ralph metzner hallucinogenic drugs and plant in psychotherapy and shamanism pdf

Ralph metzner hallucinogenic drugs and plant in psychotherapy and shamanism pdf

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Ayahuasca: Tradition, Meaning, & Transformation Victor Cirone

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Ayahuasca is an Amazonian psychoactive brew of two main components. 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.

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Ayahuasca is an Amazonian psychoactive brew of two main components. 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.

Ayahuasca, a psychoactive Amazonian sacrament, has raised increased scientific and lay interest during the last two decades. The name ayahuasca is a compound word in Quechua language, where aya means soul, ancestors or dead persons and wasca huasca means vine or rope Luna, Ayahuasca has been used as a central element of religious, magical, curative, initiation, and other tribal rituals for millennia Naranjo, , originally by the indigenous groups and later by the mestizo populations of the region, who respect the brew as a sacrament and value it as a powerful medicine.

The indigenous and mestizo communities regularly use ayahuasca to treat physical ailments, mental problems and frequently handle their social issues, spiritual crises with the help of the brew. A Peruvian tradition called vegetalismo regards ayahuasca as one of the teacher plants that convey knowledge to humans Luna, , and considers the experience induced by its ingestion trabajo work.

The history of these churches dates back to the first half of the 20th century, and by now they are present in 23 countries de Rios and Rumrrill, ; Liester and Prickett, Obviously there is a striking discrepancy between the indigenous South American and official Western view 1 on ayahuasca use, which calls for scientific explanation and a healthy resolution. Due to the growing popularity of the sacrament, masses of people from all parts of the world travel to the Amazon to participate in ayahuasca rituals.

The principal motivations can be characterized as: seeking improved insight, personal growth; emotional healing; and contact with a sacred nature, deities, spirits and natural energies produced by the ayahuasca Winkelman, During the last couple of years several publications have been written with the goal to summarize our knowledge about ayahuasca from various perspectives see in Labate and Cavnar, The primary aim of this article is to give an overview about the facts and hypotheses related to the possible therapeutic mechanisms of the brew in light of recent advances of the field; with the secondary aim of addressing its known adverse effects.

By adhering to a biopsychosociospiritual model Bishop, the authors will explore every level in the following order: starting with biochemistry, neuropharmacology, physiology, brain imaging, then moving to the psychological effects, social ramifications, and finally addressing spiritual implications. The harmine, tetrahydroharmine, and harmaline work as reversible inhibitors of the A-type isoenzyme of the monoamine oxidase MAO , while tetrahydroharmine also exerts selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor SSRI effects dos Santos, The hallucinogenic component DMT is abundant in the plant kingdom Khan et al.

More than 50 years of research has proven to be insufficient to provide a proper neurobiological description of the role of endogenous hallucinogens. It is obvious that these substances play a role in producing alterations of consciousness such as dreaming, psychosis, and near death experience Strassman, While the scientific knowledge about trace amine associated receptors is rapidly increasing, it is still deficient. However, the Sig-1R action of DMT may turn out to be more revealing about its physiological function see below.

Dimethyltryptamine exerts anxiolytic effects through 5-HT1A receptor agonism Jacob and Presti, , and its psychedelic effect is connected to its 5-HT2A receptor-activating capacity Nichols, However, simple 5-HT receptor mediated actions are not sufficient to explain drug-induced hallucinations since 5-HT itself, and some 5-HT2A agonists i. Over the past two decades, it became clear that different agonists having similar binding affinities for the same sites, could elicit distinct signaling pathways within the cell.

This may explain why lisuride which has a similar receptor binding profile to the chemically similar ergoloid lysergic acid diethylamide LSD , lacks the psychedelic effects of its sister compound Rogawski and Aghajanian, In case of DMT, a recent study Carbonaro et al. Unlike the related tryptamine derivative psilocybin, DMT does not precipitate tolerance upon repeated use Strassman et al.

Cross-talk between receptors by dimerization. The 5-HT2A receptor mediated hallucinogen-specific intracellular pathway requires the dimerization of the 5-HT2A receptor with the mGlu2 receptor. This unique G protein-coupled pathway is associated only with the dimer and not activated by either receptor alone.

Serotonin lacks the mGlu2 receptor binding feature and the psychotropic effects of hallucinogens are abolished by the elimination of the mGlu2 receptor. Sigma receptors were originally misclassified as opioid receptors but later turned out to be non-opioid receptors of their own type. The Sig-1R subclass has been demonstrated to consist of chaperone molecules concentrated in normal cells of the brain, retina, liver, lung, heart, immune system, but also in many tumor lines Maurice and Su, Chaperones are proteins that assist the correct folding of other protein clients.

The Sig-1R chaperon has many unique features with an amino acid sequence distant from mammalian proteins and homologous to fungal sterol isomerases Moebius et al. Sig-1R sites are concentrated in the human brain with the highest densities in the cerebellum, nucleus accumbens, and cerebral cortex Weissman et al. Inside the cell Sig-1R is located mainly at the ER—mitochondrion interface—referred to as the MAM—and regulates cellular bioenergetics, particularly under stressful conditions Su et al. There is another mode of Sig-1R action at the plasma membrane where it translocates under stimulation by agonists.

