Ayahuasca and tobacco smoking cessation: results from an online survey in Brazil

This survey study (n=411) assessed the factors that predict smoking cessation in people who reported quitting or reducing smoking following ayahuasca consumption. Mystical experience and frequency of ayahuasca intake were protective factors, while positive mood (measured by the MEQ30) during the ayahuasca experience was a risk factor. Qualitative analysis revealed eight themes related to the process of smoking cessation/reduction.

Abstract

Rationale: Smoking-related disease is a major problem globally. Effective smoking cessation treatments are however limited. Increasing evidence suggests that psychedelics have potential as treatments for substance use disorders and may therefore prove an option in aiding smoking cessation.

Objectives: To establish which factors predict smoking cessation in people who reported quitting or reducing smoking following ayahuasca consumption.

Methods: A retrospective cross-sectional mixed-method study (quantitative and qualitative design) was undertaken using data from an online survey evaluating peoples’ experiences before and after drinking ayahuasca. Multivariate logistic regression was performed with smoking condition (cessation or reduction/relapse) as a dependent variable and demographics, smoking, ayahuasca-related variables and the mystical experience (MEQ30) as predicting factors.

Results: A total of 441 responses were grouped according to self-reported smoking status: cessation (n = 305) or reduction/relapse (n = 136) smoking. Logistic regression showed that mystical experience (OR: 1.03; 95% CI [1.00–1.05]) and frequency of ayahuasca intake (OR: 2.16[1.00–4.70]) were protective factors, while positive mood (measured by the MEQ30) during the ayahuasca experience was a risk factor (OR: 0.91[0.85–0.97]). Qualitative thematic analysis identified eight themes (e.g. acquired awareness, spiritual experience, increased motivation) related to the ayahuasca experience and the process of smoking cessation/reduction.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that ayahuasca could be used as a potential tool for smoking cessation and that effects may be mediated by mystical experience. Given the current burden of smoking-related disease and the limited treatment options, studies are needed to investigate the efficacy of psychedelics in smoking cessation.”

Authors: Dimitri Daldegan-Bueno, Lucas O. Maia, Carolina M. Massarentti & Luís F. Tófoli

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Ayahuasca and tobacco smoking cessation: results from an online survey in Brazil

https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-022-06063-2

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Published in
Psychopharmacology
February 18, 2022
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Study details

Compounds studied
Ayahuasca

Topics studied
Smoking Addiction

Study characteristics
Survey

Participants
441 Humans

Authors

Authors associated with this publication with profiles on Blossom

Luís Tófoli
Luís Tófoli is a professor at UNICAMP and one of the organizers of ICARO, his work is mostly done in Brazil and focused on ayahuasca.