One of the first questions people have about ayahuasca is, “what is the effect of ayahuasca on the brain?”
It’s an understandable question, given that ayahuasca is an all-natural plant medicine with psychedelic properties. As with any substance, it’s important to know what to expect and what the potential short-and long-term effects might be.
The problem with phrasing the question as “what does ayahuasca do to the brain?” is that it has a negative connotation. Concussions, heroine, and alcohol “do” things to the brain, and they’re usually all bad.
But, let’s start by reframing our thinking around ayahuasca. Hugs, puppies, warm food, sex, and laughing all do things to the brain, too — incredibly beneficial things, at that.
The best thing you can do to understand the effect of ayahuasca on the brain is to categorize it with these brain-boosting things.
Ayahuasca’s Psychedelic Qualities
To understand the effect of ayahuasca on the brain, it’s imperative to understand its biological and organic chemistry.
Ayahuasca is a sacred brew that is derived from native Amazonian plants. The ayahuasca brew combines two natural herbs: the leaves of Psychotria viridis and the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. On their own, neither of these substances has any remarkable psychedelic effect.
When combined and brewed as a tea — ayahuasca — these plants create a psychedelic effect. That’s because the brew contains DMT. When DMT is normally present, the body digests and deactivates it before it can have any salient effect.
Thanks to the combination of Psychotria viridis and Banisteriopsis caapi, though, the DMT of an ayahuasca brew is absorbed and travels through the blood-brain barrier.
The result? A psychedelic experience that starts in the brain.
What Does Ayahuasca Do To The Brain?
Brain scans of patients on ayahuasca show incredible activity. When ayahuasca (and DMT, the active psychedelic component) reaches the brain, it works to decrease the interactivity of the brain.
The Default Mode Network
Before you dismiss this decrease as negative, think again. Our brains are constantly overstimulated thanks to our overactive “fight or flight” parasympathetic nervous system. We are usually agitated, restless, and fidgety. Ayahuasca, however, essentially acts a chill pill for this default mode network of our brain. We relax into a meditative state.
Indeed, ayahuasca affects the regions of the brain associated with depression, fear, anxiety, and addiction. By calming down these overactive regions, ayahuasca can help the individual to transcend these conditions.
Ayahuasca also activates certain proteins in the brain. These proteins, responsible for neuroplasticity, long-term memory, and regeneration of neurons, bond to receptors in the brain. This bond, in turn, can encourage the body to destroy cancerous cells, regenerate healthy neurons, and keep the brain agile.
No Tolerance Creation
Another interesting aspect of ayahuasca is that it doesn’t create lasting tolerance. This means that ayahuasca drinkers do not need to increase the dosage of ayahuasca to experience an incredible journey.
Additionally, this science suggests that ayahuasca is not addictive. Instead, it’s used to treat substance abuse and dependence issues. Preliminary studies, such as Ayahuasca-Assisted Treatment for Addiction (British Columbia, Canada), corroborate the link between ayahuasca and substance addiction treatment.
Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church Of Mother Earth In Orlando
If you want to experience the meditative and transcendent qualities of ayahuasca, you don’t need to travel to Peru. Instead, join an ayahuasca retreat in Orlando. Our skilled shamans prepare the ayahuasca brew with knowledge and experience, and they will support you along your ayahuasca journey.
Book your ayahuasca retreat in Orlando or attend an information session to learn more about ayahuasca today from Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church of Mother Earth.