Has anyone died from drinking Ayahuasca?

There are 3 answers to this, read until the end to understand!

The answers are:

  1. Yes
  2. Never
  3. Hopefully
  • Yes:
    There’s people that have died from drinking Ayahuasca but it has happened in places where things are done in a sketchy way.

    I’m not talking about drinking in someone’s basement or just ordering it online, although those are pretty sketchy practices. But because the brew is mixed with other psychoactive substances or other stuff so that people have a “stronger trip/experience.

    I personally know people that have ended up with mental health disorders, which have led to schizophrenia, being placed in mental asylums, dying a few months later from starvation and other mental illnesses.

    At the same time there’s places in Peru where the plant is mixed with other stuff for you to feel euphoric and wishing to come back.

    Let’s understand that not every Shaman has your best interest in mind, not every Shaman is a good person, for some of them, you’re a client and if they can get you high, possibly a little bit addicted, then you’ll be coming back and bringing your friends because you had a “good experience.

    So, yes, people can die when Ayahuasca is mixed with other stuff, specially other psychoactive substances.

    Yes, people have died when they have have lied in their form about the medicines they’re taking, especially antidepressant, antipsychotics and some medication for sleep, they can lead to serotonin syndrome or ways in which Ayahuasca interacts in a negative way with these pharmaceuticals.

    They can lead to a break in the respiration system, heart attack.

    The first answer is Yes, but let’s understand that it’s a yes in the wrong scenarios, under inexperienced hands, when the person lies about their mental, emotional or physical medical conditions

    Now, you may be asking “Has anyone died from actually just drinking the brew under the hands of a responsible Shaman?

    The answer is also yes, but let me give you a bit of context…

    Here in Colombia, for some tribes, the apprenticeship process, the time that you have to be staying with (probably living) an established Shaman before you are allowed to give the medicine yourself, it may take at least 10-15 years of apprenticing.

    These are 15 years where they’re living in the jungle and drinking a few times a week, 15 years where they undergo very strict “Dietas.”

    They have to go one month without food, just drinkign Ayahuasca, day and night, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

    Why do they do this? because Ayahuasca is like surgery for the heart for the energies of a person.

    A heart/brain surgeon spends a lot of time in medical school training, practicing, getting a PHD, they need a lot of experience before they can do it on their own.

    The risks of doing it poorly are too vast, the same thing happens with Ayahuasca, now you’ve seen that there’s a lot of facilitators or people who hand out the medicine with good vibes and a lot of “hippie” communities have many of these.

    These are people that may have spent a few months, maybe a 1-2 years in the jungle and now they’re Shamans, it’s not so simple.

    The apprenticeship process requires that somebody dedicates at least 10 years of their life to this, once the experienced Shaman thinks they’re ready, they have an initiation ceremony, where experienced elders come and sit down with the person.

    They serve in this bowl (half a coconut approx) and about a liter of Ayahuasca is served. (For context, if you drink half a shot glass of Ayahuasca, you have plenty to go and plenty to come back to.)

    You may go very, very deeper, maybe deeper than your mind may be ready for. Now imagine a whole litter of it.

    The intention behind this is that if the Shaman is well prepared and trained – his mind and spirit is disciplined, and his spirit is in the right place – then he will navigate through this and come back.

    These comas/trips last up to 3-4 days, the body of the person who’s graduating is just there, dead. The elder Shamans are waiting for him to come back and then crown him… or not to come back.

    They put themselves through a very, very strenuous process, so that they can qualify to be Shamans in Colombia.

    Nobody that drinks Ayahuasca for their own healing or exploration (unless they want to become a Shaman) will ever have to drink those quantities, so…

    The risk of dying from Ayahuasca under the hands of an experienced Shaman is almost non-existant.

  • Never:
    No, nobody dies.

    If it’s in the right setting, under the right guidance, then you may have a very, very strong night, a rough process, but you come back and feel your heart palpitating, you feel anxious, you may feel a lot of stuff.

    But you come back mentally, emotionally, physically, it is very safe.

    The body has enzymes that break it down within you, these enzymes start acting within a few hours of ingesting the medicine, even if you drink a lot, even if you’re very sensitive, you’re not gonna die.

    You’re gonna have a strong experience, that’s fine, but the chemical compounds/mix of the plants that are within Ayahuasca cannot kill you, not in the quantities that it is served for participants.

    Higher quantities may include or induce a toxic response, where you’re just vomiting a lot and that’s it, then you come back.

  • Hopefully:
    Has anyone died from Ayahuasca, i’d say hopefully, because…

    It is the best thing that can happen to a person.

    Ayahuasca can bring you to face all your fears; heal them, your fear of life, of expressing what you’re about, fear of standing strong in your convictions, fear of loving yourself, fear of forgiving others, fear of letting go, of shame, and most importantly, fear of death.

    A lot of people, including myself, we do not live lifes fully, or did not use to because of an unconscious fear of day.

    We imagine that we have all the time in the world to do what’s important; for us to tell the one we love that we love them, to quit the job we don’t like, to follow our passion, to share from that which we have learned, to have a radical shift in how we’re living our lives, understand who we are and what we came here to do.

    But we post-pone it because we think we are going to live eternally, we think that death is something that happens to other people and older people.

    The truth is that unless – and until we make friends with death, realizing that every moment is a gift, a present, until we realize that death can come later today, it can come tomorrow, we may not wake up.

    It comes for us and for the people that we love, until that is a present experience, we are going to live assuming that life is forever.

    Ayahuasca can bring you to a point where you feel and you’re convinced with all of your mind, body and heart that you’re going to die, and you die.

    Your soul leaves your body and you discover what’s at the other side of that, which is very hard to put into words, but…

    At first, when participants came and they said; “I feel like i’m gonna die.” “I’m dying.

    I’d feel very anxious, i’d feel that i need to take them out of that trip, that they’re having a bad trip. It wasn’t until i lived this myself, where i felt like i died, that i understood who i really am.

    Who am i when i don’t have a body? When i don’t have a mind, when everything that i think myself to be, everything that i believe that i am is shredded into pieces and burns.

    Who am i? What is left? This is an answer that cannot be shared logically but one that has to be experienced.

    It was an answer that allowed me to die to everything that i was not, to understand all the layers that i have placed on myself and on the other side of that there was a lot of freedom, peace and liberation from the weight that this self-imposed identity had broadened me.

    The freedom that came from this changed my life, changed my relationships, with every moment that i am awake and live.

    When i saw participants saying “I think i’m going to die.” i’d look into their eyes and tell them “All right, do it, die.” people would be shocked; “What? i can die?

    I’d say “Yes, do it!

    They’d close their eyes and would come back not being able to explain what had happened.

Has someone died from drinking Ayahusaca? Yes, it’s the best thing that could happen to you.

You die to your old habits, your old addictions, your old ways of disconnecting from your heart, you die to who you think you are.

To the carefully curated version of yourself that has become a cage, that you died to that, so when you come back, when you’re reborn, you realize that there’s so much freedom because there’s no longer a jail that is keeping you locked.

There’s no longer an idea of identity, culture, of anything.

This is the best thing that could happen to anybody.

To sum it up: has anyone died?

Yes, if it’s led or done under the wrong guidance, the wrong place, the wrong hands.

No, if it’s done in the right context, chemically, you’re not gonna die, you’re not drinking that much to even get close to that.

Hopefully, it’s the best thing that could happen to you, to have a spiritual life and come back.

If you feel the calling to sit with Ayahuasca, in a container held by Colombian Shamans at a sacred temple in the middle of the mountain forests, please check: