Acute Biphasic Effects of Ayahuasca

Abstract

Ritual use of ayahuasca, an amazonian Amerindian medicine turned sacrament in syncretic religions in Brazil, is rapidly growing around the world. Because of this internationalization, a comprehensive understanding of the pharmacological mechanisms of action of the brew and the neural correlates of the modified states of consciousness it induces is important. Employing a combination of electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings and quantification of ayahuasca's compounds and their metabolites in the systemic circulation we found ayahuasca to induce a biphasic effect in the brain. This effect was composed of reduced power in the alpha band (8-13 Hz) after 50 minutes from ingestion of the brew and increased slow- and fast-gamma power (30-50 and 50-100 Hz, respectively) between 75 and 125 minutes. Alpha power reductions were mostly located at left parieto-occipital cortex, slow-gamma power increase was observed at left centro-parieto-occipital, left fronto-temporal and right frontal cortices while fast-gamma increases were significant at left centro-parieto-occipital, left fronto-temporal, right frontal and right parieto-occipital cortices. These effects were significantly associated with circulating levels of ayahuasca's chemical compounds, mostly N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), harmine, harmaline and tetrahydroharmine and some of their metabolites. An interpretation based on a cognitive and emotional framework relevant to the ritual use of ayahuasca, as well as it's potential therapeutic effects is offered.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137202

Extracted Key Phrases

0204020162017
Citations per Year

Citation Velocity: 13

Averaging 13 citations per year over the last 2 years.

Learn more about how we calculate this metric in our FAQ.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Schenberg2015AcuteBE, title={Acute Biphasic Effects of Ayahuasca}, author={Eduardo Ekman Schenberg and Jo{\~a}o Alexandre and Renato Filev and Andre Mascioli Cravo and Jo{\~a}o R. Sato and Suresh D. Muthukumaraswamy and Maur{\'i}cio Yonamine and Marian Waguespack and Izabela Lomnicka and Steven A. Barker and Dartiu Xavier da Silveira and Dante R. Chialvo}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2015} }