Classification Into Narcotic: Several Plants & Substances Used as Hallucinogens-By Aude Chaboissier

Official Journal: Decree of 20 April 2005 modifying the decree of 22 February 1990 fixing the list of the substances classified like narcotics

The French Agency of medical safety of the products of health (Afssaps), on opinion of the national Commission of narcotics and of psychotropics, proposed the classification of the giant liana Ayahuasca and several other plants and substances entering the composition of drink called ayahuasca as narcotics because they are used as hallucinogens.

This decree object is in the Official Journal of May 3, 2005.

Banisteriopis caapi, also called Ayahuasca, is a giant liana with the hallucinogenic properties used primarily in Amazonia, traditional medicine or at the time of initiatory or religious rites. “Ayahuasca” is also the name given to a drink (infusion, maceration or decoction) prepared based on Ayahuasca or of similar plants. Ayahuasca contains active ingredients such as harmine, harmaline and  dimethyltryptamine (DMT) which is the hallucinogenic substance of the plant. Its toxicity in humans consists primarily of hallucinogenic effects and a major deterioration of the state of consciousness associated with digestive disorders (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), neuromuscular (sedation, giddiness, tremors) and cardiac problems (tachycardia, HTA).

In France, Ayahuasca, as well as the plants of similar properties are not commonly used. The use of this plant has increased, nevertheless, for a few years in Europe, outside of the initial traditional framework within particular populations (sectarian associations, seminars) or by the way of Internet sites selling these plants.

In this context, the examination of recent data carried out by the national Commission of the narcotics and psychotropic shows that Ayahuasca has psychoactive effects and a potential of proven abuse. It was also highlighted that this plant is a neurotoxin in animals and involves significant somatic effects.

With these elements, on opinion of the national Commission of the narcotics and of psychotropic joined together in December 2004 and registered the following plants on the list of the narcotics:

•The plant Banisteriopsis caapi (“Ayahuasca”) as well as other plants which can have a similar use (Peganum harmala, Psychotria viridis, Diplopterys cabrerana, Mimosa hostilis, Banisteriopsis rusbyana),

•Aubstances entering the composition of drink called ayahuasca: harmine, harmaline, tetrahydroharmine, harmol and harmalol.

•Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is already on the list of the narcotics.