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Ayahuasca Modifies Amphetamine Self Ingestion and Modifies Anxiety and Locomotor Activity in Adolescent Rats

Several reports indicate that the hallucinogen beverage better known as Ayahuasca (AYA) may be utilized for the recuperation of drug abusers. However, there is a lack of scientific evidence for this idea, which led us to use laboratory animals to test it. Amphetamine (AMPH), a substance globally abused principally amongst adolescents, is known to have a high potential to lead to addiction, anxiety, and increases in locomotor activity. The objective of the present work was to experimentally evaluate whether AYA is capable of modifying the self ingestion and behavioral effects caused by AMPH. Adolescent rats were trained to ingest water or AMPH solution (0.6 mg/ml) during a 13 days period, in the absence or presence of AYA treatment (2 ml/kg, gavage). 24 h after the last day of treatment, the rats’ locomotor activity and anxiety behaviors were evaluated using an open field arena (OF) and an elevated plus maze (EPM) apparatus. We observed that the animals have a preference for drinking AMPH, and that AYA prevents this preference. In the EPM tasks, AYA treatment significantly decreased the rise in the percentage of closed arm entries caused by AMPH treatment. In the OF tasks, AYA normalized the hyper-locomotor effect of AMPH, as well as the higher latency to cross the central part of arena and the lower number of center crossings in the arena. Taken together, our findings together indicate that AYA is able to modify AMPH ingestion and its effects. In conclusion, this work presents scientific evidence that ayahuasca can be beneficial for drug abuse users.


Godinho AF, Silva MC, Kawashima JD, Horta DF, Anselmo F, De Fraia D

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