While the personal use of marijuana remains illegal, a tea that contains one of the most powerful psychedelic drugs on the planet, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), will soon be available in public “churches” flowering across America.
Ayahuasca, otherwise known as yagé , is a psychedelic brewed tea that contains the drug. It’s been ritualistically ingested by indigenous tribes since before recorded history. The ayahuasca brew is made with Psychotria viridis leaves, which contain DMT. The chemical is a psychedelic drug that’s listed as a controlled substance in the United States.(1)
Ayahuasca is an entheogenic brew, which means it’s been used for religious and spiritual reasons for centuries, most notably among the shamans. A spiritual retreat in Peru called Ayahuasca Healings applied for church status in the United States. Remarkably, they were given approval.
The group has chosen a 160-acre plot of land in Elbe, Washington, as the location for its spiritual hiatus. Like a retreat, you can step inside a teepee near Elbe to drink Ayahuasca for $1,500; thereby proving psychedelics have a hefty price tag, whether they be legal or illegal.(2)
Religious group purports to “cure the world” with hallucinogenic drug
The group claims the world is suffering from sickness and a lack of clarity. They claim ayahuasca can help guide humanity back from the folly of its ways. Furthermore, the group purports the substance can be used as a means to communicate with spirits, both good and bad.(2)
“But most importantly, it’s a tool to connect with the spirit realm. It’s an uncontrolled substance,” church founder Trinity de Guzman told Vice’s Munchies. “But DMT, which can be extracted from the plants, is a controlled Schedule 1 drug by the DEA. Ayahuasca itself is not a scheduled drug, but it’s legal in a religious and spiritual setting.”(1)
“So, simply stated, ayahuasca is legal if your intentions are sincerely religious. And it’s legal under a church. You have to be a member of a church, which has that legal protection.”(1)
Trinity elaborated on how his church differs from conventional churches sprinkled throughout America.
“Other churches talk about God, and the person, like a pastor, talking to the room is the connection to God. But in the Native American churches, this is about connecting with God yourself and having a direct experience with the Creator.”
The medicinal use of ayahuasca
Ayahuasca isn’t just used for spiritual purposes, however. Some drinkers use the tea to overcome diseases, mental health problems and even, counter-intuitively, substance abuse. “I use it when I need to reset or when I’m searching for insight,” Michael Slater explained to The Daily Beast. “Years of drug abuse has affected my cognition, and aya helps me focus and puts things in perspective.(2)
Despite its medicinal purposes, no research has yet examined the medical effects of ayahuasca, as well as psychedelic drugs in general, since most are illegal in the Western world. However, according to one study conducted at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, ayahuasca did seem to help minimize symptoms of depression in patients afflicted by severe mood disorders.(2)
In addition, a different study in New York City found that a chemical in ayahuasca known as harmine could help combat diabetes by producing insulin.(2)
Meanwhile, the founders of the church hope to open their doors to the general public once they have set up their shops. The Ayahuasca Healing website is temporarily offline “in order to ensure our Ayahuasca USA Retreats are 100% legal,” reads the webpage.(2)
Nevertheless, a different website remains up and running, which claims ayahuasca can “provide valuable insight into the sociological and ecological problems of today’s world, and inspires ideas about how to resolve them.”(3)