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Prompted by this...

Thousands of international backpackers are flocking to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest to drink ayahuasca tea, a plant mixture made by shamans and taken as part of a spiritual ritual. Those who drink the thick rich liquid often throw up, but then experience hours of mind-altering visions and a sense of internal exploration.

Source: Global Travel Industry News

I am informed that there is a burgeoning tourist market in Peru and Brazil for consuming hallucinogenic drugs, namely Ayahuasca. This drug reportedly will mitigate the effects of post traumatic stress disorder and similar psychological problems.

This drug is legal in Peru and Brazil, and there are a number "operators" who "administer" the drug.

But in South America ayahuasca is an integral part of some tribal societies. In 2008, Peru's government recognised ayahuasca's status, stating that it was "one of the basic pillars of the identity of the Amazon peoples".

Source: BBC News

However, there are dangers involved...

British student Henry Miller, 19, died in Colombia after apparently consuming the traditional hallucinogenic drink ayahuasca, or yage. Emma Thelwell, who took the drug herself, explains why it has become a rite of passage for some backpackers.

This question is about selecting a "operator" (or 'shaman' to be precise). Are there licensing standards that govern who can supply and administer hallucinogens? Or how would one distinguish a legitimate operator from a bogus operator who might provide an impure product or otherwise rip you off?

Also, for planning purposes, after consuming the drug, how long before you regain coherence and can safely resume your travels?

  • 1
    Nice site to visit before taking DMT: Erowid. Some previous experience with Psychonautics is advisable. Also the setting is very important, as DMT will make You die you have to absolutely trust the persons around you or it may trigger a bad trip. If you get scared, think about the beauty; if you get lost, remember the loved ones; Never follow yourself, just let it go. Have a nice journey, it's worth it :) – Margaret Bloom May 1 '16 at 17:06
  • @MargaretBloom, wow, that could be an answer! Is there a chance of getting lost in the jungle? – Gayot Fow May 1 '16 at 17:09
  • I actually wanted to say: Lost within your mind :) Anyway unless you are a total irresponsible person, you will be fine (and safe). Mostly you'll sleep and listen. Just think about possible situations before, e.g. have something to drink, something to make calls with, someone to talk to. – Margaret Bloom May 1 '16 at 17:28
  • @MargaretBloom consider adding an answer – Gayot Fow May 1 '16 at 17:31
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Your best bet would likely be to go to Brazil and join a church ceremony. Ayahuasca is legal there for religious use, and there are several well-established churches that use it regularly with a track record of not killing their members, most notably Santo Daime and União do Vegetal.

Church ceremonies (and the effects of ayahuasca) can last up to 12 hours, and you'll likely want a good night's sleep afterwards.

Interestingly, both have branches in the US and Europe which have (at least in some countries) been granted the right to conduct ayahuasca ceremonies legally, so you may not even need to travel to Brazil to have a legal and authentic experience.

Obvious caveat: joining a church and professing to share their beliefs when you just want to try their drugs sacraments is morally, ethically and possibly even legally dubious.

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    @HeidelBerGensis They're loosely Christian (SD more, UDV less), but obviously with heavy animist/shamanist influence. – jpatokal May 1 '16 at 12:33
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    I do not think animist/shamanist is close to Islam :/ so there's no way for me.. thanks :) – Nean Der Thal May 1 '16 at 12:36
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    @HeidelBerGensis I doubt hallucinogens are compatible with Quran 5:90, regardless of the theological wrappings used... although of course both argue that ayahuasca is not an intoxicant, but an entheogen: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entheogen – jpatokal May 1 '16 at 12:39
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    @Heidel Actually it talks about "intoxicants" not alcohol. While alcohol is certainly a rather popular intoxicant, there are many others and the term does include drugs. – Voo May 1 '16 at 18:16
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    @voo the literal translation is more like "booze", and not intoxicants. This is one problem of the Quran translations, it is different and totally depends on the interpretation of the translator. – Nean Der Thal May 2 '16 at 1:48
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+50

Opposite to @jpatokal answer, I'd say that you can do it safely on Iquitos-Perú, where a lot of people often go to do this "ceremonies" and there are a lot of places that offers this service, for example this.

The price is around 100$ per person per day (It's a pack that goes from 2 days to 8 days, depending on where you go to do it). For further information about the ceremony and recommendation here

And about which how to find trusty sites to do this, I'd highly recommend you 2 options:

Search on internet sites with a good recommendations like this or just go to the city (Iquitos) and ask the locals, they usually know which sites are the best, since they live there, and I can vouch that the people there is usually kind and helpfull.

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    +1, how do you vouch for the people with such confidence though? – Gayot Fow May 1 '16 at 17:33
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    I'm from Perú, and I have many friends that traveled to Iquitos so I have many good references. Also, It's well known that the people from there are very cheerful and kind. – Nighthunter22 May 1 '16 at 19:03

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