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Psychotria Viridis



Psychotria viridis foliage (chacruna) lenghtens en potentiates the psycho-active drinks made from Banisteriopsis caapi (Ayahuasca drinks). South-American Indians usually add various psychoactive plants (Ilex guayasa, Brugmansia species, Diplopterys cabrerana) to modify the experience.
It might be interesting to note that P. viridis appears to be utilized only as an admixture with other psychoactive plants and never alone. Perhaps this is because N,N-DMT, the active ingredient, is orally inactive when taken as a sole base-drug.4
Psychedelic: euphoria, changes in visual and auditory perception, emotional disturbances and synaesthesias (phenomenon in which the senses become transmuted). Time and space perception are seriously altered. After taken large doses of ayahuasca, one might feel a buzzing or humming in the ears, profuse sweating, drowsy and become frenzied for ten to fifteen minutes.

Autonomic effects: nausea, pupilairy dilation, tremor, retching, rise of blood pressure and body temperature.

Duration :
The effects appear within an hour after ingestion and last 4-6 hours. When an extract is smoked, the effects last for approximately 30 minutes.

Dosage and preparation :
15-25 grams of Chacruna should be provided per person. 5 The foliage can be taken in combination with Banisteriopsis stems or Peganum harmala seed to prepare an Ayahuasca-drink, but they may also be smoked as an extract.
Psychotria foliage contains 0.1-0.61 % N,N-DMT per dried weight. When taken in combination with MAO-inhibitors the DMT is physiologically active at 25-100 mg.


Figure: P. viridis foliage

Banisteriopsis stems or 3 grams of peganum harmala seed is the threshold dose to inhibit MAO. For a more detailed procedure, see Ayahuasca. Botanical aspects
P. viridis is belongs to Rubioideae (a family that is very rich in alkaloids). While this tree is native to the Amazonion forrests it is also cultivated in Colombia, Bolivia and East Brasil.
P. viridis is an evergreen shrub that has glossy green foliage, a woody stem and green-white coloured flowers and red fruits that contain approximately for oval seeds. In cultivation it usually reaches 2-3 meters in height.
It grows best in a light, highly humid environment. The easiest way of propagating the plant is through cuttings, because germination of seeds is difficult. Cuttings can be made best from a small twig or a single leaf.


Figure: P. Viridis

Figure: A fruit-bearing P. Viridis


Figure: P. viridis seeds

Figure: P. carthaginensis seeds

Phytochemistry :
Psychotria foliage contains several methylated tryptamines (N,N-DMT, NMT, 5-MeO-DMT , 5-MeO-NMT, bufotenine) and 2-methyl THbC (=N-methyl-tetrahydro-b-Carboline).
DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is mainly responsible for the psychoactive effects and NMT and the b-carboline are present in trace amounts.5.6 P. viridis contains 0.1-0.61 % DMT per dried weight.


Table 1.24: Tryptamine derivatives


Pharmacology :

The tryptamine alkaloids are of similar structure to serotonine and thereby have affinity for various serotonergic 5-HT2-receptors. The psychedelic effects might be explained by the fact that these substances are partial-agonists on the receptor subtype 5-HT2A. This receptor-subtype appears to be involved in hallucinogenic activity. In addition the tryptamines appear to inhibit esterase.3 Because the active tryptamines are substrate for monoamine oxidase (MAO), they are under normal circumstances quickly converted into psychologically inactive aldehydes; these tryptamines are psychologically inactive when taken orally without a MAO-inhibitor. Peganum harmala and Banisteriopsis caapi are b-carboline containing plants that can be used effectively to inhibit MAO and thereby render the tryptamines orally active. The above mentioned combination produces synergistic effects; it intensifies and lengthens the psychological effects.

Modifiers :
- MAO-inhibitors potentiate the effects of DMT.
- Ascorbic acid (vitamin c) doesn't change the intensity of the experience, but it alters its quality. One can concentrate better, develops less paranoia and is also less tired at the end of the experience.
- Hashish or marihuana can intensify the experience.
- Caffeine in combination with MAOI can cause hyperreactivity and suspiciousness.
- Tricyclic-antidepressants and a-typical neuroleptica that act as antagonists on the receptor subtype 5-HT2A (risperidon) antagonize the effects.
- Alkaloids of the tropane-type (atropine, scopolamine) alter and intensify the psychological effects (also more dangerous) of the Ayahuasca brews.

NOT to be combined with MAO-inhibitors
See paragraph monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI).

1. [Efron/ Holmstedt/ Kline, 1967]
2. [Forth/ Henschler/ Rummel/ Fostermann/ Starke, 2001]
3. [Hoffer/ Osmond, 1967]
4. [Hoffmann/ Schultes, 1973]
5. [Ratsch, 1998]
6. [Shulgin, 1997]
7. [Snyder, 1996]
8. [Stafford, 1974]
9. [Wells, 1973]

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