Ayahuasca Safety Guidelines

Three Steps to Book Your Retreat Review Disclosure and Consent Forms Here
 

General Medical Guidelines

General Medical Guidelines

As healers in a healing profession, the safety and health of the participants in our Ayahuasca retreats is our utmost concern. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that all participants disclose any known medical conditions and/or the use of any prescription or non-prescription medication or supplements during their pre-registration process prior to participation in our retreats. During the pre-registration process potential participants are required to confirm that they do not have any serious medical condition, physical or mental, that could potentially be a complication in conjunction with the use of Ayahuasca.

If you do suffer from a medical condition listed in our Medical Guidelines, please inquire about it at – Email us: contact@TheWayInn.com. prior to completing your registration process, and a member of The Way Inn team will respond within 24-48 hours. By attending one of our retreats, all participants agree that they are participating at their own risk and that The Way Inn and Ayahuasca Satsangha do not accept liability for any accident or injury to their person. The advice provided by The Way Inn is based upon our experienced understanding of the use of Ayahuasca and potential health complications, but please consult your doctor or other medical professional for questions regarding medical conditions and medications. It is important to use your doctor’s advice when coming off medications, especially antidepressants. All decisions on whether your health is suitable for inclusion in our retreats are made strictly with your safety in mind.


Psychological Conditions

People suffering from borderline disorders, bipolar disorders, psychosis, and schizophrenia (including drug-induced) are at psychological risk if they use Ayahuasca. At this time, serious borderline and bipolar cases, psychosis cases, and schizophrenia would exclude your participation from a retreat at The Way Inn. If you suffer from minor borderline or bipolar disorders and would like to discuss your specific case with us, please do so prior to booking a retreat. In general, Ayahuasca has been shown to have positive general psychological effects on participants. The WAY Inn is monitoring the psychological well-being, depression, stress, and anxiety outcomes of Ayahuasca treatment. If you suffer from depression, stress, OCD, or anxiety, please contact us about the specifics of your condition, including any prescribed medications, prior to booking a retreat at The Way Inn.

Policy Regarding Medications

All medications taken within the past year must be disclosed in confidence to The Way Inn prior to completing the registration process. Failure to do so will put you and your health at risk. In general, one should not be taking any other substances or medications, including herbal medicines, when taking Ayahuasca or dieting other medicinal plants, both for your safety and to not interfere with the efficacy of the plants or their energies. All prescription medications, certain supplements, and illegal drugs should be ceased at least 2 to 8 weeks prior to drinking Ayahuasca depending on the specific type of medication or supplement. Synthetic hormones taken for hypothyroidism are an exception. You may continue to take your hypothyroid medication during your course of ayahuasca, but are still required to inform The Way Inn that you are taking the medication. Many over the counter medications, such as antihistamines, require only 48 hours of non-use prior to Ayahuasca, although we still recommend ceasing them 2 weeks in advance. Specific medications, such as MAOIs and SSRIs, pose substantial health complications in conjunction with Ayahuasca and therefore require a longer cessation period. Please consult the comprehensive list below for detailed descriptions of specific medications and the recommended cessation period. And remember, always consult your doctor when ceasing any prescription medication. Some medications have moderate to serious withdrawal effects, so added time might be necessary to safely ween yourself off your medication(s). When consulting your doctor, please inform him that you will be taking a reversible MAOI.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): Cease 4 – 6 weeks prior

Ayahuasca is a very potent natural MAOI and should not be used in combination with other MAOIs. Combining MAOIs can lead to complications in the regulation of neurotransmitters and digestion, such as hypertensive crisis, convulsive seizures, fever, delirium, coma, and circulatory collapse. Withdrawal symptoms are possible when ceasing prescription MAOIs, so it is important to consult a doctor as to how to taper off one’s dosage. Why? Monoamine oxidase is an enzyme responsible for clearing certain neurotransmitter chemicals from the brain. When the activity of this enzyme is inhibited, the brain has more norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine available to send important messages and regulate mood states. This enzyme is also important in the digestive process. Medications:Marplan (isocarboxazid), Nardil (phenelzine), Emsam, Eldepryl, and Zelapar (selegiline), Parnate (tranylcypromine), Aurorix and Manerix (moclobemide), Pirazidol (pirlindole).

