Despite their illegality and a tendency among the media and politicians to demonize their use, psychedelics have been shown to have transformative effects on individuals suffering from mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. At the same time, drug use more generally is a powerful predictor of mental health issues and the line between recreational and medicinal use is often thin.
Ayahuasca is a psychoactive Amazonian brew which holds a central place in healing rituals and popular syncretic religions, especially in South America. Despite its widespread use in these contexts and growing interest globally, however, large-scale studies were lacking until very recently.
The Global Ayahuasca Project was conducted from 2017 to 2020 and is the largest cross-sectional study on Ayahuasca use to date, taking the form of an online self-reported questionnaire. A portion of its results are published in the Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, and tell the story of a significant connection between Ayahuasca use and improvements in affective disorders.