A new study has found that individuals who regularly use ayahuasca engage in a range of positive health behaviors that result in mental and physical health benefits. Ayahuasca is an entheogenic and psychedelic mixed brew that was traditionally used by the ancient Amazonian tribes in South America during religious ceremonies. In recent times, however, the brew has become popular due to its hallucinogenic effects and mental health benefits.
Jose Carlos Bouso, the author of the study, stated that despite the growing popularity of the substances, some nations were prosecuting the use of ayahuasca. The study’s objective was to look into the health risks of the regular use of ayahuasca. The researchers focused their study on the Dutch, whose ayahuasca networks continue to grow. Their study sample comprised of 377 users of ayahuasca, all of whom were between the ages of 22 and 80.
The participants were all required to complete questionnaires that assessed a range of health-related indicators including levels of physical activity, dietary habits, presence of disease or chronic pain, and substance use. The study also assessed other such as like life fulfilment, social support and coping strategies.
The researchers analyzed results from the questionnaires then compared their findings to normative data, finding that those who used ayahuasca weren’t as likely to have chronic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure, when compared to the general population. They also found that ayahuasca users were more physically active and less lonely, in addition to having healthier diets, because they consumed more vegetables and fruits and ate less grains and meat.
In addition to this, the researchers discovered that those who used ayahuasca consumed more LSD, MDMA, psilocybin mushrooms and marijuana while their consumption of tobacco and alcohol was similar to the national average. The researchers also found that individuals with more experience with ayahuasca had higher scores on measures of engaged living and valued living and had also consumed less alcohol during the coronavirus pandemic.
Furthermore, they discovered that about 30% of the participants had attended more than 100 ceremonies, noting that these individuals were more likely to utilize active problem-solving coping strategies.
In an interview, Bouso stated that most of the scientific research published on ayahuasca showed positive facets but noted that the study did have some limitations, including the fact that the sample was comprised of volunteers who had mostly had positive experiences with the brew.
The study’s findings were reported in the “Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.”
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