Ayahuasca ceremonies are usually held at night and last until the effects of Ayahuasca have worn off. After the space is prepared and blessed by the shaman leading the ceremony, Ayahuasca is offered to participants, sometimes split into several doses click for more info. After consuming the Ayahuasca, most people start to feel its effects within 20–60 minutes. The effects are dose-dependent, and the trip can last 2–6 hours. Those who take Ayahuasca can experience symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, feelings of euphoria, strong visual and auditory hallucinations, mind-altering psychedelic effects, fear, and paranoia.
It should be noted that some of the adverse effects, such as vomiting and diarrhea, are considered a normal part of the cleansing experience. People react to Ayahuasca differently. Some experience euphoria and a feeling of enlightenment, while others go through severe anxiety and panic. It’s not uncommon for those taking Ayahuasca to experience both positive and negative effects from the brew. The shaman and others who are experienced in Ayahuasca offer spiritual guidance to participants throughout the Ayahuasca experience and monitor participants for safety. Some retreats have medical staff on hand as well, in case of emergencies. These ceremonies are sometimes conducted consecutively, with participants consuming Ayahuasca a few nights in a row. Every time you take Ayahuasca, it results in a different experience click for more info. Some research suggests that Ayahuasca may benefit those with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and addiction disorders.
A study in 29 people with treatment-resistant depression showed that a single dose of Ayahuasca led to significant improvements in depression severity compared with a placebo. Other studies report rapid antidepressant effects of Ayahuasca as well. Additionally, a review of six studies concluded that Ayahuasca showed beneficial effects in treating depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and drug dependence click for more info. Several studies have focused on the effects of Ayahuasca on addiction disorders, including addictions to crack cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine — with promising results.
In one study, 12 people with severe psychological and behavioral issues related to substance abuse participated in a 4-day treatment program that included 2 Ayahuasca ceremonies. At a 6-month follow up, they demonstrated significant improvements in mindfulness, hopefulness, empowerment, and overall quality of life. Plus, self-reported use of tobacco, cocaine, and alcohol significantly declined. Researchers hypothesize that Ayahuasca may help those with PTSD as well, though more research in this area is needed.