Ayahuasca:From the Amazon to the Global Village

    An analysis of the challenges associated with the globalization of the use of ayahuasca

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    Globalization has facilitated cultural exchange between indigenous traditions and Western practices, leading to a growing interest in the ritual, religious, and therapeutic use of ayahuasca.

    For centuries, the indigenous societies of the Amazon have used ayahuasca to facilitate the physical and psychological health of individuals and ensure the survival and proper functioning of the community. In the last two decades, ayahuasca has expanded beyond native Amazonian circles. Globalization has facilitated the cultural exchange between indigenous traditions and Western practices, which has led to a growing interest in the ritual, religious and therapeutic use of this substance.

    Its use is generally perceived as positive by the people who participate in the sessions, and the benefits attributed to it are being supported by the scientific research accumulated in the last decade. However, the expansion of the use of ayahuasca has not been without challenges, such as those derived from excessive commercialization in the Amazon context, related to ayahuasca tourism, or with the exploitation of the natural resources used for its preparation.

    In addition, and despite the fact that this Amazonian drink is not subject to international control or prohibited in almost any country, in recent years we have witnessed a high number of arrests and judicial prosecutions in Europe, the United States and Latin America for importation and useof ayahuasca. This contradictory situation raises numerous doubts about their legal and political status, which is not uniform in different countries.

    Unjust, illegitimate, and useless

    The criminal prosecution of ayahuasca users is unjust, illegitimate, and useless, and it must end.The tendency to treat ayahuasca as a controlled substance is incorrect and requires revision. It cannot be considered as such, simply because it contains a substance that is subject to control.

    Equating a complex cultural practice, such as the use of ayahuasca in ritual contexts, to a single element of the set (the DMT contained in the drink) is extremely reductionist and misinformed.

    Promoting scientific knowledge of ayahuasca in particular, and of psychoactive plants of traditional use in general, far from going against the spirit in which the UN drug conventions were drawn up, could even contribute to protecting well-being and health. health of mankind.

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