Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Psychoactive Drugs. 2016 Jul-Aug;48(3):195-205. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2016.1188225. Epub 2016 May 26.

Effects of Ayahuasca and its Alkaloids on Drug Dependence: A Systematic Literature Review of Quantitative Studies in Animals and Humans.

Author information

1
a Researcher, Institute of Biosciences, University Estadual Paulista "Júlio de Mesquita Filho" , Botucatu , Brazil.
2
b Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neurosciences and Behavior, Ribeirão Preto Medical School , University of São Paulo , Ribeirão Preto , Brazil.
3
c Advisory Board, International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research & Service , Amsterdam , The Netherlands.
4
d Professor, Department of Neurosciences and Behavior, Ribeirão Preto Medical School , University of São Paulo , Ribeirão Preto , Brazil.
5
e Researcher, National Institute of Science and Technology-Translational Medicine , Ribeirão Preto , Brazil.
6
f Psychiatrist, Department of Neurosciences and Behavior, Ribeirão Preto Medical School , University of São Paulo , Ribeirão Preto , Brazil.
7
g Professor, Department of Neurosciences and Behavior, Ribeirão Preto Medical School , University of São Paulo , Ribeirão Preto , Brazil.
8
h Researcher, National Institute of Science and Technology-Translational Medicine , Ribeirão Preto , Brazil.

Abstract

Recently, the anti-addictive potential of ayahuasca, a dimethyltryptamine(DMT)- and β-carboline-rich hallucinogenic beverage traditionally used by indigenous groups of the Northwest Amazon and currently by syncretic churches worldwide, has received increased attention. To better evaluate this topic, we performed a systematic literature review using the PubMed database to find quantitative studies (using statistical analysis) that assessed the effects of ayahuasca or its components in drug-related symptoms or disorders. We found five animal studies (using harmaline, harmine, or ayahuasca) and five observational studies of regular ayahuasca consumers. All animal studies showed improvement of biochemical or behavioral parameters related to drug-induced disorders. Of the five human studies, four reported significant reductions of dependence symptoms or substance use, while one did not report significant results. The mechanisms responsible for the anti-addictive properties of ayahuasca and its alkaloids are not clarified, apparently involving both peripheral MAO-A inhibition by the β-carbolines and central agonism of DMT at 5-HT2A receptors expressed in brain regions related to the regulation of mood and emotions. Although results are promising, controlled studies are needed to replicate these preliminary findings.

KEYWORDS:

Ayahuasca; dependence; dimethyltryptamine; hallucinogens; harmine

PMID:
27230395
DOI:
10.1080/02791072.2016.1188225
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center