Ayahuasca in adolescence: Qaualitative results

J Psychoactive Drugs. 2005 Jun;37(2):135-9. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2005.10399793.


Qualitative research was conducted in Brazil among 28 ayahuasca-consuming adolescents members of the União do Vegetal Church, and 28 adolescents who never used ayahuasca. They were compared on a number of qualitative variables, including vignettes measuring moral and ethical concerns. Psychocultural studies utilizing co-occurences of variables in the realm of qualitative studies are useful in understanding and complementing quantitative studies also conducted among this population. Qualitative data show that the teens in the União do Vegetal religion appear to be healthy, thoughtful, considerate and bonded to their families and religious peers. This study examines the modern use of a powerful hallucinogenic compound within a legal religious context, and the youth who participated in these ayahuasca religious ceremonies (usually with parents and other family members) appeared not to differ from their nonayahuasca-using peers. This study helps to elucidate the full range of effects of plant hallucinogenic use within a socially-sanctioned, elder-facilitated and structured religious context.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Banisteriopsis / chemistry*
  • Brazil
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Psychotropic Drugs / administration & dosage*
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Sociology*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Psychotropic Drugs