A recent study conducted by a team of Brazilians from the University of São Paulo showed ayahuasca to alleviate symptoms of depression after a single session, and that antidepressant effects lasted for weeks to follow. Although the sample size was small — just six people — the results are promising, and the team is now conducting research on a wider sample size.
Recently, one of the most prestigious scientific journals, Nature, highlighted researchconducted by a team of Brazilian from the University of São Paulo on the antidepressant effects of a single dose of ayahuasca on a group of six individuals suffering from major depression. In that study, researchers demonstrated that ayahuasca was able to alleviate symptoms of depression within hours of intake and that the antidepressant effects persisted for weeks afterward.
While that study was the first ever to clinically assess the effects of ayahuasca on patients with depression and had very promising results, the small number of volunteers (six people) only hinted at the incredible potential of the plant medicine as a treatment for depression and anxiety.
Now, new research by the same team has sought to address some of the limitations of the previous study by increasing the number of participants and including neuroimaging techniques to assess blood flow in the brain after exposure to ayahuasca.
Seventeen volunteers with recurrent major depression, who did not experience any therapeutic relief from their current antidepressant medications, were included in this latest study. Volunteers spent two weeks in an inpatient psychiatric clinic prior to the study without taking any medications or recreational drugs. None of the volunteers had ever used ayahuasca before nor had any experience with illicit drugs. At the time of the study, three volunteers were experiencing a mild depressive episode, thirteen a moderate episode, and one a severe episode.
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