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tv   This Is Life With Lisa Ling  CNN  March 13, 2015 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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to stay young. and in many ways, that's better than sex. -- captions by vitac -- psychedelics, alternate realities, mind expansion. if you think that sounds like the '60s, take a closer look. ♪ these american tourists are under the spell of a hallucinogenic plant mixture called ayahuasca. it's made from a jungle vine, and its proponents claim it's transforming their lives. >> what has ayahuasca done for you? >> raised my level of vibration, raised my self-awareness. >> are these psychedelic adventurers actually leading the way to new levels of
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consciousness? or are they experimenting with a potentially lethal substance? >> you don't know what it would be. what if it's not ayahuasca? >> jungle healers claim it holds the promise of cures that have defied modern medicine for centuries. >> and there's no way to prepare yourself until you actually go there. >> the truth is hidden deep in the heart of the amazon jungle. we're going there to find out if the so-called healing vine can transform lives and soothe troubled souls. >> i would like to not wish to die all the time. ♪ ♪
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in a peaceful town in pennsylvania's heartland, a successful internet entrepreneur is raising his family. this is 40-year-old stan. >> higher? >> from the outside, he's got it all. two adorable daughters and a beautiful wife named birgit. you might think stan has the perfect life. but you'd be wrong. he's been haunted by a traumatic event over three decades old. >> when i was 6 years old, you know, i ended up getting molested by a stranger outside the house. that changed things for me. >> how do you think that event shaped the rest of your life?
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>> i always thought i could have fought him off and done better. but then i can't picture fighting off this bigger person. it definitely put a cloud over things, and i distinctly remember after, maybe like a week or two after, i remember saying, like, i'm different. like i'm scared of the world. there was a violent element to it, so it really overloaded my nervous system. and i remember saying why does everything look kind of not so colorful like it used to? >> in the years following this traumatic event, stan grew up living a typical middle-class life but continued to be haunted by his past. with each milestone, he hoped his bleak moods would disappear. they didn't. no one knows this better than stan's wife, birgit. >> i fell in love with him, so it was like, oh, my god. this beautiful person, but i always felt like i was holding back something. i just couldn't get to it. he could transform into this genius, awesome, glowing person, and he is that, part of him is that, too.
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but then he's got that shadow. i guess some people get more sad than others. >> how bad is his depression? >> sometimes he will just lay in bed like he doesn't want to get up. or he will not go to sleep, and it creates friction and arguments, and you just can't really talk to him. >> when he's in the grip of depression, stan feels the need to isolate. even as his family gathers, he pulls away, cutting himself off from those he loves. how does that make you feel, that he can't have dinner with you and the girls? >> it's horrible. >> therapy, meditation, anti-depressants. stan's tried them all and nothing's worked. now he's ready to try something extreme. stan is preparing to fly to the jungles of peru to search for a cure, in the form of a powerful hallucinogenic concoction called
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ayahuasca. >> what are you hoping happens over the course of the next 12 days? >> i'm hoping to go to resolve that kind of lingering, undefinable dark cloud that follows me around and not have it there anymore, so it's not subverting my life. so i'm hoping ayahuasca will help me go inward and have it heal me. >> we're off to peru where we're going to meet stan. he's someone who has just had this tortured soul for the last 30 years, and he's hoping that this substance that's illegal here in the u.s. is going to heal him. we'll see. stan's journey will take him to south america, to the frontier town of iquitos located deep in the amazon. this outpost has become the epicenter of a growing industry
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of ayahuasca tourism. i'm on my way to a jungle retreat, one of many run by ex-pat americans. these forests produce many of our modern medicines. and i want to find out if ayahuasca could someday become one of them. this is el pugero, or the purger, a collection of simple huts tucked away in the forest. it's amazing to me that there are over 100 of these ayahuasca centers in this part of peru. almost all of them are run by foreigners, and most of them don't have electricity or even running water, but yet people are coming. they're coming and staying in little huts like this one because they say they're not finding what they need back home. here, stan hopes to find solace.
