5 People Describe The Power Of Ayahuasca Ceremonies

Photographed by Megan Madden.
As cannabis becomes legal in several states across the United States, and people are micro-dosing psychedelics like psilocybin to help with anxiety and depression, it makes sense why ayahuasca, a traditional hallucinogenic tea, has entered the mainstream realm, too. Once considered a traditional Amazonian medicinal tool, the psychedelic tea has a hallucinogenic effect that proponents swear is life-changing. If you've never heard of ayahuasca before, it's an indigenous Amazonian plant that's used to create a ceremonial tea.
This tea contains stems of the ayahuasca plant, and leaves from another plant that naturally contain N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (aka "DMT"), according to the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council, a nonprofit aimed at sustainable and safe use of traditional medicinal plants. When sipped during an ayahuasca ceremony, ayahuasca can lead to hallucinations, often involving death, family, and relationships. In fact, the word "ayahuasca" means "vine of the death" in Quechuan languages. People may participate in ayahuasca ceremonies several times over the course of a week, month, or other period of time.
Historically, ayahuasca ceremonies were performed by skilled medicine workers called shamans, and were believed to cure ailments and heal people's spiritual problems. Although an ayahuasca ceremony isn't necessarily religious in nature, most people report coming to terms with their own spirituality during a trip. These days, people seek out ayahuasca because they hear that the effects can be deeply profound.
In truth, it may take a while for the benefits of ayahuasca to be broadly accepted. Technically, ayahuasca is illegal in the United States, because DMT is classified as a Schedule I drug. But on Reddit, many people share the experiences they've had with the medicinal tea and the trips that accompany it. Read on to learn how some say it's changed their lives.
Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal or harmful activity, and would like to remind its readers that DMT is a Schedule I drug and illegal in the United States.

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