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An introduction to Ayahuasca: Pharmacology, Neuroscience, and Antidepressant Effects

Jordi Riba, Ph.D.

Søndag den 17. september • 16:30 – 17:30

Dr. Jordi Riba holds a PhD in Pharmacology and is the lead researcher of the Human Neuropsychopharmacology Research Group at Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona. He has specialized in the study of psychoactive drugs in humans using neurophysiological and neuroimaging techniques, with publications on psychedelics, psychostimulants, cannabinoids, and opiates. He has been studying ayahuasca for twenty years and has published around forty journal articles and book chapters on the subject. He has also supervised two doctorate theses on the acute and long-term effects of ayahuasca in humans. His current research interests range from the neural correlates of the “psychedelic after-glow” or sub-acute stage of psychedelic drug effects, to clinical studies assessing the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca in depression and other disorders

“Ayahuasca is an Amazonian plant tea combining the natural psychedelic dimethyltryptamine (DMT) with pharmacologically active beta-carboline alkaloids. Its acute administration to humans induces an introspective state of awareness characterized by dream-like visions, enhanced self-reflection, and recollection of autobiographical memories in an intensely emotional experience. In my presentation I will give an overview of the pharmacology and neuroscience of ayahuasca, from molecular-level interactions to its modulation of brain dynamics. I will also present evidence of its capacity to change pathological patterns of thought and behaviour, such as those observed in depression and addiction. I will discuss how these changes in life attitudes may result from the enhancement of certain psychological capacities that allow individuals to observe their own thoughts and emotions in a more healthy manner. Finally, I will present data from three independent clinical studies demonstrating symptom reductions in patients with treatment-resistant depression.”

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