Could Microdosing Ayahuasca Boost Neuroplasticity?

Psychedelic geometric pattern with rainbow colors: how to boost neuroplasticity by microdosing ayahuasca

Microdosing is surging in popularity because of the potential of tiny doses of psychedelics to incrementally bring subtle improvements to your life. People are microdosing with the ayahuasca vine and reporting benefits to their wellbeing and mental health.

Although the science of ayahuasca microdosing is in its infancy, we do have a firm understanding of how high doses of ayahuasca can have positive effects. We’re starting to discover how these benefits could carry across in small doses – and neuroplasticity could have a starring role.

What is Neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity is the way that neurons (brain cells) change during the course of your life. These changes can happen in pre-programmed ways, or as the result of experiences and external inputs (like psychedelics).

Your neurons make connections to other neurons, and transmit electrical or chemical signals to each other. People with fewer connections and less overall neurons in certain parts of the brain are more likely to suffer from depression or stress.1,2

Neuroplasticity can be many different things, including:

  1. Changes in the size of individual neurons
  2. Changes in the number of connections between neurons
  3. Changes in where neurons connect to each other
  4. The growth of brand new neurons (neurogenesis)
  5. Changes in the strength of the connections between neurons (also known as synaptic plasticity)
  6. Changes in the response of neurons to signals
Diagram showing the different types of neuroplasticity
The different types of neuroplasticity

Research suggests that increased neuroplasticity could boost learning and memory, and help us break out of old habits and embrace new ways of thinking. We already know that neuroplasticity is limited in people with depression, and many antidepressant medications increase neuroplasticity.

Drastic changes in neuroplasticity are very rare in the adult brain… Although we’re starting to understand that psychedelics could be one way to do this!

Does the Ayahuasca Vine Boost Neuroplasticity?

Most of the research into the connection between psychedelics and neuroplasticity has been carried out on classic psychedelics: DMT, psilocybin, and LSD. This research shows that these serotonergic psychedelics can drastically change the way that neurons connect to each other. 

In addition, one study has shown that the chemical components of the ayahuasca vine could be boosting neuroplasticity. In the research, early-stage neurons from mice were grown in the presence of harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine (THH) – three of the main beta-carbolines in ayahuasca that give the vine its psychoactive power. When grown with these compounds, the cells grew into adult neurons faster and more effectively than when grown without them.3

This is known as neurogenesis, and is hypothesized to be part of how ayahuasca has antidepressant effects. Since we also know that THH can increase the levels of serotonin in the brain,4 the ayahuasca vine could also be boosting neuroplasticity in other ways similar to the classic psychedelics.

Read more about how to microdose with ayahuasca for depression.

Microdosing with Ayahuasca for Neuroplasticity

Although we know that the ayahuasca vine can increase neurogenesis in mice cells in laboratory conditions, we can’t say for sure how this finding will translate to ayahuasca microdosing in humans. 

It’s possible that taking small, regular doses of the ayahuasca vine could help to gradually encourage neuroplasticity in your brain, in a way that boosts learning, shifts perspective, and potentially reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is supported by anecdotal reports of microdosing with ayahuasca vine helping people cope with mental health issues.

Keep in mind that while there are many positive reports of microdosing with ayahuasca, it isn’t all shiny. Microdosing ayahuasca won’t cure you of anything, and some people experience negative side effects like restlessness and nausea.

To learn more about the best ways about finding positives from ayahuasca microdosing, sign up to our mailing list to receive our Quickstart Guide to Ayahuasca Microdosing.

How to Make the Most of Neuroplasticity While Microdosing Ayahuasca

If microdosing with the ayahuasca vine does in fact boost neuroplasticity, what’s the best way to utilize that for personal benefit?

The simple answer is to structure a microdosing routine around other self-betterment practices. The flexibility that neuroplasticity could open you up to means that your brain will be more ready to accept new ways of thinking. This means it may be especially useful to try healing and spiritual modalities such as:

  • Therapy or counseling. Getting professional help to reflect on yourself could be enormously complemented by a boost in neuroplasticity.
  • Yoga and exercise. People already report that exercise can be more enjoyable while microdosing; increases in neuroplasticity could also help entrain new exercise routines in your mind.
  • Meditation or regular affirmation (prayer). Practices that increase mindfulness and self-awareness could be greatly enhanced if neuroplasticity has been increased.
  • Healthy dieting. You may find it’s easier to stick to healthier ways of eating while microdosing with ayahuasca.

Including these techniques in your ayahuasca microdosing protocol could help maximize any benefits of neuroplasticity, and hopefully begin to produce positive changes in your life.

Where to Get Ayahuasca Vine for Microdosing

If you’re interested in microdosing with ayahuasca, extracts of the vine can be purchased online. EntheoNation recommends these products, all sourced sustainably and ethically:

Sage Extracts sells their ayahuasca vine in a 20% alcohol solution, prepared in a 10ml dropper bottle, with a recommended starter dose of 1-3 drops. It comes from the Kichwa community in Ecuador.

Chakra Openings sells their ayahuasca vine as a water-based solution, in a 30ml dropper bottle with a recommended starter dose of five drops. It comes from Iquitos in Peru. 

Soul Vine make their ayahuasca vine extract in California, but it is farmed in Peru with a sustainable method. The extract is made during a full moon and is imparted various energies, including song baths and crystals. It comes in 1oz and 2oz quantities, and the starting dose is five drops.

Soul Vine ayahuasca microdosing extract

Ayahuasca Microdosing have developed ayahuasca vine extracts which also come in varieties mixed with Bobinsana and Cat’s Claw. For those looking to enhance the benefits of ayahuasca with symbiotic plant medicines, this is the perfect option. The vine is sourced from Iquitos in Peru, and a starting dose is five drops.

Ayahuasca vine extract for microdosing from Ayahuasca Microdosing

Please check the legality of any ethnobotanical products in your country, prior to ordering. EntheoNation does not endorse illegal activities, nor would we wish for you to experience undue legal stress and anxiety over your consumption of plants.

References

1 Duman et al (2016) Synaptic plasticity and depression: new insights from stress and rapid-acting antidepressants. Nat Med, 22(3), p238-249.

2 Bremner et al (2000) Hippocampal volume reduction in major depression. Am J Psychiatry, 157(1), p115-118.

3 Morales-Garcia et al (2017) The alkaloids of Banisteriopsis caapi, the plant source of the Amazonian hallucinogen Ayahuasca, stimulate adult neurogenesis in vitro. Scientific Reports, 7(5309).

4 Buckholz & Boggan (1977) Inhibition by β-carbolines of monoamine uptake into a synaptosomal preparation: Structure-activity relationships. Life Sciences, 20(12), p2093-2100.

About Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith is a biologist and writer who has been working in the psychedelic community for several years. Twitter: @rjpatricksmith

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