Can Ayahuasca help my Problem with Addiction?
Perhaps you’ve heard about Ayahuasca or know someone who has had a profound experience at an Ayahuasca retreat and are wondering, can ayahuasca help my problem with addiction?
What is Ayahuasca?
Before we dive in, you may be asking, what exactly is this psychoactive brew served at Ayahuasca retreats? Ayahuasca is a brew of two Amazonian plants: the stalks of the Banisteriopsis Caapi vine and the leaves of the Chacruna shrub (Psychotria Vridis). Ritualized use of Ayahuasca that is experienced today at Ayahuasca retreats has been a part of many Central and South American cultures for millennia.
How does Ayahuasca produce its effect?
Both of the components of the Ayahuasca brew have psychoactive properties; chacruna leaves contain DMT and the B. caapi vine contains MAO inhibitors. When the two plants are combined, the MAOIs prevent the body from breaking down the orally-consumed DMT and allow its psychedelic effects to come on, which normally last for 4-6 hours.
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In a study in which 45% of participants were found to meet the criteria for a psychiatric disorder, 80% showed clinical improvements that still persisted at 6 months after their first ayahuasca use. Scientific Reports. (2020)
Self-reported alcohol, tobacco and cocaine use declined after a 4 day retreat which consisted of 4 days of group counseling and 2 expert-led ayahuasca ceremonies. Statistically significant improvements were demonstrated for scales assessing hopefulness, empowerment, mindfulness, quality of life meaning and outlook sub-scales. MAPS. (2013)
With alcohol and tobacco included, 165 million or 60.2% of Americans aged 12 years or older currently abuse drugs (I.e., used within the last 30 days). NCDAS. (2020)
Is Ayahuasca legal?
If youre considering an Ayahuasca retreat to work through addiction, you might be wondering, ‘is Ayahuasca legal? ’ It ’s a complex answer for the United States and Canada. The short answer is that DMT, the psychoactive compound in Ayahuasca, is still a schedule 1 substance and federally illegal.
Certain places have decriminalized having small amounts of psychedelic substances, but brewing or having larger amounts with intended ceremonial use or distribution is still a punishable offense.
There are several religions that use Ayahuasca as a sacrament. They have a religious exemption and conduct legal, sacramental use in the U.S. and Canada as well as several others that are asserting their rights, but do not have a formal exemption. If you fundamentally believe in these religions, there is the option to join an Ayahuasca church.
Where is Ayahuasca legal?
Now you may be wondering, where is Ayahuasca legal? Ayahuasca is fully legal in certain countries such as Costa Rica, Brazil, and Italy as well as being legal as traditional medicine in Ecuador and Peru. There are gray areas in other cities and countries around the world.
The bottom line is, the answer to, ‘Is Ayahuasca legal? ’ is complex. Always do thorough research to see if the Ayahuasca retreat you ’re planning to attend is legal.
What should I be aware of before signing up for an Ayahuasca retreat?
The decision to sign up for an Ayahuasca retreat is not one to be taken lightly. Ayahuasca is a very powerful medicine; careful preparation and space for integration are crucial. While some psychedelic experiences, such as Ketamine treatments, require very little downtime and have minimal interference with everyday life, this is not the case with Ayahuasca retreats.
In most cases, international travel will be necessary as well as following a special diet or dieta for 1-2 weeks before the ceremony. It is also important to work with a psychedelic integration coach to carefully prepare for this powerful experience and also have proper support afterward.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to conduct a thorough investigation on an Ayahuasca retreat before signing up. Be sure it is a reputable and experienced retreat center with facilitators that hold integrity in not only the cultivation and brewing of the medicine, but also in all aspects of the ceremony. Make sure someone you know and trust has personal experience with the Ayahuasca retreat before you commit.
Can Ayahuasca help with my addiction?
At this point there hasn ’t been extensive research to find out if Ayahuasca can help with addiction; however, there have been some studies and numerous personal accounts where this has been the case.
In the Amazon, Ayahuasca rituals are sometimes referred to as “ going to take the purge.” Purging can be physical and often includes vomiting, bowel movements, crying, shaking and sweating. Beyond the physical, there is the energetic release. Many people report feeling as if they purged old patterns, limiting beliefs and even addictions.
Following an Ayahuasca retreat, people often feel they have either released or gained a new perspective on their addictions and are then able to work through the integration process to make lasting transformations.
We get to experience that core self and the beauty of the world, as it actually is … we realize we don’t have to cope anymore. We don’t have to run anymore. We can just be right where we are.
– Gabor Maté
Though it hasn ’t been clinically proven, with mindful preparation and proper support, attending an Ayahuasca retreat may be able to help your problem with addiction. Please, ask the right questions and do your research!
At the location of the Ayahuasca retreat you ’are considering, is Ayahuasca legal? Does the retreat have a long-standing reputation of integrity? Are you ready for a powerful, transformative experience that will without doubt shake things up and ask you to make changes in your life? Do you have professional support before and after the Ayahuasca retreat?
If you would like personal support in deciding if you feel Ayahuasca could help your problem with addiction, contact a skilled and trained Psychedelic Integration Coach – you ’ll be glad you did!
Disclaimer: The views in this blog and of the blog writer do not necessarily represent Being True To You LLC. The writer of this blog is an independent contractor, and Being True To You does not necessarily endorse the content written within this blog. Being True To You does not advocate, suggest, approve or disapprove of the use of psychedelic medicines such as Ibogaine. The content written in this blog is not medical advice and is for entertainment purposes only. Being True To You provides transformational recovery and integration “coaching” to individuals and families through the addiction recovery and psychospiritual healing process. Coaching is not a medical service and is not regulated by any governmental authority. It is an emerging profession not accredited by any institution or organization. Being True To You coaching is not counseling or psychotherapy and does not use professional assessments or diagnose mental illness. Being True To You coaches are independent contractors who provide recovery coaching to Being True To You assigned clients on a case-by-case basis.