OPEN Foundation

Day: 20 March 2015

Antidepressant effects of a single dose of ayahuasca in patients with recurrent depression: a preliminary report

Abstract

Objectives

Ayahuasca (AYA), a natural psychedelic brew prepared from Amazonian plants and rich in dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and harmine, causes effects of subjective well-being and may therefore have antidepressant actions. This study sought to evaluate the effects of a single dose of AYA in six volunteers with a current depressive episode.

Methods:

Open-label trial conducted in an inpatient psychiatric unit.

Results:

Statistically significant reductions of up to 82% in depressive scores were observed between baseline and 1, 7, and 21 days after AYA administration, as measured on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), and the Anxious-Depression subscale of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS). AYA administration resulted in nonsignificant changes in Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) scores and in the thinking disorder subscale of the BPRS, suggesting that AYA does not induce episodes of mania and/or hypomania in patients with mood disorders and that modifications in thought content, which could indicate psychedelic effects, are not essential for mood improvement.<

Conclusions:

These results suggest that AYA has fast-acting anxiolytic and antidepressant effects in patients with a depressive disorder.

Osório, F. D. L., Sanches, R. F., Macedo, L. R., Dos Santos, R. G., Maia-de-Oliveira, J. P., Wichert-Ana, L., … & Hallak, J. E. (2015). Antidepressant effects of a single dose of ayahuasca in patients with recurrent depression: a preliminary report. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 37(1), 13-20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1516-4446-2014-1496
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A brief survey of drug use and other activities preceding mystical-religious experiences

Abstract

Many people report having had mystical-religious experiences. The prevalence of these experiences has increased over time, which suggests changing cultural factors may contribute the experience. I conducted an online survey of 6,209 adults to determine how common different activities, including drug use, were before the onset of a mystical-religious experience. 19.6% (1,045) reported having had a mystical-religious experience and were asked a follow-up question on their activities before the experience. The most commonly endorsed pre-onset activity categories were: Prayer, meditation, or contemplation (37.2%); Being outdoors in nature (19.6%); and Religious ceremony, practice, or ritual (16.1%). Less commonly, respondents reported fasting (5.7%) or drug use (4.7%). A large percent (35.2%) reported not engaging in any of these activities before their experiences. Psychoactive drugs and nature are precedents to mystical-religious experience that are not selectively associated with traditional religious institutions and deserve additional study.

Baggott MJ. (2015) A brief survey of drug use and other activities preceding mystical-religious experiences Available at: https://github.com/mattbaggott/mysticalsurvey/blob/master/results/Baggott%20mystical%20survey%20March2015.pdf.
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