Fourteen Years of Clinical Research with Ayahuasca
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Jordi Riba

Abstract: This presentation is also part of the Ayahuasca Track.

This presentation will review completed and ongoing ayahuasca research conducted at Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona, Spain. The presentation will highlight the results of a series of studies addressing the impact of ayahuasca use on neuropsychological performance and emotional processing. The results from a recent neuroimaging study will also be discussed, in which cortical changes were found in the brains of long-term ayahuasca users.

Desired Outcomes for : At the conclusion of the activity, learners will be able to:

  1. Counsel patients who use ayahuasca in religious and therapeutic settings with increased cultural competency and sensitivity
  2. Advise patients on the long-term effects and consequences of ayahuasca use based on published evidence-based literature
  3. Advise patients on the acute neurological effects and potential therapeutic applications of ayahuasca based on current and ongoing empirical research

Jordi Riba, PhD, started his research career in the field of organic chemistry studying new pathways for the synthesis of indole alkaloids. In 1996, he became interested in the pharmacology of psychoactive drugs and started working on his doctoral thesis under the supervision of Prof. Manel Barbanoj. In 1999, he obtained approval for the first controlled clinical trial conducted with ayahuasca, and in 2003 his PhD with a thesis on the human pharmacology of this Amazonian entheogen. He is currently Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Associate Researcher at the Biomedical Research Institute of Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona, where he has conducted a series of clinical studies involving the administration of ayahuasca to experienced psychedelic/entheogen users. He also conducted the first neuroimaging study of acute ayahuasca administration. His research interests also include cannabinoids, psychostimulants, and the salvinorins. His research has been published in leading scientific journals including the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Psychopharmacology, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, and Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

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