicar o tratamento. Estudos com substâncias psicodélicas demonstram efeitos terapêuticos para ansiedade e depressão associadas a doenças físicas graves, principalmente câncer. Evidências indicam que a ayahuasca – uma bebida psicoativa de origem indígena preparada a partir das plantas Banisteriopsis caapi e Psychotria viridis, utilizada na medicina tradicional amazônica e em contextos ritualísticos/religiosos em diversos países – pode atuar como agente terapêutico no tratamento de transtornos psiquiátricos, destacando-se a depressão e a dependência de substâncias. Estudos preliminares sugerem também que a ayahuasca pode promover efeitos terapêuticos para doenças físicas. Objetivo: O presente estudo busca explorar como o uso ritual da ayahuasca durante o tratamento de doenças físicas graves influenciou o modo como as pessoas que vivenciaram essa experiência compreendem e se relacionam com a doença, procurando identificar os processos psicológicos envolvidos nos efeitos terapêuticos relatados. Métodos: Empregaram- se métodos de pesquisa qualitativa, em abordagem retrospectiva, exploratória e descritiva. Uma amostra intencional foi construída empregando-se critérios de intensidade e heterogeneidade, sendo que o fechamento foi determinado por saturação teórica. Quatorze participantes com diagnóstico atual ou anterior de doenças físicas graves e que fizeram uso ritual da ayahuasca durante o período do tratamento médico foram incluídos, envolvendo casos de câncer, HIV+ e doenças de natureza neurológica, reumatológica, gastrointestinal ou dermatológica. Os dados foram coletados por meio de entrevistas semiestruturadas de questões abertas em profundidade e o conteúdo foi analisado por análise temática, com temas emergentes. Resultados: Os temas identificados cobrem aspectos psicológicos, físicos e espirituais. Os participantes relataram que a experiência ritual com ayahuasca promoveu um espaço de introspecção e análise de conteúdos autobiográficos, com a ocorrência de catarses emocionais e a emersão de sentimentos positivos, o que contribuiu para a redução da ansiedade e de sintomas depressivos, favorecendo o bem-estar psicoemocional. Descreve-se também que a experiência facilitou a identificação de significados sobre a origem e o propósito da doença, bem como a sua ressignificação e aceitação, com reflexos positivos sobre a relação com a doença. Reflexões existenciais amplificadas pela experiência com ayahuasca parecem ter influenciado as concepções dos participantes sobre a vida e a morte, favorecendo a diminuição do medo da morte, maior apreciação da vida, mudanças em relações interpessoais e no estilo de vida. Os participantes relataram também que a experiência com ayahuasca promoveu um fortalecimento da espiritualidade, o que teria beneficiado o tratamento médico. No âmbito da saúde física, relatou-se que os efeitos psicofisiológicos da ayahuasca poderiam ter contribuído para a boa tolerabilidade do tratamento farmacológico, a estabilidade imunológica e a redução de dores crônicas – embora não tenham sido levantadas evidências clínicas comprobatórias. Conclusão: Os resultados deste estudo sugerem que o uso ritual da ayahuasca pode atuar como facilitador no processo de aceitação da doença, por meio de efeitos psicológicos que atuam sobre os significados atribuídos à doença, à vida e à morte, podendo favorecer um relacionamento mais equilibrado com a doença.
Chapter
While psychoactive drugs such as ketamine and psilocybin have been researched extensively in the past decades, scientific interest in ayahuasca has just started to grow, due to its potential therapeutic benefits. Beyond its traditional indigenous and mestizo use in the Amazon, ayahuasca is currently spreading all over the world as an alternative plant medicine in various ritualistic contexts. This rapid dissemination coincides with the observational evidence that ayahuasca facilitates transformational processes with beneficial health outcomes. However, more empirical research is needed to move beyond anecdotal evidence and further verify therapeutic efficacy and biomechanisms of ayahuasca under controlled conditions. The objective of this chapter is to outline future possibilities of ayahuasca-assisted therapies based on the biomedical literature on psychedelics and other contexts in which ayahuasca is used to support health and wellbeing. First, psychedelic medicines will be contrasted with standard psychopharmaceuticals as a novel treatment option that necessitates a paradigm shift from substitution- to transformation-based therapy. Second, various adaptogenic effects of ayahuasca will be reviewed, including effects on body, brain, and mental functioning. Third, a novel transformational psychotherapy framework will be introduced that outlines how ayahuasca could be used to support sustainable transformation. Finally, future research directions of developing pharmahuasca applications in clinical settings will be contrasted with traditional and indigenous contexts of ayahuasca use, highlighting the challenges of intercultural knowledge transfer.
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Ayahuasca is a herbal brew that is widespread in Indigenous Upper Amazon and has undergone global expansion in the last decade. As it is taken up in an ever-growing range of ritual or experimental practices questions of authority, authenticity, propriety or safety become acute. This case allows us to interrogate contemporary processes of value-making as radically different and highly stratified values encounter each other, on the brink of a possible pharmaceuticalization of ayahuasca. I argue that ayahuasca is not fully captured by the value logics of capital and examine the ways in which its promissory dimensions, global circulation and entry into practices of biomedical evidence-making position it in an ambiguous space that is nevertheless not entirely outside the logics of capital. The circuits of ayahuasca’s valorization reveal a complex coproduction of value that makes strategic use of various scales, sites and situations. The article examines the promissory horizon of extra-pharmacological value identified as key to understanding the efficacy of psychedelic substances such as ayahuasca. It then attends to the extraction of value from plants before closing with a reflexion on the politics of inclusion in the discussions that frame ayahuasca’s value globally.
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