Psychedelic Medicine


Addressing Addiction through the Ayahuasca Tradition with Carlos Tanner


In this episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast, Carlos Tanner Joins to share his story of addiction, and how participating in ayahuasca ceremonies not only led him to personal healing but started him down a path of becoming a traditional healer himself.

Carlos is the founder of the Ayahuasca Foundation, an organization based out of Iquitos, Peru, which hosts retreats and leads educational programs to pass along training in the Shipibo tradition. The Ayahuasca Foundation is also home to the Riosbo Retreat & Research Center, which has received funding from the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom to conduct research on the epigenetic effects of ayahuasca ceremonies, with particular focus on anxiety, depression, and childhood trauma.

Before becoming a pioneer in psychedelic science, Carlos had a long journey with addiction, leading him to seek healing in Peru through, Shipibo ayahuasca ceremonies. Participating in his first series of ceremonies in 2003, Carlos describes his challenging first experience with ayahuasca and the dramatic healings spurred by subsequent ceremonies.

Going into these experiences very much in the midst of addiction, Carlos came face to face with childhood trauma and personifications of his illness. With the help of the plant medicine and the spiritual ambiance of the ceremonies, he was able to find incredible healing in the experiences. It was the profound impact of these first encounters with ayahuasca and the Shipibo tradition experienced curandero, and learning the intricacies of the ceremonies.

In This Episode

• How the inner environment greatly impacts the outcome of an ayahuasca experience
• Carlos’ experience with an intensive series of ayahuasca ceremonies while struggling with addiction
• Trauma in oneself vs trauma in one’s relationships, and the different modes of healing for each
• The importance of the ceremony in shaping the healing experience
• Epigenetic change caused by ayahuasca ceremony, leading to decreased anxiety and depression


“That’s the magic of it- you could walk into a ceremony with zero faith and walk out with one hundred percent.” [13:05]

“When I left the third ceremony I knew it was my path to be a healer and that I was going to dedicate the rest of my life to this tradition.” [29:10]

“It was easy for me to heal that trauma. I know that might sound crazy but inside the ceremony, it wasn’t such a crazy, difficult ordeal for me.” [34:42]

“You can’t separate ayahuasca from the culture of its use, you can’t separate the ceremony from the medicine, and there’s so much that comes from the ceremony.” [49:33]

“If you’re in the world of addiction it’s going to be almost impossible to stay in that environment and not be an addict.” [1:01:35]


* The Psychedelic Medicine Podcast has allowed the Psychedelic Medicine Association to post episodes as an educational resource, and in return the PMA is hosting the podcast show notes.