Study Finds Ayahuasca Affects Epigenetic Gene Expression
In this Gaia News special investigation, we take a look at groundbreaking new research being done on ayahuasca, an ancient psychedelic plant medicine showing great promise in addressing the most difficult to treat mental health conditions, and may even change our DNA.
Dr. Simon Ruffle is a psychiatrist and researcher who led this study conducted in the Peruvian Amazon.
“Ayahuasca is a psychedelic brew that is used in the Amazon rainforest. It’s been used for at least hundreds of years and there’s some evidence that suggests that it may have been used for thousands of years,” Ruffell said.
“It’s used for a wide variety of purposes and normally by indigenous tribes. It’s used most commonly, now, for healing. And there’s been a lot of interest from people from the West going to the Amazon rainforest in order to drink ayahuasca. And also ayahuasca is spreading all over the world and now can be found on pretty much every continent.”
Watch Part 1:
In part two we look at how researchers found a statistically significant change in the expression of the SIGMAR-1 gene which is thought to be involved with how traumatic memories are recalled.
Watch Part 2:
Chronic Sufferers Are Choosing LSD and Psilocybin For Migraines
I remember the day I got my first migraine pretty vividly. I was a freshman in high school sitting in math class, when all of a sudden, my vision became blurry. I soon felt shaky, nauseous, incredibly confused, and frightened by what was happening to me. But in the hour or two it took to see a doctor, my symptoms had disappeared.
Migraine Hallucinations and Pain
Eventually, I realized I had experienced my first migraine, and since then I suffer through a few every year. While they’re pretty debilitating and can ruin an entire day, I’m lucky I don’t suffer from chronic migraines as some do.
In the U.S. it’s estimated that roughly 3.2 million Americans live with chronic migraines and of that percentage, some experience 15 to 20 a month. These headaches last four hours or more on average, and often force sufferers to take days off work. This adds up to not only lost hours of their lives but lost productivity and money. In fact, it’s estimated up to $31 billion in productivity is lost annually from headache disabilities in the U.S. alone.
I can tell when a migraine is coming on because of a chain of predictable symptoms. First, I begin to see auras and my vision is blurred, then all symptoms subside like the calm before a storm, and finally the piercing headache, nausea, vomiting, and shakiness.
Hallucinations and bizarre visuals often accompany or signal to migraine sufferers they’re about to endure a headache. The most common visual oddities are blurriness and auras, but some experience zigzags, swirling vortices, and Picasso-esque patterns. Physical hallucinations aren’t unusual either.