In summary, ayahuasca is a brew which has been around for many centuries and is a central part of the culture of many indigenous people in South America. It has gained popularity in the West mostly because of its association with psychedelia and the psychedelic culture that grew from the 1960s onwards, largely due to the availability of LSD. Nevertheless, unlike the many laboratory-created psychedelic drugs that have become available since then, this brew is different insofar as it is formed from natural ingredients. Most people who consume the brew will experience some form of hallucinogenic effect.
To understand this better, it is important to reiterate that the amount of ayahuasca consumed does not have a directly proportional effect on the person taking it. The strength or intensity of each brew is slightly different. Indeed, two people consuming the same brew could have very different experiences from it depending on the internal makeup of their brain and how naturally, or otherwise, they are predisposed to hallucinogens. This is why most people who take the brew will only do so after considerable preparation, including taking a diet that is conducive to the experience. Again, most people consume the beverage only under the guidance of an experienced individual – usually a shaman – who can control the amount consumed to suit individual reactions to it.
That said, there is little science behind the ayahuasca ceremonies that take place, and some people have suffered greatly from overexposure to the hallucinogenic effects of the brew. Caution should be the watchword of anyone who is considering taking the brew to enjoy its effects. This is especially the case for certain vulnerable people who may be more likely to suffer from potential side effects. It is also important to confirm whether or not the brew is legal to consume - or even own - in the place you intend taking it.
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