People don’t do ayahuasca for the 4 hour effect, they do it for what happens AFTER. Understand ayahuasca as a door, you have to go through the door to get on the right path. The goal is not the period spent at the door, which is the case with drugs.
When you do your research on ayahuasca online, you will come up with two camps. One - ayahuasca is a drug and will probably kill you or you will go crazy. Two - ayahuasca is a cure.
As with all information on internet, you should be careful with believing everything as you don’t know who the author is, what experience they had, if they followed the requirements for drinking ayahuasca, etc. On the internet you find good and bad reviews on everything, including your favorite cell phone brand.
Auahuasca a drug?
Ayahuasca is classified as a drug, illegal substance everywhere except South America (where it grows). Ayahuasca - the mixture of 2 plants, contains DMT which is illegal in our society. Ayahuasca does not contain DMT, it just makes it possible to absorb and utilize.
First, define drugs. That’s a problem, drugs = “a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.” Drugstore - do they sell drugs there? Obviously not.
Wikipedia: "Caffeine, contained in coffee and other beverages, is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world. 90% of North American adults consume the substance on a daily basis.”
What we need to look at with drugs is addiction or rather degree of addiction and degree of side effects or withdrawal effects and social impact.
Does the substance cause addiction?
Does it have unwanted / unpleasant side effects?
Do you need to increase the dose to get the same effect?
Does it change one’s behavior so that it disrupts family relations and friendship in a negative way?
Personally, I would add - does it lead to long term happiness? Does it affect the society somehow?
It is true that during ayahuasca ceremony you are in an expanded state of consciousness - your brain simply shuts up for a few hours, just like in transcendental meditation, higher self meditation or hypnosis sessions. You wouldn't be able to drive a car in these states.
So, you have "western culture" that came to know ayahuasca a few decades ago and put a stamp on it "illegal". Than you have thousands of years of spiritual work with ayahuasca in South America and it is respected as the strongest plant medicine. And we share this view based on our experience.
Some poeple find it hard to have a day without a coffee. It is addictive but for me personally, it’s just a habit, as well as oats for breakfast. It’s not addictive for me. Do I need more? No. Side effects? No. Relationhips are the same with or without coffee. And it has nothing to do with happiness. No effect on society.
Addictive, people need higher doses to get the same effect, side effect after a while is undesirable, withdrawal is harsh and takes time, usually people need help as the drug controls them and can’t just stop using it. It does disrupt relationships and family, alters bahavior to the negative over time. Definitely does not lead to long-term heppiness. When on cocain, people would do things they wouldn’t normally do. It is usually used as a solution to a problem, however, it does not solve anything but eventually leads to destruction. Difficult to treat this addiction but we have experience with treating it with ayahuasca.
Addictive, people use it to feel better while smoking it, it’s hard to stop using it. After the effect is gone people want more. It can be used as a solution to a problem, which it is not, to calm down, relax. People smoking marijuana can smoke many years, be harmless to others, it just helps them deal with reality in their own way. However, it does not fix anything just like other drugs. It does have healing properties, however, when you smoke it and the effects are gone, you need to repeat, there is no lasting effect in this case. There are creams used to treat skin conditions, very effective, etc.
Antidepressants and other prescription drugs
Officially prescribed drugs to make life tolerable, there is no intention at healing you, helping you, just suffer the rest of your life. Just like drugs, people turn to these substances to feel better, to solve a problem they are reluctant to solve or don’t understand. They think that a doctor gives them medicine, however, a doctor simply prescribes drugs. The way out, as with other substances, is to connect to your intuition, see the truth, understand and forgive. Easier said that done…ayahuasca does this for you.
Did you know that Prozac and Lexapro are FDA approved for kids and recommended and widely prescribed as a "treatment" for depression? Millions of babies and kids under 6 are on antidepressants and antipsychotics. See: https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/children-on-psychiatric-drugs/
When you go through a ceremony, you lie down and kind of meditate. It’s not about bringing you happiness or more energy at that moment or change your behavior. Also, you usually say to yourself you never want to do it again. There is no way you can become addicted. There is no withdrawal, no side effects. Purging is the effect. Not side effect. You don’t need to increase the dose, you can increase to get more effect or different effect. You can do hundreds of ceremonies with a little tea, as the shamans. It can change your behavior - it can make you better, it can show you the right path, which, when followed, may disrupt your pre-ayahuasca relationships based on different values from after-ayahuasca. And it does lead to long-term happiness if you take the advise or adhere to what you were shown.
Ayahuasca is not addictive and it is not a drug as we understand drugs. You can do it 3 or 4 times and be fixed for the rest of your life. We talk from experience, not theory.
Why people drink ayahuasca
The reason is very simple - get healing, get rid of addictions caused by real drugs and prescribed medication, get rid of depression, find the right path, get more connection with one’s guides or higher self or source, understand the purpose of your life.
Generally, people turn to ayahuasca to understand why they are not happy and what they should do to have a happy life. With these questions, however, you won’t turn to alcohol or drugs or antidepressants. All of these substances are used only as a momentary relief of the symptoms, ayahuasca is used to address the cause and provide healing on body and soul.
Drinking ayahuasca has to be done with an experienced shaman in the righ energetically pure environment, such as the Amazon jungle. For some people, the ceremony is really tough, it’s tough 4 hours before the effects go. If ayahuasca was legal, it would get misused as a lot of other good things and would receive negative reputation. This is something you really don’t want to do with your mates or by yourself. The true reason why it’s illegal, though, we believe, is that the government and medical industry don’t want people to be healthy (ie. lose customers) and they don’t want you to see the truth about them (ie. exploiting people like slaves).
Katerina Townes, co-owner of Lupuna Ayahuasca Healing Center