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): Cease 6 or 8 weeks prior. Abstain 4 weeks after

The combination of Ayahuasca (an MAOI) and SSRIs is potentially life-threatening. Any medication which has an effect on the serotonin system, such as SSRIs can induce serotonin syndrome in conjunction with Ayahuasca. It is extremely important that you give the medication enough time to leave your system and give yourself time to adjust to not being on your medication as side effects from stopping your medication may arise. Prozac requires stoppage 8 weeks prior to drinking Ayahuasca due to its longer half-life. All other SSRIs require 6 weeks. Do not stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor first. Why? Ayahuasca is an MAOI which allows for certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, to become more available in the brain. SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin. The combination of these two substances will cause an excess and/or overload of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system and peripheral serotonin receptors. Medications: Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro and Cipralex (escitalopram), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Paxil and Seroxat (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft and Lustral (sertraline). Other Anti-Depressants: Cease 6 weeks prior. Abstain 4 weeks after.

Anti-depressants other than SSRIs, such as serotonin-norepinephrine inhibitors (SNRIs), serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs), norepinephrine inhibitors (NRIs), norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCAs), noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NaSSAs), and serotonin modulator and stimulators (SMSs) can pose serious complications in conjuction with drinking Ayahuasca. If combined with an MAOI, one can have an overload of the neurotransmitter leading to serious health complications. It is extremely important that you give the medication enough time to leave your system and give yourself time to adjust to not being on your medication as side effects from stopping your medication may arise. Do not stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor first. Why? Ayahuasca is an MAOI which allows for certain neurotransmitters to be more available in the brain. Other anti-depressants also alter brain neurochemistry leading to possible serious health complications when combined. Medications: SNRIs: Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), Cymbalta (duloxetine), Fetzima (levomilnacipran), Ixel and Savella (milnacipran), Effexor (venlafaxine), SARIs: Axiomin and Etonin (etoperidone), Serzone and Nefadar (nefazodone), YM-992, YM-35,995 (lubazodone), Desyrel (trazodone), NRIs: Strattera (atomoxetine), Edronax (reboxetine), Vivalan (viloxazine), NDRIs: Wellbutrin and Zyban (bupropion), TCAs: Elavil and Endep (amitriptyline), Evadene (butriptyline), Anafril (clomipramine), Norpramin and Pertofrane (desipramine), Prothiaden (dosulepin, dothiepin), Adapin and Sinequan (doxepin), Tofranil (imipramine), Prondol (iprindole), Feprapax, Gamanil, Lomont (lofepramine), Pamelor (nortriptyline), Insidon (opipramol), Vavactil (protriptyline), Surmontil (trimipramine), TeCAs and NaSSAs: Asendin (amoxapine), Ludiomil (maprotiline), Lumin, Bolvidon, Norval, Tolvon (mianserin), Remeron (mirtazapine), SMSs: Viibryd (vilazodone), Brintellix (vortioxetine) Anti-depressant or other drug containing MAO inhibitors or SSRIs, i.e. Prozac, Seroxat, Zoloft, Effexor, Paxil, Welbutrin (bupropion) ñ also sold as Zyban as aid therapy to the urge to smoke – or similar medication. Anti-stress medication such as Valium, Xanax and similar. Antibiotic therapy may cause potentially adverse reactions with the use of Ayahuasca. Discontinue the use of this medication and any of the following for at least 1 week before and until 1 week after taking the Ayahuasca medicine: Phenylalanine, non-prescription drugs like antihistamines, systemic vase-constrictors or decongestants ñ both natural (ephedrine) and synthetic formulations (Pseudo-ephedrine and similar) ñ normally used in case of cold & flu, asthma inhalers, or drugs with high content of caffeine. Narcotics, sedatives, tranquilizers, antihypertensive agents (used to treat high blood pressure ñ only in chronic cases), analgesics like meperidine, antiparkinson drugs like Levopoda, drugs used to treat heart conditions, like Dopamine (brand name: Intropin), neurological prescriptions like Carbamazipine (a drug that eliminates seizures), and sympathomimetic drugs (substances that mimic the effects of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline) like amphetamine and tyrosine. Marijuana, cocaine, heroine, crack, mescaline or Phenethylamines (homologues of Amphetamines).

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants (and sleeping pills): Cease 3 to 4 weeks prior

Other Anti-Depressants: Cease 6 weeks prior. Discontinue 4 weeks after.