Its involvement is critically in ion channel activities and neuronal differentiation. The wide scope and effect of ligand binding to Sig-1R indicate that Sig-1Rs are intracellular signal transduction amplifiers Su and Hayashi, The ER-mitochondrion interface at the MAM serves as an important subcellular entity in the regulation of cellular survival via Sig-1R by enhancing the stress—response signaling Mori et al.

Sig-1R also protects the cells against reactive oxygen species and activates the antioxidant response elements Pal et al. More interestingly the induction of Sig-1R can repress cell death signaling: up-regulation of Sig-1R suppresses the apoptosis caused by ER stress Omi et al.

Tryptaminergic trace amines as well as neurosteroids e. The Sig-1R ER chaperone function is essential for the metabotropic receptor signaling and for the survival against cellular, particularly ER stress. Dysfunctional chaperones are responsible for numerous diseases Tsai et al.

Altogether, no other receptor has ever been associated with so many different diseases as the Sig-1R. How those two modes of actions of the Sig-1R may relate to this plethora of diseases remain to be clarified but its protective influence has been verified on various aspects of cellular processes, such as calcium signaling, mitochondrial functions, ER stress, survival and apoptotic pathways to be discussed later , and tumor cell proliferation Tsai et al. As Sig-1Rs are expressed in the immune system, immunomodulatory functions have also been reported in the literature Szabo et al.

Dimethyltryptamine is considered as a natural ligand, an endogenous agonist of the Sig-1R Fontanilla et al. The results of a recent surge in Sig-1R research are pointing toward a different horizon by outlining a physiological role of DMT instead of the long-held pathological view. If the Sig-1R promotes cellular neuronal survival against oxidative stress Pal et al.

Since the Sig-1R is also known to regulate morphogenesis of neuronal cells, such as neurite outgrowth, synaptogenesis, and myelination Ruscher and Wieloch, ; neurorestorative effects are reasonably expected from DMT. In a previous paper Frecska et al. We provided converging evidence that while DMT is a substance which produces powerful psychedelic experiences, it is better understood not as a hallucinogenic drug of abuse, but rather an agent of significant adaptive mechanisms like neuroprotection, neuroregeneration, and immunity.

Nevertheless, immunoregulation by DMT is a bidirectional process. Sig-1Rs are expressed together with 5-HT receptors in immune cells conveying both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory signals Szabo, Human clinical studies showed that ayahuasca can alter the number and distribution of blood immune cells in a way that can increase the antiviral and anti-tumor immunity of the consumer reviewed in Frecska et al.

Ayahuasca also influences the distribution of lymphocyte subpopulation: CD4 lymphocytes decrease and the number of natural killer cells increase significantly with time dos Santos et al.

The possible anti-cancer activity of the decoction makes it a promising candidate for further researches in novel pharmacotherapies Schenberg, Furthermore, DMT may also be an adaptogen increasing the survival rate of neurons or other cell types during acute hypoxia or under chronic oxidative stress. Repeated psychological stress, constant environmental pollution, and smoking behavior are associated with chronic LGI, which is one of the main causes of insulin resistance that is the pathological foundation of metabolic diseases Aseervatham et al.

Moreover, chronic LGI is involved in all stages of the atherosclerotic process and is being increasingly recognized as a universal mechanism in various chronic degenerative diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, certain cancers, neuropsychiatric diseases e. Chronic LGI is closely related to oxidative stress and ER stress, and together they form a molecular web, a network interwoven with loops exacerbating each other Chaudhari et al.

Regulation of protein folding homeostasis proteostasis is essential for the execution of fundamental cellular functions. ER is the cellular organelle responsible for this role. The cause of diseases may be various, but ER stress resulting from chronic LGI or oxidative stress may contribute to the severity and the poor prognosis of the diseased state.

ER function can be altered and made dysfunctional by hypoxia, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, viral infections, disturbances in cellular calcium levels, redox regulation, or by endogenous reactive oxygen species production Chaudhari et al. These so-called stress signals exhaust the ER machinery and result in accumulation of unfolded proteins. All of these disorders may have common mechanism: failure of protein homeostasis.

Originally UPR has a cell protective effect: it prevents overload of ER lumen with newly synthesized proteins and activates degradation of misfolded proteins. However, misfolded proteins directly enter from ER into mitochondria and after prolonged UPR activation they cause dysfunction in energy production Schon and Area-Gomez, ; Volgyi et al.

Targeting Sig-1R by agonists may regulate ER stress and UPR, manage ER perturbations, regulate the formation of toxic misfolded proteins, and prevent the cell-killing apoptotic pathways Rivas et al. The Sig-1R located at the MAM is an excellent candidate for interfering with the conversion of environmental stress in general and psychological stress in particular into cellular stress response by its regulatory effect on signaling between the ER and mitochondrion Hayashi, The polygon of self-destructive forces.

