Lisa Ling on Ayahuasca: 'I Did Not Try It'

While in Peru investigating ayahuasca ceremonies, Lisa Ling witnessed others drinking the jungle brew, but was "strictly forbidden by CNN from taking part in the ayahuasca ceremony." However, she says, "I really think I would have." 

Ayahuasca expert Peter Gorman in Iquitos, Peru.

Ling reports on one so-called gringo shaman and another local ayahuasquero who provide the "joy juice," as Peter Gorman calls it, to vets suffering with PTSD.

Ayahuasca is made from vines that contain DMT only found in the Amazon region, But you never quite know what you're getting, says former High Times editor Gorman, who takes Ling on a tour of the market in Iquitos. Gorman acknowledges that ayahuasca tourism, which he's involved in, has given him a queasy feeling, and not from the noxious effects of the concoction. There have been recent reports of deaths from intoxication in the area, but Ling focuses on the positive: suicidal soldiers who get some sort of relief from the psychedelic substance.

"This is a very different type of an experience than an illicit drug, I think," Ling notes. "People are not going for a drug high, but for real healing."

Watch This Is Life with Lisa Ling, Sun., 10 pm, on CNN/

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.