Treating Alcohol-Related Disorders with Ayahuasca
Luís Fernando Tófoli, Ph.D.
Early scientific reports from the middle of last century indicated the potential of psychedelics for the treatment of alcohol-related disorders. Anecdotal, animal and open-label studies on ayahuasca, a traditional decoction made with two plant species, Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis, suggest that this native psychedelic may also share this potential. However, the proof of its effectiveness in controlled trials is still needed. Our research group – the Interdisciplinary Cooperation for Ayahuasca Research and Outreach (ICARO) – proposes a gamut of ayahuasca studies in order to investigate the potential effects of this preparation on alcohol-related disorders. These include randomized controlled trials in clinical and ritual settings, the handling of the two plant species, its pharmaceutical preparations and new studies in pharmacodynamics and chemical analyses. The aims of this presentation are to offer some of our preliminary results, to describe the studies that are currently under way within ICARO and to discuss future developments.
Luís Fernando Tófoli, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. He heads the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Studies on Psychoactive Substances and is a member of the State Council on Drug Policies of São Paulo. He is responsible for the Interdisciplinary Cooperation for Ayahuasca Research and Outreach (ICARO) at UNICAMP and has recently published on the field of drug policies and the therapeutic use of psychedelics, especially ayahuasca.