Ayahuasca’s ‘afterglow’: improved mindfulness and cognitive flexibility in ayahuasca drinkers

Despite amassing evidence suggesting ayahuasca has the potential to treat depression, anxiety, and addictions, little is yet known about the psychological mechanisms which may be involved in ayahuasca's therapeutic effects. This talk will present exploratory research findings which suggest mindfulness and flexible thinking may be two potential mechanisms involved.

Results of the study show ayahuasca increased mindfulness and cognitive flexibility in both psychedelic naïve and experienced ayahuasca drinkers in the afterglow period (in the 24 hours after use, compared to baseline). These afterglow effects will also be discussed in light of potential clinical implications and the enhanced therapeutic window they may offer.

Ashleigh is also trained as a mindfulness meditation teacher and has assisted in ceremonies in Peru, leading mindfulness sessions developed to support preparation and integration. Alongside her studies she has also completed further training in embodied therapeutic practices and is interested in the interdisciplinary application of each of these varied approaches to the therapeutic use of psychedelics.