Timothy Leary had LSD. Now ayahuasca’s the thing.
Ayahuasca, or yage, yet another min-altering drug, as if there weren’t enough out there.
But some scientists—and users—warn that ayahuasca can be dangerous. It can be fatal when mixed with other drugs, such as antidepressants, and should be avoided by those who are bipolar or schizophrenic, since it has been known to trigger psychotic episodes. In 2012, a young man from California died after taking ayahuasca in Peru. And last year a Canadian tourist killed a Briton during a nighttime ritual that local authorities are still investigating.
The brew is made by boiling together a jungle vine called Banisteriopsis caapi with the leaves of a shrub that contains dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, a psychedelic that is illegal in the U.S. DMT can cause seizures and, in high doses, comas and respiratory arrests, said Mike Colston, a U.S. Navy captain who heads a Department of Defense agency in charge of studying psychological health and brain injury. The hallucinations caused by ayahuasca can be so traumatic that they can worsen medical conditions such as PTSD, Dr. Colston cautioned.
Look, guys, I’m a mom, and my reaction is, “stay away from that stuff.”