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Concept: Dimethyltryptamine

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Ayahuasca is a natural psychedelic brew, which contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Its potential as a psychiatric medicine has recently been demonstrated and its non-medical use around the world appears to be growing. We aimed to investigate well-being and problematic alcohol use in ayahuasca users, and ayahuasca’s subjective effects. An online, self-selecting, global survey examining patterns of drug use was conducted in 2015 and 2016 (n = 96,901). Questions were asked about: use of ayahuasca, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and magic mushrooms; demographics, current well-being and past-year problematic alcohol use of past-year ayahuasca users and comparison drug users; and subjective effects of ayahuasca and comparison drugs. Ayahuasca users (n = 527) reported greater well-being than both classic psychedelic users (n = 18,138) and non-psychedelic drug-using respondents (n = 78,236). Ayahuasca users reported less problematic drinking than classic psychedelic users, although both groups reported greater problematic drinking than the other respondents. Ayahuasca’s acute subjective effects usually lasted for six hours and were most strongly felt one hour after consumption. Within our online, self-selecting survey, ayahuasca users reported better well-being than comparison groups and less problematic drinking than classic psychedelic users. Future longitudinal studies of international samples and randomised controlled trials are needed to dissect the effects of ayahuasca on these outcomes.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Drug addiction, Lysergic acid diethylamide, Lysergic acid, Ergot, Psilocybin mushrooms, Psychedelics, dissociatives and deliriants, Dimethyltryptamine

139

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) is a rare, and therefore, poorly understood condition linked to hallucinogenic drugs consumption. The prevalence of this disorder is low; the condition is more often diagnosed in individuals with a history of previous psychological issues or substance misuse, but it can arise in anyone, even after a single exposure to triggering drugs. The aims of the present study are to review all the original studies about HPPD in order to evaluate the following: (1) the possible suggested etiologies; (2) the possible hallucinogens involved in HPPD induction; (3) the clinical features of both HPPD I and II; (4) the possible psychiatric comorbidities; and (5) the available and potential therapeutic strategies. We searched PubMed to identify original studies about psychedelics and Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). Our research yielded a total of 45 papers, which have been analyzed and tabled to provide readers with the most updated and comprehensive literature review about the clinical features and treatment options for HPPD.

Concepts: Psychology, Psychedelic drug, Salvinorin A, Psychedelics, dissociatives and deliriants, Dimethyltryptamine, Psychedelic, Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder

59

Ayahuasca is an Amazonian psychoactive brew of two main components. Its active agents are β-carboline and tryptamine derivatives. As a sacrament, ayahuasca is still a central element of many healing ceremonies in the Amazon Basin and its ritual consumption has become common among the mestizo populations of South America. Ayahuasca use amongst the indigenous people of the Amazon is a form of traditional medicine and cultural psychiatry. During the last two decades, the substance has become increasingly known among both scientists and laymen, and currently its use is spreading all over in the Western world. In the present paper we describe the chief characteristics of ayahuasca, discuss important questions raised about its use, and provide an overview of the scientific research supporting its potential therapeutic benefits. A growing number of studies indicate that the psychotherapeutic potential of ayahuasca is based mostly on the strong serotonergic effects, whereas the sigma-1 receptor (Sig-1R) agonist effect of its active ingredient dimethyltryptamine raises the possibility that the ethnomedical observations on the diversity of treated conditions can be scientifically verified. Moreover, in the right therapeutic or ritual setting with proper preparation and mindset of the user, followed by subsequent integration of the experience, ayahuasca has proven effective in the treatment of substance dependence. This article has two important take-home messages: (1) the therapeutic effects of ayahuasca are best understood from a bio-psycho-socio-spiritual model, and (2) on the biological level ayahuasca may act against chronic low grade inflammation and oxidative stress via the Sig-1R which can explain its widespread therapeutic indications.

