Botanical Empress

Breaking Down the Myths and Facts of Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca ceremonies have become more popular than ever before. This sacred medicine has made its way from ancestral communities to the modern world.

Famous celebrities, backpackers, and users all over the internet have been advocating the use of ayahuasca. However, with so many different opinions, there’s bound to be a lot of misinformation, misconceptions, and myths.

That’s why we’re here to debunk the myths and give you only the facts. Continue reading below as we break down the myths and realities of ayahuasca.

Myth: Ayahuasca Is an Addictive Drug

A common misconception about ayahuasca is that it’s an addictive substance. After all, it’s a Schedule I drug in the United States, so it must be addictive, right?

If you’ve ever tried any hallucinogen, you’ll know that they’re not addictive. However, don’t just take our word for it.

Many scientific studies, like this one, have confirmed the same thing. Basically, hallucinogens like ayahuasca counter the effects of addiction.

That means that not only are they non-addictive, but they suppress addictive behavior in the brain. That’s why many hallucinogens, ayahuasca included, are being used as a treatment for drug addiction.

women enjoying the effects of ayahuascaMyth: Ayahuasca Will Change Your Life

This is a myth that many people will tell you about ayahuasca. The thing is, ayahuasca does have the ability to change your life—there’s just no guarantee.

The reason why ayahuasca is so powerful is that it can reveal to you your true self. On top of that, it can help surface repressed memories and make you reflect on your life.

All of these things together can help you kickstart a significant change in your life. The thing is, you’ll still need to make an effort and consciously try to change your circumstances.

Remember, ayahuasca can guide you to the right path, but it’s still up to you whether you want to walk it or not.

This is what leads to some disappointment. Many people often go into an ayahuasca ceremony with unreal expectations.

That’s why it’s best to set intentions and not expectations.

hippies having fun and using ayahuascaMyth: Ayahuasca Is Only for Weird Hippies and Spiritualists

When people think about ayahuasca, they imagine a group of grimy backpackers and old hippies. However, ayahuasca isn’t exclusive to any one particular group of people.

You’d be shocked at the sheer diversity of people who have gone on an ayahuasca journey. Ayahuasca is for doctors, students, business people, regular working stiffs—in short, everyone.

That’s because ayahuasca is a powerful tool for healing the mind, connecting with oneself, or discovering some higher power.

The people who take ayahuasca are curious seekers who are open to the possibilities and experiences that ayahuasca presents.

Myth: DMT Is the Same Thing as Ayahuasca

While DMT is the main hallucinogenic compound in ayahuasca, it’s not the only thing. After all, ayahuasca is a brew made from the stalks of the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and chacruna leaf (Psychotria viridis).

Both of these plants work together to create the effects of ayahuasca. DMT is found in the Psychotria viridis leaves, but the body doesn’t process the compound well on its own.

That’s where the chacruna leaves come in. They contain MAO inhibitors (MAOIs) called β-carbolines which stop the DMT from being broken down.

It also turns out that these β-carbolines may have psychoactive and therapeutic effects on their own. When taken together in ayahuasca, one gets the benefit of both plants.

That means that ayahuasca trips last longer and may be more well-rounded.

On the other hand, Pure DMT can be made in a laboratory or extracted from various plants. Pure DMT can be smoked, and the result is an intense trip that lasts only ten to twenty minutes.

On top of that, pure DMT is usually only used recreationally. The benefit of ayahuasca is that it’s a collective experience.

Many of the therapeutic effects of ayahuasca likely come from the group setting. When taking pure DMT, one misses out on the collective bonding experience.

Myth: Ayahuasca Trips Are Intense

It’s no secret that ayahuasca trips can be intense. After all, a part of the ayahuasca ceremony is to purge—aka, throw up.

However, ayahuasca trips aren’t necessarily overwhelming. Some people have very visual trips that dynamically change.

Other people have a more subtle experience that’s more physical and reflected inward. There’s no predicting what will happen, and each ayahuasca trip is different.

girl taking AyahuascaMyth: Ayahuasca is Dangerous

It’s possible that you may have heard that ayahuasca is dangerous. You may also have heard that several people have died while taking ayahuasca.

However, in these highly publicized cases, the people who died took other drugs, medications or were in an unsafe environment. None of these tragic incidents involved the ayahuasca preparation directly.

According to science, ayahuasca itself is not dangerous, and it would take 20 times a standard dose to kill someone.

That’s why it’s extremely important that you aren’t taking any medications or mixing substances when taking ayahuasca. It’s also crucial that an experienced shaman is leading the ceremony.

There have been some cases of inexperienced or false shamans making an overpowered brew or using the wrong plants.

In many clinical studies, the brew is given at controlled doses, and the participants have health screenings beforehand. In these studies, there have never been any adverse events or reactions.

Ayahuasca Isn’t Magic But It’s Close

As you can see, there are a lot of myths surrounding ayahuasca. Most of these myths either come from people who either love it or are against it.

If you’re interested in participating in an ayahuasca ceremony, then make sure you do your research. After all, your safety is in the hands of others.

You’ll want to find an experienced shaman who takes safety seriously. Never jump straight into an ayahuasca ceremony without getting some information beforehand.

So long as you’re careful, then ayahuasca is an incredible tool that can help you get out of a rut or heal past traumas. Just keep in mind that ayahuasca isn’t magic, and you’ll need to accept whatever comes from the experience.

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