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What is ayahuasca? Aaron Rodgers credits ayahuasca for his recent MVPs

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    Ayahuasca: What is ayahuasca? | What is the psychedelic drug?

    Ayahuasca psychedelic drug: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers says psychedelic drug helped him with back-to-back MVP titles.

    It’s no secret Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is good at what he does — he most recently had two back-to-back MVP seasons. What was a secret, until Wednesday, was exactly how he claims he did it.

    During a recent podcast appearance, Rodgers credited a plant-based psychedelic, ayahuasca, for his accomplishments over the last two seasons.

    Aaron Rodgers says the secret to his recent NFL dominance is a psychedelic experience in South America … claiming the ayahuasca plant helped him improve his mental health and have the “best season of my career.”

    Ayahuasca: which contains DMT has been used socially and medically for centuries … and some consumers credit the plant brew for spiritual healing.

    The Super Bowl champ says it’s not a “coincidence” he returned from South America and won his next two MVP awards in 2020 and 2021 … and is speaking out to change the negative stereotypes around using ayahuasca.

    Ayahuasca

    What is Ayahuasca?

    Described as a hallucinogenic drug, ayahuasca is usually consumed as tea, according to the Milwaukee Detox Center. It’s made from a mixture of the bark and stems of the Banisteriopsis caapi plant and is commonly used by “indigenous peoples in the Amazon for its healing properties.”

    Ayahuasca is a concentrated liquid, according to Australia’s Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) that is made by heating or boiling the Banisteriopsis. Its active chemical is DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, a hallucinogenic that can be smoked with a pipe or brewed into a drink. DMT is a Schedule I drug in the U.S.

    Ayahuasca also has alleged spiritual properties, which has led to its popularity in the U.S. A drug alert from the Milwaukee Detox Center says ayahuasca can be purchased as a tea online, and some countries like Ecuador and Costa Rica offer “weeklong experiences where you can attend ayahuasca ceremonies led by a shaman.”

    Is ayahuasca safe?

    Some medical experts, citing clinical research, say there can be benefits to using ayahuasca in the proper quantity and a safe setting. But they said it can also be dangerous.

    Dr. Alex Dimitriu, who specializes in psychiatry and sleep medicine – but does not use psychedelic treatments with patients due to their illegality – previously told USA TODAY that psychedelics can encourage users to “connect loose themes” and experience “improved lucidity and memory.”

    But that does not mean they are for everyone or should be used recreationally or as a replacement for therapy.

    “All of these psychedelic therapies aren’t just giving people a drug then sitting back,” Dimitriu said. “They are done in a therapeutic process with hours of preparation and integration.”

    Does ayahuasca work?

    Dr. Sameet Kumar, a clinical psychologist who specializes in helping people with cancer, grief, or end-of-life concerns, also does not use psychedelic treatment with his patients.

    But he said in the right doses and proper environment, these “agents of change” can allow a person to dive into their subconscious thoughts and address deep traumas.

    But ayahuasca, Kumar said, is hard to study.

    “It’s a natural medicine so dosage hasn’t been standardized yet to be studied in the U.S.,” he said.

    What makes psychedelics a promising form of treatment, Kumar said, is their ability to “pull someone out of their comfort zone, especially for those who are resistant to doing so in standard talk therapies.”

    Effects of ayahuasca

    Effects of ayahuasca, however, sound much less pleasant. According to ADF, ayahuasca impacts everyone differently, but common effects include:

    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Anxiety
    • Panic and fear
    • Increased body temperature
    • A moderate increase in blood pressure and heart rate
    • Intense visual and auditory hallucinations
    • Powerful emotions
    • Introspection
    • Feelings of connection and unity

    Aaron Rodgers

    Rodgers advocated for focusing on the benefits of the drug rather than the negatives. He credited ayahuasca with giving him “a different perspective on things … to be way freer at work, as a leader, as a teammate, as a friend, as a lover.” Overall, he said the experience helped with his mental health.

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