A study that was recently published in the “Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology” has found that ayahuasca could enhance the self-perception of individuals with social anxiety disorder. Ayahuasca is a psychedelic brew that has been used for hundreds of years by indigenous tribes in the Amazon. It contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors and DMT (dimethyltryptamine), another potent psychedelic. Preliminary studies have provided evidence suggesting that ayahuasca is psychologically beneficial to individuals who suffer from depression and anxiety.
Rafael Guimarães dos Santos, the study’s author, states that social anxiety disorder is an under-diagnosed and prevalent disorder with limited treatment options. In the study, dos Santos explains that the disorder is characterized by anxiety during social events, such as talking to other people, eating in public and public speaking. Patients with social anxiety have demonstrated a negative bias towards their social performance as they believe their performance will be judged by other people, in addition to being limited and ineffective. In some cases, he continues, most patients completely avoid social situations, which may interfere with their everyday activities.
Ayahuasca, which possesses anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties, can help modify this negative bias, given its performance enhancing properties. For their study, the researchers recruited 17 participants who had been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Each participant was then assigned randomly to a placebo treatment group or an ayahuasca group.
The study didn’t include participants who have a recurrent use of drugs of abuse; those currently using psychiatric medication; those with other psychiatric diagnoses; those with a past or current history of neurological, liver and cardiovascular ailments; or those who had used ayahuasca prior to the study.
Each participant was instructed to remain introspective and quiet after a dose of placebo or ayahuasca had been administered, with their eyes closed or open. Hours after the drug’s effects had worn off, every participant completed a public speaking test. The researchers observed improvements in self-perception of speech performance, noting that the psychedelic brew was well tolerated by the study population.
This is not to mean, however, that no side effects to the drug were observed. The most significant effects included headaches, confusion, drowsiness, vomiting, nausea and temporary gastrointestinal discomfort.
The study also examined whether ayahuasca affected the recognition of facial expressions. For this, the participants were asked to identify the expressions being exhibited. This is based on evidence that some disorders are characterized by deficits in facial expression recognition.
In an interview, dos Santos stated that more clinical trials on the use of ayahuasca in managing this disorder as well as other anxiety disorders needed to be conducted.
Some companies, including Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN), are also engaged in studying the therapeutic potential of other psychedelic compounds such as psilocybin, and remedies for various mental health disorders could be unveiled in the future as a result of this research.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CYBN
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