Like peyote or san pedro, ayahuasca can’t really be called a drug as it’s far more like a medicine, with roots in sacred indigenous culture and shamanic rituals. The tribes in the Amazon across Brazil and Peru have various kinds of ayahuasca preparations for varying occasions – some tribes even give the preparation to their children.
The ayahuasca experience is total. It may be taken with a shaman who will control the strength of your journey, or it might be taken in a ritual setting such as the Santo Daime church in Brazil. Either way, the ayahuasca journey is likely be one of the most intense experiences you’ll ever pass through and should not be taken lightly. Good physical and psychological health are prerequisites.
The active ingredient in ayahuasca is DMT, a substance which can also be found in crystal form but which then gives a much shorter, less-involved trip that some liken to watching a movie in front of their eyes. However, many people report back on seeing the same hallucinated creatures on DMT and ayahuasca, sparking conjecture from famous stoners like the late Terence McKenna that users were actually making touch with beings from another dimension or parallel universe.
Of course, they were probably really high at the time that the idea occurred to them…