The vine of the soul : Antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of Ayahuasca
Sammanfattning: Depression and anxiety are two of the most common psychiatric disorders and leading causes of disability. Antidepressants and anxiolytics, though revolutionary, do not treat all those suffering from these diseases satisfactorily. Psychedelics are currently under investigation as remedies for several ailments, including depression and anxiety. One classical psychedelic, Ayahuasca, is a concoction of the plants Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis and has historically been used by Amazonian natives for therapeutic and ritual purposes. The brew contains monoamine oxidase-A inhibitors (MAOI) and N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), producing an altered state of consciousness characterized by visions and introspection. In this systematic review, I aimed to determine the antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of Ayahuasca. Sixteen articles out of 687 hits on electronic databases (Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed) were finally included after closer examination. The studies range in quality and are performed on healthy volunteers and volunteers with self-reported depression or anxiety and patients suffering from treatment-resistant and major depression. Ayahuasca seems to be well tolerated and safe to administer and consistently produce antidepressant and anxiolytic effects in the studies. However, the description of the sometimes arbitrary results vary, and higher-quality research is needed before we can be certain of Ayahuasca as a remedy.
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