Many travelers visit some Latin American countries with the dream of doing an ayahuasca retreat. But it’s sure? The so-called jungle drug is a medicine with a millenary tradition that acts on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. It is always served in a ceremony in which there is a shaman who guides the initiates. These are the main dangers of using it without the proper accompaniment.
What Is Ayahuasca And What Are Its Effects?
Ayahuasca and yagé are perceived as drugs by the public, but those who use them see them as medicinal drinks. But what is the substance? Ayahuasca tea produced from these plants consists of two species in the Amazon: the vine from which ayahuasca are derived (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the shrub Psychotria viridis (for which DMT is used).
The chagropanga (Diplopterys cabrerana) also contains this substance; with this plant you can also prepare this drink. The mixture of both plants is capable of inducing altered states of consciousness in the person who has taken the drink, and its effects can last between four and eight hours. People often present hallucinations of all kinds and that is why in the Amazon jungle it is ingested accompanied by a spiritual guide or shaman and after performing a special ritual.
For those who ingest it, ayahuasca is a medicinal drink and is used in some rehabilitation therapies to fight addictions, which is why in recent years its consumption has increased outside the Amazon rainforest.
DMT, the psychedelic or hallucinogenic substance found in the tea that is prepared, is found in nature (in addition to plants, it is also in mammals) and is a neuroreceptor that is related to the REM phase of sleep, at the moment when dreams occur. Although in this case, when ingesting the drink the experience usually occurs awake.
5 Dangers Of Doing An Ayahuasca Retreat, The Jungle Drug
It is not common, but there have already been cases of young and healthy people who have reacted badly to this concoction. Henry Miller, a 19-year-old from Bristol, UK, died in April 2014 in Colombia after ingesting ayahuasca during a shamanic ritual in the jungle. It should be known that the infusion is made with two medicinal plants that contain a psychedelic chemical called dimethyltryptamine or DMT, and that it can have negative or even lethal effects on the organisms. In fact, Ayahuasca in Quechua means “vineyard of death” or “vineyard of the soul.”
2. Side Effects
The consumption of ayahuasca can cause immediate effects such as anxiety, panic, euphoria and distortion of reality, typical of psychedelic drugs, in addition to a lot of vomiting. However, experts warn that people who have abused these types of drugs can develop schizophrenia. This possibility must be considered when planning an ayahuasca retreat.
3. Theft or Rape
It is known that buy ayahuasca alters the state of consciousness of those who consume it. Depending on where you do the ayahuasca retreat, there is a risk of being surrounded by unscrupulous people who may take advantage of your astral travel to steal your belongings or, worse, abuse your body. Be very careful when choosing the center or place.
Technically, ayahuasca is not prohibited, but in several countries its active principle, DMT, is. This means that the legal status of one of the active ingredients in this infusion is compared to other drugs such as cocaine or heroin. Whether ayahuasca causes addiction in consumers or, on the contrary, helps to overcome it is still a very controversial issue. If you are considering doing an ayahuasca retreat, you should first inform yourself about this aspect.
Another danger of an ayahuasca retreat is that many unscrupulous are taking advantage of the growing interest that this infusion has aroused for a decade to make cash. This undermines the sacredness of the ritual and exposes users to health-related dangers, because many times the people who are providing ayahuasca do not have the necessary knowledge.