Hypotheses regarding the mechanisms of ayahuasca in the treatment of addictions

This hypothesis paper (2012) proposes four unique but interrelated mechanisms in the domains of biochemical, physiological, and psychological pathways and transcendent experiences, through which ayahuasca may exert anti-addictive effects.

Abstract

“Ayahuasca is a medicinal plant mixture utilized by indigenous peoples throughout the Amazon River basin for healing purposes. The โ€œvine of the soulโ€ or โ€œvine of death,โ€ as it is known in South America, contains a combination of monoamine oxidase inhibitors and N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT). When ingested together, these medicines produce profound alterations in consciousness. Increasingly, ayahuasca is being utilized to treat addictions. However, the mechanism of action by which ayahuasca treats addictions remains unclear. We offer four hypotheses to explain possible biochemical, physiological, psychological, and transcendent mechanisms by which ayahuasca may exert its anti-addiction effects.”

Authors: Mitchell B. Liester & James I. Prickett

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