Some people consider ayahuasca to be a potent treatment for addiction. Remember that it also contains substances that can produce side effects and lead you to question how dangerous is ayahuasca. Some people have had bad trips on the drug as well. If you have had a bad ayahuasca experience and want to find assistance so you do not use it again, consider calling an ayahuasca treatment center today.

What Is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca, also known as aya, yagé, and hoasca, is a psychoactive tea created from a vine, Banisteriopsis caapi.  The plant contains MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) and the psychedelic substance dimethyltryptamine (DMT), both substances that can affect brain chemistry.

These plant substances may alter the consciousness of the people who use them. Users may experience intense emotional, auditory, and visual side effects. They may vomit or have diarrhea. Many believe that people should not use ayahuasca at all and if they do use it, they should only do so under the supervision of a trained shaman or another experienced person. They do not recommend it due to the nature of the negative side effects it may produce.

What Are the Side Effects of Ayahuasca?

Since Banisteriopsis caapi is a plant, some people believe that it is safe to use. Yet there are always risks when using any type of substance that contains drugs, including this one.

There are many effects of ayahuasca. There deaths after using this substance. Since it produces such intense effects, this tea or brew can be dangerous. It is also difficult to know the strength of one batch of ayahuasca to the next. Many users have no idea how much of the substance they are using. Nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, and altered perception are just some of the side effects of ayahuasca.

How long are you high on ayahuasca? Generally, the effects of the drugs in ayahuasca begin around thirty minutes to one hour after using it. The peak effects from the drugs generally occur around one to two hours after ingestion while the effects will last between four to six hours total.

Physical effects of ayahuasca may be unpleasant. For example, people may experience diarrhea and vomiting. Some people think these effects are signs that the body is purifying itself.

In some cases, such side effects can be fatal, because they may severely dehydrate the body. Other ayahuasca dangers include seizures and cardiac arrest. In addition, if someone uses both an antidepressant and ayahuasca, it can produce serotonin syndrome, which can be fatal. Some other side effects of ayahuasca include:


  • Anxiety

  • Increase in blood pressure

  • Increase in body temperature

  • Increase in heart rate

  • Euphoric sensations

  • Paranoia


Longer-term side effects of ayahuasca are still not fully known. Some research claims that hallucinogens may contribute to psychosis. Misusing hallucinogens may produce a disorder known as a hallucinogenic persisting disorder. There are some studies that show that ayahuasca can alter users’ personalities and the structure of their brains.

How Dangerous Is Ayahuasca?

In addition, there are other dangers of ayahuasca. People with mental health issues may want to avoid using the substance. They could experience severe emotions from their traumatic experiences. If people are vulnerable emotionally, they may experience terror when using this substance.  They may experience high levels of psychological stress and other negative consequences.

There are unexperienced shamans posing as experts, just to make money. Using this drug under supervision may be dangerous. Doing so without expert guidance may be even more dangerous. The mixture is potent and may not be safe. People under the influence of ayahuasca may be vulnerable and may face several negative consequences, including abuse, rape, and even death.

Another danger may occur when toe, a toxic plant, is used in this mixture. The plant is also known as angel’s trumpet or brugmansia. It is well-known for the hallucinations it causes. Some inexperienced and untrained shamans may add this toxic plant to ayahuasca.

While toe is dangerous in any form or amount, adding too much may cause permanent damage or death. While some people think that using ayahuasca may help them treat alcohol or drug addictions, the dangers of this substance are just not worth it.

There are not enough scientific studies to prove that ayahuasca is effective or even safe. Since many people with addictions also have mental health issues, the substance may be even more dangerous for these people.

Treating an Addiction to Ayahuasca

It is possible for people to become addicted to ayahuasca. While many people experience negative side effects from the substance, there are some who like the effects it produces and become addicted to it. If you are a person who has become addicted, there are treatment programs available to help you.

Considerations When Choosing a Drug Rehab Center

When choosing a drug rehab center, there are some things you may want to consider. You should weigh every benefit or risk before you choose a rehab center.

It is best to choose a rehab center that is accredited and licensed. Your center should have a solid reputation as well. Make sure that the center uses evidence-based therapy treatment options, which are therapy options that are backed by research.

Be aware that everyone has different addiction recovery experiences. It is helpful to find a drug rehab center that will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan. It is also a good idea to attend both group and individual therapy sessions while going to rehab. Participating in dual diagnosis and family therapy is also a good idea.

You may want to talk to doctors and therapists about your need for drug rehab. They may have some suggestions about your best course of treatment. They may be able to help you choose the safest, most effective rehab center for your addiction treatment needs.

Final Words

For those considering the use of ayahuasca to overcome their addiction, remember when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Addiction is a disease. You cannot fix it just by taking something.

A long-term recovery program is often the best solution for overcoming drug addiction. You need to be dedicated, persistent and committed to your recovery program. Recovery is not a one-time event. You must be willing to commit time and effort to your recovery if you are going to succeed.

People may wonder why is ayahuasca illegal? The DMT in ayahuasca is an illegal substance and classified on Schedule I of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) list of controlled substances.  Given these legal implications and its severe side effects, using ayahuasca is not worth taking the risk.

If you already suffer from drug addiction, using substances such as ayahuasca is not the answer. An addiction cannot be cured, but it can be treated. If you have become addicted to ayahuasca, there are treatment programs. Get the help you need today.

Questions or concerns about ayahuasca?  Reach out to Sunshine Behavioral Health today.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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