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Ayahuasca Reduces Depression Symptoms, According to Brazilian Study

06/15/2018 - 11h58



A rigorous scientific study that was conducted over the course of three years has demonstrated that two plants can be highly effective when it comes to treating depression symptoms in patients who were unable to treat the illness with the drugs that are currently available on the market.

The finding is good news for the 100 million people or so with depression that does not respond to treatment, though it may not look good for the editors of 12 separate journals who turned the study down.

The study was published for the first time on Friday (the 15th) - one year and five months after it was submitted to a journal for the first time. The study will be published in the University of Cambridge's "Psychological Medicine": the 13th journal it was submitted to.

"The antidepressant effects of psychedelic Ayahuasca in treatment-resistant depression: a randomized placebo-controlled trial" was conducted at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN). The lead author is Dráulio Araújo.

The researcher pointed out that he always got positive feedback from editors, even though they always ended up not publishing the study.

Among the factors that may have weighed the study down are the fact that it was available on bioaRxiv; that the study was from a peripheral country; and finally, the study is on hallucinogenic products - which can't be patented.

Ayahuasca is a tea made from the vines and leaves of the Mariri and Chacrona plants. Ingesting the tea typically leads to hallucinations, nausea and diarrhea.

Like other psychedelic drugs, Ayahuasca seems to act on parts of the brain involved in the processing of moods and emotions that are sensitive to serotonin: a neurotransmitter.

It is unclear what the mechanism is behind Ayahuasca that makes it a potential antidepressant. "It is important to point out that Ayahuasca is still an experimental treatment. It's therapeutic use has not been regulated yet," said Luis Fernando Tófoli, psychiatrist, co-author of the article.


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