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© 2019 Catharsis: The Ayahuasca Experiment

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01

THE FILM

Suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), 43 year old Matt Mulaire from North Carolina will travel deep into the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest in a last ditch attempt to come to terms with his inevitable premature death by investigating the psychedelic drug ayahuasca.  A sacred healing treatment that has been practices for thousands of years by indigenous peoples of the Amazon. 

Matt began life as a regular kid growing up in New Hampshire in the 70’s. He studied hard, worked tirelessly for his eventual job as a nuclear welder, married, bought a house, raised a family and made a run at the American dream. Now, at the age of fortythree he’s been given only a few years to live. This film is a unique experiment, which sees Matt explore the emerging world of psychoassisted therapy, in a bid to try something when all else has failed.

By travelling deep into the jungles of Ecuador, taking part in a series of 8000 year old ceremonies, whilst also learning from the best scientific minds currently researching this new realm of medical science, Matt searches to make sense of the situation he finds himself in, and to clear a mental path forward in the time that he has left.

 
02

THE FACTS

For the first time, in 2015 CTE was confirmed by the Boston University Medical Center  as  a unique degenerative brain disease that can only be truly diagnosed after death by studying a person’s brain.

Already the relationship of certain products such as Psilocybin and LSD have been shown to mitigate end of life anxiety in up to 70% of participants, and is proving effective in mitigating PTSD. Perhaps the figurative frontman of these chemicals however is contained within the ancient ayahuasca tea, dimethyltryptamine (DMT).

This is the subject of huge interest and is only just beginning to make strides within the medical community.

 

The number of people who have had incredible experiences with ayahuasca, if they could all surface in the public sphere at the same time, it would be absolutely astonishing."

 Rick Doblin- 

(founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies)

  • For the first time, in 2015 CTE was confirmed by the Boston University Medical Center  as  a unique degenerative brain disease that can only be truly diagnosed after death by studying a person’s brain.

  • Repeated head injuries are the major cause of CTE, and yet there remains little commitment to prevent long-term injury.

  • Seventy percent of plants with anticancer properties exist only in the Amazon, and the psychoactive Amazonian brew, Ayahuasca is gaining traction among a widening group of people. It is seen by many as an amazing treatment for those suffering from mental health diseases, like no other psychoactive treatment available. With an estimated 16.2 million of adults in the US alone , or 6.7 percent of the population, suffering from depression, addiction or PTSD there is an increasing call for healing and treatment that extend beyond bearers of the counterculture. 

  • Our Rainforests host over half the world’s species and indigenous peoples use them for medicine; about 7000 of today’s medicines are from plants. Yet since 1970, hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of the Amazon Rainforest has been lost due to human activity. It has one of the highest levels of biodiversity on earth and is known as ’the lung of our planet’, yet we are endangering its resources and the future of its indigenous peoples.

 
03

THE MISSION

There is growing concern for ‘ayahuasca tourism’ which continues to put at risk the lives of inexperienced westerners looking for fun, which in turn risks the reputation of a sacred culture and genuine medical developments.

When the overall consensus is that clinical trials hope to put psychedelic compounds into clinical practice by 2020/2021, this project is perfectly timed to be ahead of the curve, and when the debate truly ignites and the topic gains international interest and press coverage, the growing efficacy of psycho-assisted therapy may begin to transcend demographics. Of course, it is still a very new area, but people are finally paying this therapy the attention it deserves, and further research has the potential to reveal that this may have the power to cause “awakenings” in the brain that could make mental illnesses including depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD and even degenerative brain diseases potentially treatable. However the film is much more immediate than this, it offers an insight into a man’s willingness to do whatever it takes to find some semblance of peace, in a time where he and his family face a difficult reality. And whilst fully accepting the reality that this may not work, it is the notion that Matt has the ability to try this treatment, and fight against adversity that strikes hardest. 

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