Psychedelic brew called ayahuasca shows promise in the treatment of eating disorders

published on September 26, 2017 by Eric W. Dolan in PsyPost

Scientists in Canada have found preliminary evidence that a psychedelic drink known as ayahuasca can help people overcome eating disorders.

“I was a psychologist working in eating disorders and colleagues and I were witnessing first-hand the drop-out rates, the relapse rates, even deaths, when I watched a documentary on ayahuasca in the context of addictions,” said Dr. Adèle Lafrance, lead author of the study and a clinical psychologist and associate professor at Laurentian University.

“It featured a prominent physician from Canada and so right then I started to ask questions about its potential for other treatment-resistant disorders such as eating disorders.”

Lafrance and her colleagues recently published their study in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Ayahuasca, a psychedelic brew used for centuries by indigenous Amazon tribes to contact the spiritual world, contains the powerful psychedelic drug dimethyltryptamine (DMT). There has been a growing interest in the drug’s medicinal and therapeutic potential.

The researchers interviewed 16 North Americans who had eating disorders and who had consumed ayahuasca in ceremonial contexts. Ten participants had been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at one point while the other six had been diagnosed with bulimia nervosa.

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