A brief interview in which he speaks about himself, and from there to any person who wants to open up to alternative health options and improve his/her life.


“Psychotherapy with psychedelic drugs is liberating”

I’m 84 years old. I was born in Chile and live in California. I’m a medical doctor. I’m a widower, without children: the only one I had died in a car accident. I’m antipolitical, because politicians fear that we grow. Beliefs? All kinds! But opposed to religions. You can get out of your hells.

Psychonaut: Claudio Naranjo is a wise psychonaut: explores as doctor and scientist the frontiers of body and soul. In the early sixties he healed his own psychological wounds with the use of psychoactive substances, with which his patients also benefited: a new dawn in the therapeutic horizon was rising… that got truncated by the governments’ prohibitionism. But Naranjo has not stopped inquiring since then, and now exposes his conclusions in Exploraciones psicodélicas (La Llave)/Psychedelic explorations (The Key), book that will hopefully promote the decriminalization of those drugs and a learning that reopens an era of progresses in favor of mental health. Naranjo offers himself to form specialists.


What is a psychedelic medication?

A substance that mobilizes the consciousness of its consumer.

With what objective?

Help him understand what happens to his/her psyche, to be able of integrating it and thus improve his/her life.

What are those wonderful substances?

I have investigated four psychedelics, as a doctor: ayahuasca, mushrooms, iboga and MMDA.

They are drugs.

They are psychotropic drugs. The “war against drugs” satanized them, halted scientific research about their therapeutic effects.

Have you tested those psychedelics?

In personal experiments in the sixties, in spite of prohibitionist legislations.


Guided by experts, and protected by a university in Chile and by the government of Brazil. And that’s why I expose my conclusions.

What are they?

That the therapeutic use of psychedelics has improved the life of many of my patients. Starting with myself…

Doctor, cure yourself?

The pharmaceutical Sandoz gave us vials with doses of LSD to experiment, in 1960. In a dark and soundproof room, they injected me 60 micrograms of LSD…

And how was it?

The ceiling became transparent. Four hours later, already at home, I saw my plants breathe. I wrote something, and Neruda’s voice resounded, oceanic, embracing all emotions. And I heard a fragment of the tragic music of the opera Carmen, when the bullfighter threatens her.

Visions, but… did you get cured from anything?

I was pathologically shy and terrified by the tragic: all that emerged, and I understood that I was living disconnected from myself, with science as refuge.

Science is good.

But I couldn’t love. Because of a broken bond with my mother: another dose unveiled that for me. I decided to bet on loving a woman. And… she left me. I got very depressed… But I was already on the path!

What way?

Mine, of reconnecting with myself again. Psychedelic experiences are transforming: suddenly, I felt capable of helping others.

And what did you do?

I improved my patients’ lives. And presented reports… that my colleagues criticized, weighing against the evidence of the facts.

Why was that? If it proved to be useful…

Academic pride can’t accept knowledge that it associates to illiterate shamans.

Did that academic prejudice lead to prohibition?

That and an authoritarian reaction from the government of the United States of America in 1964… in light of the excessive enthusiasm of the hippies and Timothy Leary.

University professor and writer, right?

In Harvard, yes: he was expelled. Initiated by my great friend Frank Barron, Leary got obsessed with promoting the free consumption among the young…

And the government got scared.

Two prides collided, the culture and the counterculture. And there a war against the drug was invented…, with the excuse of health.

Excuse? There must have been something…

No. Psychedelics don’t harm chromosomes, are not addictive, don’t cause insanity or suicides. And with all this science lost: we all lost! Some, discreetly, continued experimenting in Palo Alto with LSD and creativity, therefore Aldous Huxley.

What psychopathologies can be cured with psychedelics?

I reject making lists, I maintain that the psychedelic experience is liberating: it exacerbates your critical sense towards dogmas and internal and external authoritarianism.

Where does emotional illness come from?

From having repressed our animal background. Reconcile with it and you will regain health. Don’t be just an intellectual machine.

What does ayahuasca have in particular?

Harmaline, for example, an alkaloid present as well in the Peganum harma-, plant of Siria: brings out very archaic instincts, from the root, from the collective unconscious.


It’s an empathogen. An affective optimizer: you feel more the bond with the other. For two hours, you love without problems. You appreciate life. They are vacations from your neurosis.

To which you return later.

But having lived that will later help you to see yourself from the outside.

And ibogaine?

I discovered it and patented it, as therapy against addictions to opium and cocaine. En an ideal dose it produces the experience of death and rebirth impressively: it’s very liberating, which is to say, healing.

And psilocybin?

The active ingredient of the mushrooms Psilocybe, is a good alternative to LSD: it’s more controllable, your will can modulate its effects. If you fix what is required, you heal. If not… you stay in your hell, the one you deserve.



Ayahuasca International holds Inner Evolution retreats with therapeutic use of Ayahuasca in several countries in Europe. For bookings or to request any further information call to +49 (0) 171 987 6655 (also available by whatsapp) or write to [email protected] 

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