What ayahuasca — Silicon Valleys latest drug of choice — does to your brain and body

Ayahuasca is a psychedelic compound – along the lines of LSD and psilocybin mushrooms.

What ayahuasca — Silicon Valleys latest drug of choice — does to your brain and body

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What ayahuasca — Silicon Valleys latest drug of choice — does to your brain and body

Ayahuasca is a psychedelic compound - along the lines of LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, though with different effects - that’s been used for thousands of years by shamans and communities in and around the Amazon rainforest.

In recent years, enthusiasm for ayahuasca and its effects has spread from the indigenous roots of the substance and experimentation by curious backpackers to communities of tech workers in Silicon Valley and Brooklyn. At the same time, a revival of scientific interest in psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin - and ayahuasca - is leading to a growing understanding of exactly what these substances do the body and especially the brain

The physical effects of ayahuasca are often described as miserable, including serious vomiting, though they are temporary. Ayahuasca is considered a powerful psychedelic, and there’s always the risk that people have a scary experience on psychedelic substances. From a neuroscientific and psychological perspective, ayahuasca seems to induce effects on the brain that are similar to meditation

People who take ayahuasca show increases in openness and optimism. Small studies show enhancements to creative thinking and psychological flexibility for people who take ayahuasca, which could also increase its therapeutic potential. Researchers think there’s good reason to be excited about the therapeutic possibilities of ayahuasca and other psychedelics

Much more research on how ayahuasca and other psychedelics work is needed.

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