• Jeanae White

Is Ayahuasca Effective?

Is Ayahuasca Effective?

Its a questions we all ask – Can this medicine really help me? We at New Life decided to try and fine some answers. We followed up with 52 former participants from our retreats with an anonymous survey of  16 questions to find out what they really thought of ayahuasca and how it effected them both short and long term.

We tried not to over complicate things and kept the questions simple to get a general understanding of how ayahuasca effects people. The results are a true testament to how effective ayahuasca really is. Here is brief breakdown of the responses.

Instructions included in Survey

1. Primary Interest in Ayahuasca Ceremonies

We asked participants to choose what their primary interest was for participating in ayahuasca ceremonies/retreats. Options included :

-To address depression/anxiety

-To address PTSD

-For Spiritual Connections / Understanding

-For General Personal Growth

-For Addiction Issues

-Just Curious about it


Participants were allowed to choose more than one options. The majority of people surveyed (64.7% – 33 people of 51) selected ‘For General Personal Growth’ followed closely by ‘For Spiritual Connections/Understanding’ (60.8% – 31 people of 51).  Over one third of people surveyed (35.3% – 18 of 51) used ayahuasca as a means of addressing depression/anxiety. As we look at responses for ‘Addiction’ (19.6% – 10 of 51), ‘PTSD’ (13.7% – 7 of 51) or ‘Curiosity’ (7.8% – 4 of 51), we begin to see the percentages fall.

2. Age Group

We asked participants to select their age group. The results show us that people from all age groups have an interest in ayahuasca but the majority of the participants surveyed fell into the age group of 20-30  (36.5% – 19 of 52), followed by 30-40 (28.8% 15 of 52), and then 40-50 (21.2% – 11 of 52). We see the percentages start to fall as we reach 50-60 (9.6% – 5 of 52) and 60-70 (3.8% – 2 of 52). 

3. Gender

Oddly enough we had a perfect split of 50%-50% men to women of participants surveyed. There is an equal interest in ayahuasca among both sexes. 

4. Times Drank Ayahuasca

We asked participants how many times they have drank ayahuasca. Since all participants surveyed have attended a retreat with us, the majority of the responses (32.7% – 17 of 52)  reported they have drank 3 times which coincides with our most popular retreat option. Those that selected 4 or more (26.9% – 14 of 52) are either guests that have returned to us more than one retreat or drank elsewhere either before or after attending New Life. Those results were equal to those that selected 2 times (26.9% – 14 of 52) and the smallest percentage of responses selected 1 time only (13.5% – 7 of 52) which shows us that they came for a retreat with the intention of drinking at lease twice but decided not to drink again after the first ceremony. 

5. Benefit from drinking ayahuasca

These results are profound. When asked if the participants felt any benefit from drinking ayahuasca, an overwhelming majority (98.1% – 51 of 52) responded yes. Only ONE person (1.9%) of 52 participants surveyed responded ‘Maybe/Unsure’. There was not a single participant that felt they received NO benefit from drinking ayahuasca. 

6. Intentions for the experience

Having intentions going into an ayahuasca ceremony is extremely important. We asked participants if they felt their intentions were addressed through the ayahuasca experience. A vast majority (73.1% – 38 of 52) people responded ‘Yes’ while 16.9% – 14 of 52 reported they were unsure/maybe. Zero of 52 survey participants selected ‘No’. This shows us that having a clear intention is important and is addressed in the majority of participants.

7. Expectations and Intentions

At New Life, we always tell people that while having intentions is paramount to the experience, it is also very important to keep an open mind and not have too many expectations. Often times there is a difference between the things we think we need and the things we actually need. The results show us that 70.6% – 30 of 51 people reported that the benefits they received were different from what they had expected while only 27.5% – 14 of 51 had their intentions addressed exactly as they had hoped. Only 1 person (2%) reported no benefit.  

8. Benefits Received

We asked people to select a category for what they felt the benefits they received from ayahuasca most closely related to. Participants were allowed to select more than one option. The options were: 

-Physical Health

-Mental Health

-Confidence/ Self-Love

-Relationships with others

-View on life in general

-View of spirituality in general

-Addiction/Substance Abuse

A very large percentage (84.3% or 43 of 51) reported that ayahuasca had an impact on their view on life in general. Around 66% of people reported a benefit in the areas of mental health, confidence/self love, relationships with others and view of spirituality in general. 37.3% – 19 of 51 reported an impact on physical health and 15.7% – 8 of 51 received benefits relating to addiction of substance abuse. Comparing these numbers to the question asked in #1 – what was the primary interest in ayahuasca – we can see that most participants experienced benefits in multiple areas, not just in relation to the original intention.

9. How profound was the benefit?

We asked participants to rate on a scale of 1 – 10 how profound they felt the benefit they received was.