Concepts: Scientific method, Amazon River, South America, Amazon Basin, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Peru, Amazon Rainforest, Dimethyltryptamine

35

Ayahuasca is a South American psychotropic plant tea traditionally used in Amazonian shamanism. The tea contains the psychedelic 5-HT2A receptor agonist N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), plus β-carboline alkaloids with monoamine oxidase-inhibiting properties. Increasing evidence from anecdotal reports and open-label studies indicates that ayahuasca may have therapeutic effects in treatment of substance use disorders and depression. A recent study on the psychological effects of ayahuasca found that the tea reduces judgmental processing and inner reactivity, classic goals of mindfulness psychotherapy. Another psychological facet that could potentially be targeted by ayahuasca is creative divergent thinking. This mode of thinking can enhance and strengthen psychological flexibility by allowing individuals to generate new and effective cognitive, emotional, and behavioral strategies. The present study aimed to assess the potential effects of ayahuasca on creative thinking.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Receptor antagonist, Thought, Serotonin, Dimethyltryptamine, Shamanism, Convergent and divergent production

28

Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic botanical mixture originating in the Amazon area where it is used ritually, but is now being taken globally. The 2 main constituents of ayahuasca are N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a hallucinogen, and harmine, a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) which attenuates the breakdown of DMT, which would otherwise be broken down very quickly after oral consumption. Recent developments in ayahuasca use include the sale of these compounds on the internet and the substitution of related botanical (anahuasca) or synthetic (pharmahuasca) compounds to achieve the same desired hallucinogenic effects. One intriguing result of ayahuasca use appears to be improved mental health and a reduction in recidivism to alternate (alcohol, cocaine) drug use. In this review we discuss the pharmacology of ayahuasca, with a focus on harmine, and suggest pharmacological mechanisms for the putative reduction in recidivism to alcohol and cocaine misuse. These pharmacological mechanisms include MAOI, effects at 5-HT(2A) and imidazoline receptors and inhibition of dual-specificity tyrosine-phosphorylation regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A) and the dopamine transporter. We also speculate on the therapeutic potential of harmine in other CNS conditions.

Concepts: Drug, Serotonin, Dopamine, Monoamine oxidase, Monoamine oxidase inhibitor, Psychedelics, dissociatives and deliriants, Dimethyltryptamine, Ayahuasca

27

Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is an interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-induced tryptophan-degrading enzyme, producing kynurenine (KYN) that participates in the mechanism of tumor immune tolerance. Thus, IDO inhibition has been considered a strategy for anticancer therapy. The aim of this study was to identify whether the metabolites originated from the competitive routes of tryptophan metabolism, such as the serotonergic or N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) pathways, have inhibitory effects on recombinant human IDO (rhIDO) activity. Serotonin and melatonin had no effect; on the other hand, tryptamine (TRY) and DMT modulated the activity of rhIDO as classical non-competitive inhibitors, with Ki values of 156 and 506 μM, respectively. This inhibitory effect was also observed on constitutively expressed or IFN-γ-induced IDO in the A172 human glioma cell line. TRY and DMT increased the cytotoxic activity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in co-culture assays. We conclude that the IDO inhibition by TRY and DMT contributed to a more effective tumor-reactive response by the PBMCs. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Immune system, Cell, Enzyme inhibitor, Serotonin, Inhibitor, Tryptophan, PBMC, Dimethyltryptamine

9

Ayahuasca is an Amazonian botanical hallucinogenic brew which contains dimethyltryptamine, a 5-HT2A receptor agonist, and harmine, a monoamine-oxidase A inhibitor. Our group recently reported that ayahuasca administration was associated with fast-acting antidepressive effects in 6 depressive patients. The objective of the present work was to assess the antidepressive potentials of ayahuasca in a bigger sample and to investigate its effects on regional cerebral blood flow. In an open-label trial conducted in an inpatient psychiatric unit, 17 patients with recurrent depression received an oral dose of ayahuasca (2.2 mL/kg) and were evaluated with the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale, the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, the Young Mania Rating Scale, and the Clinician Administered Dissociative States Scale during acute ayahuasca effects and 1, 7, 14, and 21 days after drug intake. Blood perfusion was assessed eight hours after drug administration by means of single photon emission tomography. Ayahuasca administration was associated with increased psychoactivity (Clinician Administered Dissociative States Scale) and significant score decreases in depression-related scales (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale, Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale) from 80 minutes to day 21. Increased blood perfusion in the left nucleus accumbens, right insula and left subgenual area, brain regions implicated in the regulation of mood and emotions, were observed after ayahuasca intake. Ayahuasca was well tolerated. Vomiting was the only adverse effect recorded, being reported by 47% of the volunteers. Our results suggest that ayahuasca may have fast-acting and sustained antidepressive properties. These results should be replicated in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.