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and he's seeking it from this man. ron wheelock. aka the gringo shaman. he's a former mechanic and pot dealer from kansas who spent two decades in peru cooking up psychedelic teas in his role as shaman, or traditional healer. i meet up with stan and ron at el pugero as the gringo shaman breaks down the plant mix used in his ayahuasca brew, acclaimed as the most powerful in the region. >> these are the leaves of the huambisa, the chalipanga that contain five emdnt. this is chacruna. this contains mdent. and these are from the chirifanango. >> for millennia, native shamans in the amazon have tapped this jungle pharmacy for all types of cures. but in the past decade thousands of american tourists have flocked here seeking help from local medicine men including a new wave of gringo healers like ron.
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a ten-day retreat at el pugero costs about $1,000 and attracts a wide range of seekers from across the globe. a father and daughter from canada, an online entrepreneur, the son of a successful ceo and a professor from belgium. like stan, these travelers are serious. they want healing for mind, body and soul. >> so what's the strongest part in the ayahuasca? is it toward the bark or the whole thing? >> actually, when you harvest the whole plant, best you take the root. the root is the strongest part. each one of you tear it open and put one in. ♪ >> to produce this powerful potion, this mixture of leaves and vines is combined with water, then simmered for hours over an open flame.
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in peru this psychedelic mixture which locals call "the medicine" is legal, but in america it's a schedule one drug with serious jail time. >> what do you say when people call ayahuasca a drug? >> my definition of a drug is the pills and stuff that the pharmacy sells. these are natural plants. this is medicine. >> the myths surrounding ayahuasca and its miraculous powers are spread by psychedelic travelers like this 33-year-old artist named roman. >> how many times have you done ayahuasca? >> tonight will be my 32nd ayahuasca ceremony and fifth journey here to the jungle. >> so what has ayahuasca done for you? >> everything. it has helped evolve my consciousness, raised my level of vibration, raised my self-awareness.
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it becomes a part of you. it speaks to you. i always allow it to flow through me, and together we kind of do this healing dance in a way, this trance. and we're both in that trance. >> ron says he's worked with thousands of seekers like roman, who's recovering from an accident that's left him with headaches, depression, and insomnia. people come here with real serious issues and deeply rooted. >> very deeply rooted. >> how does ayahuasca help heal those wounds? >> by showing people where they came from. maybe a childhood trauma, and even deeper. it is a healing process. i've had several times people who've seen psychiatrists for over a year. one ayahuasca session and never go back. i tell them, you can read all there is about this, and there's no way to prepare yourself until
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you actually go there. >> night falls. stan's psychedelic journey begins. ron blesses the hut using rituals he's learned from local indigenous healers. this is where the ceremony is going to take place. in a little while it's going to be pitch black in here, and ron is going to be presiding from his altar. this first part of the ceremony is called the purge. so you'll see a lot of basins in front of the chairs. that's because it's inevitable that people will start to vomit profusely or even have to defecate. but many people have said that this one experience can be life-changing. as i watch ron's guests file in, it's clear there's more to ayahuasca than just the promise of a hallucinogenic experience. stan's quest and that of the
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others is steeped in traditions that pay tribute to the plants of the forest and a spirit being called mother ayahuasca. >> thank you for all the plants in the world who give us life, who teach us, who heal us. for without them nothing and no one would live. >> everybody is supposed to have an intention before they go through with this ceremony. do you have one? >> i was thinking about just focusing on my own healing, kind of letting the wisdom of the plant and ron and you know, kind of let that procession happen in this ceremony. >> in careful measures, ron doles out shots of his potent tea, which he guarantees will send them on mind-bending explorations. but there's a toll to be paid on this jungle odyssey. because for first-timers, ayahuasca can be a wild ride. exactly what will happen to stan and the others is anyone's guess.
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it's pitch-dark, but our night-vision cameras capture every moment, and one hour into the ceremony the physical effects of ayahuasca start to kick in. some people vomit. others teeter on the brink of
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collapse. though i'd been forewarned, these intense reactions are still disconcerting. [ chanting ] but this is just the beginning. the gringo shaman steps up the healing, blowing smoke onto seekers like stan to drive off negative spirits. these are native traditions repackaged by ron to give his guests an authentic ayahuasca experience. you know when everyone around you is intoxicated or drunk and you're the only one not under the influence? that's kind of how it feels to be in that room. there are people in there who are having extremely intense experiences. and then there's stan who has been kind of sitting there just stoically the whole night. it's hard to tell how or if
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ayahuasca has affected him. >> one person tripping hard is roman. his very physical performance contrasts sharply with the first-timers who struggle to keep it together during this five-hour ordeal. but whether anyone will experience real healing will have to wait for the light of day. i've been around a lot of people who've been under the influence of various drugs. i myself have been under the influence, but i've never experienced anything like what i experienced last night. the ceremony and the ritual were so elaborate, but the people here are emphatic about the fact that ayahuasca is not a drug. it's a medicine, they say. the first person i see upon arrival is roman.