CNS depressants, such as certain anti-anxiety medications and sleeping aids, should not be used in conjunction with Ayahuasca due to serious health risk. The use of Ayahuasca can increase the depressant effects of CNS depressants leading to slower brain activity, heart rhythm, and respiration. CNS depressants include benzodiazepines, sleep medications, and barbiturates. CNS depressants have a shorter half-life and therefore can be ceased 3 weeks prior to drinking Ayahuasca. Dependency on CNS depressants can arise easily, so withdrawal symptoms may arise when ceasing your medication. Please consult your doctor for help. Medications: Benzodiazepines: Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alpazolam), Halcion (triazolam), ProSom (estazolam), Non-benzodiazepine sleep medications: Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), Sonata (zalepon), Barbiturates: Mebaral (mephobarbital), Luminal Sodium (phenobarbital), Nembutal (pentobarbital), and any other barbiturate. Anti-hypertensives (blood pressure medications): Cease 2 to 6 weeks prior, depending on medication.

There are many classes of antihypertensives, which lower blood pressure by different means; among the most important and most widely used are thiazide diuretics, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, and angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Always ask your doctor about coming off your medication, and please inform him that you will be taking a reversible MAOI. Beta Blockers: atenolol, metoprolol, nadolol, nebivolol, oxprenolol, pindolol, propanolol, timolol, Alpha Blockers: doxazosin, phentolamine, indoramin, phenoxybenzamine, prazosin, terazosin, tolazoline, Mixed Alpha & Beta Blockers: bucindolol, carvedilol, labetalol, Calcium Channel Blockers: amlodipine, clinidipine, felodipine, isradipine, lercanidipine, levamlodipine, nicardipine, nifedipine, nimodipine, nitrendipine, diltiazem, verapamil, ACE Inhibitors: captopril, enalapril, fosinopril, lisinopril, perindopril, quinapril, ramipril, trandolapril, benazepril, Angiotensin II Receptor Antagonists: candesartan, eprosartan, irbesartan, losartan, olmesartan, telmisartan, valsartan. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): Cease 6 or 8 weeks prior. Abstain 4 weeks after.

Medical Conditions

If you suffer from a particular medical condition that is not covered below, please send an email to – Email us at: TheWayInn prior to booking a retreat. Although Ayahuasca use under supervised conditions is generally considered safe, some medical conditions can have moderate to very serious complications in regards to the use of Ayahuasca. If you have any kidney, liver, heart, other serious medical condition or if you or an immediate family member has a history of seizures, you must inform us prior to booking a retreat at The Way Inn to discuss your particular situation. In every medical case, always discuss the use of a reversible MAOI with your doctor prior to booking.

Epilepsy/Seizures

If you or an immediate family member has a history of epilepsy and/or seizures, you MUST inform The Way Inn prior to booking a retreat. Use of ayahuasca, if not properly managed and monitored, can induce a seizure if you have a prior family history of epilepsy.

Diabetes

People with diabetes have extra risk involved with the consumption of Ayahuasca. The use of the MAOIs present in Ayahuasca can alter blood sugar levels through hypoglycemic effects. MAOIs may change the amount of insulin or oral antidiabetic medication that you need. People with severe unstable diabetes should not take Ayahuasca because of this risk. People with less severe diabetes should contact us prior to booking a retreat to discuss the particulars of the case including the possibility of a modified dieta.

Heart/Cardiovascular Conditions

If you have any chronic heart condition or high blood pressure it is not advisable to participate in the drinking of Ayahuasca. The use of Ayahuasca can elevate the blood pressure and can pose serious and/or fatal risk to those with serious heart conditions or high blood pressure. Having such serious conditions would exclude you from participation in one of our Ayahuasca retreats. Prospective guests with minor heart conditions are welcome to discuss the matter with the staff at The Way Inn prior to booking a retreat.

Liver and Kidney Conditions

The use of Ayahuasca can be stressful for the liver and kidneys. The liver and the kidneys play essential roles in the metabolism of exogenous and endogenous chemicals. Ayahuasca contains harmine and related alkaloids, which act as inhibitors of monoamine oxidase. This inhibition activity occurs in the liver and gastrointestinal tract. If a participant has various monoamines still present in their system from diet, environmental exposure, medical condition, or use of pharmaceutical or illicit drugs, these would accumulate in the presence of an MAOI and would add further stress for the liver and kidneys.

Hypothyroidism

If you have a hypothyroidism condition, it is generally safe to partake in the use of ayahausca; however, you MUST inform The Way Inn of your condition, so that we can closely monitor your dosage during your course of ayahausca. You also may continue using your hypothyroid medication (synthetic hormones, such as synthroid) during your retreat experience without complication.

Illegal or Recreational Drugs

Stimulatants, Depressants, and Psychoactives (Discontinue 2 weeks prior) The following illegal or recreational drugs should under no circumstances be combined with Ayahuasca : Cocaine, Amphetamines and derivatives of amphetamines, MDMA (Ecstasy), MDA or its derivatives, Dextromethorphan (DXM) The following pose a lesser risk but should NOT be combined with Ayahuasca: Opiates, Mescaline (any phenethylamine), Barbiturates, and other psychoactives.