Concepts: Serotonin, Antidepressant, Bipolar disorder, Major depressive disorder, Psychiatry, Single photon emission computed tomography, Dimethyltryptamine, Ayahuasca

8

Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic beverage that combines the action of the 5-HT2A/2C agonist N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) from Psychotria viridis with the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) induced by beta-carbonyls from Banisteriopsis caapi. Previous investigations have highlighted the involvement of ayahuasca with the activation of brain regions known to be involved with episodic memory, contextual associations and emotional processing after ayahuasca ingestion. Moreover long term users show better performance in neuropsychological tests when tested in off-drug condition. This study evaluated the effects of long-term administration of ayahuasca on Morris water maze (MWM), fear conditioning and elevated plus maze (EPM) performance in rats. Behavior tests started 48h after the end of treatment. Freeze-dried ayahuasca doses of 120, 240 and 480 mg/kg were used, with water as the control. Long-term administration consisted of a daily oral dose for 30 days by gavage. The behavioral data indicated that long-term ayahuasca administration did not affect the performance of animals in MWM and EPM tasks. However the dose of 120 mg/kg increased the contextual conditioned fear response for both background and foreground fear conditioning. The tone conditioned response was not affected after long-term administration. In addition, the increase in the contextual fear response was maintained during the repeated sessions several weeks after training. Taken together, these data showed that long-term ayahuasca administration in rats can interfere with the contextual association of emotional events, which is in agreement with the fact that the beverage activates brain areas related to these processes.

Concepts: Psychology, Monoamine oxidase, Monoamine oxidase inhibitor, Dimethyltryptamine, Ayahuasca, Harmala alkaloid, Psychotria viridis, Banisteriopsis caapi

7

Ayahuasca is the Quechua name for a tea obtained from the vine Banisteriopsis caapi, and used for ritual purposes by the indigenous populations of the Amazon. The use of a variation of the tea that combines B. caapi with the leaves of the shrub Psychotria viridis has experienced unprecedented expansion worldwide for its psychotropic properties. This preparation contains the psychedelic 5-HT2A receptor agonist N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) from P. viridis, plus β-carboline alkaloids with monoamine-oxidase-inhibiting properties from B. caapi. Acute administration induces a transient modified state of consciousness characterized by introspection, visions, enhanced emotions and recollection of personal memories. A growing body of evidence suggests that ayahuasca may be useful to treat substance use disorders, anxiety and depression. Here we review the pharmacology and neuroscience of ayahuasca, and the potential psychological mechanisms underlying its therapeutic potential. We discuss recent findings indicating that ayahuasca intake increases certain mindfulness facets related to acceptance and to the ability to take a detached view of one’s own thoughts and emotions. Based on the available evidence, we conclude that ayahuasca shows promise as a therapeutic tool by enhancing self-acceptance and allowing safe exposure to emotional events. We postulate that ayahuasca could be of use in the treatment of impulse-related, personality and substance use disorders and also in the handling of trauma. More research is needed to assess the full potential of ayahuasca in the treatment of these disorders.

Concepts: Psychology, Serotonin, Emotion, Dimethyltryptamine, Ayahuasca, Psychotria viridis, Banisteriopsis caapi, Santo Daime

6

Ayahuasca is a psychotropic plant tea used for ritual purposes by the indigenous populations of the Amazon. In the last two decades, its use has expanded worldwide. The tea contains the psychedelic 5-HT2A receptor agonist N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), plus β-carboline alkaloids with monoamine-oxidase-inhibiting properties. Acute administration induces an introspective dream-like experience characterized by visions and autobiographic and emotional memories. Studies of long-term users have suggested its therapeutic potential, reporting that its use has helped individuals abandon the consumption of addictive drugs. Furthermore, recent open-label studies in patients with treatment-resistant depression found that a single ayahuasca dose induced a rapid antidepressant effect that was maintained weeks after administration. Here, we conducted an exploratory study of the psychological mechanisms that could underlie the beneficial effects of ayahuasca.

Concepts: Nicotine, Receptor antagonist, Serotonin, Morphine, Drug addiction, Inverse agonist, Cocaine, Dimethyltryptamine