Ayahuasca–Let’s Not Let Big Pharma Patent It

I first learned about Ayahuasca from an episode of “This is Life” with Lisa Ling in which she traveled to the Peruvian jungle with a group of veterans who were suffering from severe PTSD, anxiety, and depression.  They were going there to try an age-old remedy, a hallucinogenic tea containing Ayahuasca.  

Each time I watched an episode of this show, I gained more respect for Lisa Ling, who may be one of the only genuine reporters alive today.   In this episode, she nearly broke down as she listened to the veteran’s horror stories of the killing and rape that the media so carefully sanitizes in all its war “coverage”.  They described in detail how these horrific experiences destroyed their ability to sustain healthy meaningful relationships– and ultimately, their will to live.   

They also described the zombie-like existences offered them in the form of anti-depressants and anxiety and sleep medications by the veteran’s administration.  A follow-up with all of them after returning from Peru reveals that their experiences with ayahuasca proved beneficial, as it affects the part of the brain where emotions interact with memories of personal experiences. 

Cynic that I am, I now fear that big pharma is going to try and get a patent on the plant that produces the ayahuasca tea used in the ceremonies, much the way they obtained patents on other plants. Incredible as it may seem, corporations are claiming ownership of nature now, in order to hold it hostage for personal profit. The thought of big pharma using the damaged psyches of veterans and others suffering from PTSD to make a profit makes me physically ill. 

I’m so happy that the earth has produced something that can alleviate their suffering.  Since it threatens to reduce big pharma’s profits, I hope this drug doesn’t become the target for yet another “drug war”, like marijuana did, which is what happens when big pharma wants to corner the market on pain relief. 

You can read more about this story here.    http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/22/health/ayahuasca-medicine-six-things/

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