Herbal Medicines and Supplements

Herbal Medicines and Supplements: 48 hours prior (except St. John’s Wort) Includes: Betel, Boswellia, Carrot Seed, Curcumin, Dill seed, Ephedra, Fennel Seed, Fo-Ti, Ginseng, Horny Goat Weed, Kanna, Kava, Kratom, Licorice Root, Nutmeg, Parsley Seed, Rhodiola Rosea, Scotch Broom, Siberian Ginseng, Sinicuichi, Tumeric, Yerba Mate, Yohimbe.


 

About Ayahuasca

About Ayahuasca and Other Plant Medicines

Plant medicine ceremonies at The Way Inn help you awaken to the truth of your being. We’re unique among Ayahuasca retreat centers because we combine authentic Peruvian shamanism, plant medicine expertise, practical knowledge of the eastern wisdom paths along with progressive western psychology in a genuinely comfortable environment geared to the lives of modern people.

In our belief system disease is literally, dis-ease about your personal history that creates pain and physical imbalances. Ayahuasca, tobacco and other plant medicines help surface the roots of dis-ease so unresolved traumas can be addressed consciously, leading to a lighter, healthier and more joyful life.

Pure and Powerful

We offer pure, powerful plant medicine experiences that reconnect you to your intuitive healer. The vast majority of seekers see big changes during and after their stay. Consequently, we ask that you respect our knowledge of the medicine experience by adhering to some simple, safety-oriented ground rules before, during and after your time with us.

In our belief system there is a direct connection between higher spirit and the circumstances of our lives. The Way Inn’s programs seek to perfect our energy bodies in order to experience expanded reality. Entheogenic plants (link), dietas (link) and eastern wisdom are capable of recontextualizing your experience of this existence. This work treats a bevy of issues that may arise from being part of the western world .

Ayahuasca is not a recreational drug. None of the plant medicines we work with are recreational drugs. We utilize powerful ethnogens, delivered in ceremony, with the intention to heal our lives. That said, we do this work in a safe, gentle, compassionate and frequently fun way.  Typically seekers move from heavier experiences at first toward lighter, more ecstatic states as the number of ceremonies progress.

Please remember everyone is different and has their own process. Play hard during your retreat, go beyond your comfort zone, for it is there where true growth happens.

What to Expect

Retreat Expectations

Ayahuasca is uniquely capable of aligning your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual bodies. It is totally normal that you have questions and concerns about coming to the Andes for this powerful transformational work. Please check out Frequently Asked Questions, here. Or, ask us anything, here by writing Contact@TheWayInn.com. Our team will make you as comfortable as possible during your journey.

Most seekers experience physical cleansing during the first few days. This time is easy for some and challenging or difficult for others. In our belief system, purging is a positive, necessary phase that prepares you for better things to come. Specifically, we believe detoxification and purging clear karmic debt, physical illnesses and heavier energies that keep you from your best life. Seekers who set an intention to trust the process seem to be more comfortable overall and get more out of their experiences here, than seekers who resist the medicine taking charge.

In our tradition, reincorporation and transformation continue long after your return home. We believe the best outcome is for plant medicine insights to become incorporated into your daily life. This is why we make strong suggestions for continuing the Dieta restrictions and other supporting practices.

Life in the Andes

Dieta

Ayahuasca Dieta

Our Dieta is unlike any other, we have tailor made it to answer the demands of the high altitude and your work with the sacred plants. Because your journey and comfort is our main priority we’ll often create individualized meal plans based upon your own personal needs.

There is a certain amount of sacrifice required as part of your personal healing journey. The food component of the Dieta is the simple part, we provide all meals for you so there is no stress trying to figure out what to eat. The key part of the Dieta is having awareness of your thought patterns and legacy feedback loops. Dieta isn’t just about the food. It is also about the dieting of spiritual, emotional, and mental thought processes that keep us in a repetitive feedback loop. Starving out these old patterns is the most important part of the Ayahuasca Dieta.

The ingestion of certain tree barks whilst partaking during your time here helps create an internal environment that will maximize the effects of the sacred plant medicines. Following the Dieta allows you create your own unique relationship with the plants as well as a more hospitable environ for the spirits of the plants to work on your behalf.

Delicious, Healthy Food

See Photos of Ceremonies

 

sign up for news & offers