The central position of the Sig-1R illustrates its significant influence in mitigating these pathological processes. The number of angles is rather arbitrary: one may add others like insulin resistance, glutamate release, plasma membrane deficiency, etc.

The psychological aspects will be discussed later. Moreover, the fact that MAO is located inside cells bound to the outer membrane of mitochondria in proximity of the Sig-1R raises the possibility that the synergy between the active compounds of ayahuasca happens not only at the periphery, but also inside neurons and glial cells. Harmala alkaloids have demonstrated strong psychoactive properties Naranjo, , and they act as stimulants on the central nervous system Venault and Chapouthier, An important example of such compounds is the group of antioxidant polyphenols, which can also be linked to the observed immunomodulatory effects Szabo et al.

Antioxidants are known for their capacity of reducing inflammatory processes or even stopping them Grimble, ; Geronikaki and Gavalas, Malignant transformation is also inhibited by polynucleotides through providing protection against oxidative stress for other cellular compounds Marquardt, In addition to the immunomodulatory effects, ayahuasca may also exhibit neuroprotective and neurorestorative qualities. Serotonin stimulation is known to affect the whole organism not just the brain.

It causes vegetative changes such as increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, provokes nausea, vomiting, and pupil dilation Boyer and Shannon, Ayahuasca was found to significantly raise the systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 35 Hgmm and the pulse rate by 26 bpm in a 2 min time interval while the rate of increase declines upon repeated intake Riba et al.

Besides actions on the vegetative nervous system ayahuasca also induces endocrine response. Elevation in prolactin, cortisone, and growth hormone levels has been reported dos Santos et al. While the intravenously injected DMT can cause considerable cardiac stress, it is less burdensome for humans if taken orally. The average ceremonial dose of DMT in ayahuasca preparations is about 27 mg; therefore, the safety margin for ayahuasca is approximately 20 Gable, Scientific sources mention only one fatal case of ayahuasca consumption Sklerov et al.

The toxicological judgment based on uncontrolled street abuse is largely influenced by cases when extra ingredients other than the two basic components e. However, the competitive, reversible nature of the inhibition may explain the lack of well documented serotonin syndrome cases despite the globalization of ayahuasca and probable inclusion of a large number of session participants taking SSRIs.

Ayahuasca: Tradition, Meaning, & Transformation Victor Cirone

M y first psilocybin journey began around an altar in the middle of a second-story loft in a suburb of a small city on the Eastern Seaboard. On this adventure I would have a guide, a therapist who, like an unknown number of other therapists administering psychedelics in America today, must work underground because these drugs are illegal. Seated across the altar from me, Mary who asked that I use a nickname because of the work she does began by reciting, with her eyes closed, a long and elaborate prayer derived from various Native American traditions. The crowded altar also held a branch of sage and a stub of palo santo, a fragrant wood that some Indians in South America burn ceremonially, and the jet-black wing of a crow. The whole scene must sound ridiculously hokey, not to mention laced with cultural appropriation, yet the conviction Mary brought to the ceremony, together with the aromas of the burning plants and the spooky sound of the wing pulsing the air around my head — plus my own nervousness about the journey in store — cast a spell that allowed me to suspend my disbelief. But I think it was her manner, her sobriety and her evident compassion that made me feel sufficiently comfortable to entrust her with, well, my mind.


Western psychotherapy and indigenous shamanic healing systems have both used psychoactive drugs or plants for healing and obtaining knowledge (called.


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Abbott, Andrew. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Abramson, Harold A. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill,

METHODS: archival studies of shamanic literature as well as field research in communities where shamans are actively functioning. RESULTS: the source of shaman-derived information is attributed to such discarnate entities and forces as spirits, ancestors, animal guides, and energetic fields. These agencies were contacted through ritualized drumming, dancing, lucid dreaming, the use of psychotropic plants, focused attention, and other technologies. Further, these data can make important contributions to cognitive neuroscience, social psychology, psychotherapy, and ecological psychology. Key-words: Shamans, shamanism, health care, phenomenology, psychology.

The most potent are members of the genus Psilocybe , such as P. As a prodrug, psilocybin is quickly converted by the body to psilocin , which has mind-altering effects similar, in some aspects, to those of LSD , mescaline , and DMT. In general, the effects include euphoria , visual and mental hallucinations , changes in perception , a distorted sense of time , and spiritual experiences, and can also include possible adverse reactions such as nausea and panic attacks. Imagery found on prehistoric murals and rock paintings of modern-day Spain and Algeria suggests that human usage of psilocybin mushrooms predates recorded history. In Mesoamerica , the mushrooms had long been consumed in spiritual and divinatory ceremonies before Spanish chroniclers first documented their use in the 16th century.

2 comments

  • Charlot R. 13.04.2021 at 07:20

    Western psychotherapy and indigenous shamanic healing systems have both used psychoactive drugs or plants for healing and obtaining.

    Reply
  • Adletvingsnat 16.04.2021 at 07:24

    Ralph Metzner, Ph.D.* and shamanic healing with hallucinogenic plants, there are profound applications of psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and psilo.

    Reply

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