Ayahuasca

NB! Drugs effects vary according to the psychological state and the health of the person concerned, the context in which the drug is taken as well as the quality of the drug and the quantity consumed.

Description

Ayahuasca is a Quechua term meaning a mixture of liana-type (Banisteriopsis caapi) plants present in the Amazonian forests which are chewed or drunk in the form of an infusion. It is used during initiation or religious rites in Amazonia and there is not a recreational drug.

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive substance which is:

  • illegal
  • natural
  • hallucinogenic.

Desired effects

  • Mystical experience, visions, a “dream” state
  • Perception distortions (time and space), hallucinations and stimulation of sensations
  • Confusion of the senses, such as synaesthesia (“listening to colours”)
  • Psychic dissociations, depersonalisation, impression of detachment from the body

Physical symptoms

  • Increase in heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure
  • Dilation of the pupils
  • Transitory nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea

Immediate and long-term risks

It is difficult to determine the risk related to the use of ayahuasca, because the composition of the plant mix varies.

Risks observed are:

  • psychic disorders, delirium, anxiety, paranoia
  • psychotic states (particularly in people who are suffering from psychological disorders, are psychologically fragile or on antidepressants).

Sciensano collects data and analyses the consumption of drugs, the drug market, the consequences for health, requests for treatment and the policies implemented with regard to drugs in Belgium.

QR code

QR code for this page URL

Contacts

Peer-reviewed publications

There are currently no scientific publication associated to this health topic

Other publications

There are currently no publications associated to this health topic

Projects

There are currently no projects associated to this health topic

Events

There are currently no events associated to this health topic

Other sources of information

There are currently no external links associated to this health topic

In the media

There are currently no media associated to this health topic