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>> do you remember what was happening to you in the ceremony? because you were very physical. >> mm-hmm. i don't hold back at all. it might look a little strange, of course, but i was doing exactly what i was needing to do to get exactly the healing i was getting. >> like many ayahuasca devotees, he claims he's visited in ceremony by serpents and spirit animals who enter his body to enhance his healing. >> i was hoping to see them, and i was not disappointed. they didn't come right away, but they came. >> and what was that like? >> you're in the psychedelic world. you can definitely feel their presence and invite them to come into you to create that bond. and it was just like another piece to my spiritual arsenal. >> what are the serpents doing now? are they -- are they part of you now? >> it's not like i feel them crawling around me now, but i believe in difficult times in my life consciously and subconsciously they will be with me protecting me.
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i just know that. >> while ayahuasca might be protecting roman's soul, it's been having a field day with his body and mind. like magic mushrooms ayahuasca contains a psychedelic agent called dimethyltryptamine, or dmt. dmt accelerates and enhances communication in the brain between areas responsible for sense of self, emotion and perception. scientists believe this induces a dream-like or hypnotic state that triggers personal revelations and new ways of thinking about old trauma. for stan that would mean coming to terms with haunting memories of abuse dating back three decades. >> so how was it? >> it's really hard to explain. i think i made big progress last night. the most profound thing was kind of connecting with when i was younger and the molestation attack. it's like i regular struggling,
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-- i remember i was struggling, struggling to get away because the attacker was in a frenzy. >> so you thought about that last night? >> yeah, yeah. i saw that i was strong, not weak from that experience. >> has it been hard, your whole life, because you are actually a big, imposing-looking guy. >> that's -- >> to not feel strong? to feel weak? >> that's the thing. my self-identity was one of like a weak, broken young boy versus like a capable adult. i'd look at pictures of myself and i wouldn't see an adult there. i'd see just a weak person, a child. it's a very personal experience to go through this. it's really hard work, but it's also an opportunity to grow.
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the river town of iquitos, a launch pad for american tourists looking for a trip to the rainforest.
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their first stop is often the belen market, where all kinds of exotica are up for sale. vendors here sell everything from vegetables and alligator skulls to snake charms and yes, even ayahuasca. we just asked one of the shopkeepers if they had any ayahuasca, and this woman said, let me just run over and get some. so how much does she sell this for? >> i have no idea. [ speaking foreign language ] 50 soles. >> to guide me on the potential pitfalls of ayahuasca tourism is the writer and ayahuasca expert peter gorman. >> what are some of the dangers of buying ayahuasca randomly in the market like this? >> you don't know what it would be. what if it's not ayahuasca. the danger wouldn't be anything specific, it would just be, who the hell knows what they are
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doing. >> people really are carrying a lot of abuse, so many things are deeply rooted. is ayahuasca a cure for this stuff? >> i think if you can dislodge that negative energy, if you can glimpse what you could be without it, you can go back home and work on getting rid of it. if you think you're just going to take joy juice and hey, dislodge it, you're nuts. five years of work to get rid of it, and still it can be unhealed. >> peter settled in iquitos in the 1990s when he witnessed the first wave of ayahuasca tourism. while he endorses psychedelic healing, he's worried about how traditions are changing. >> traditionally, the shaman drinks. >> the shaman. >> he accesses other realms of reality to find out where the dissonance is that if the shaman corrects will eliminate the symptom on this. could be physical, could be emotional. it could be bad luck. we americans come, and we said, we insist on drinking the damn
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stuff. we want our lives changed. and we want that experience. so that certainly set things right on its head. and i've had this feeling in my bones for five or six years that something could go slightly wrong here that could sour a lot of stuff. >> like peter, there are many here who believe ayahuasca is a miracle substance with great potential. but recent headlines speak to hidden dangers. >> 18-year-old sebastopol resident kyle nolan died at a spiritual retreat in peru three weeks ago. >> the death of a british teen in colombia has police shrouded in mystery. >> the boom in ayahuasca tourism has come with a price. in the last decade, several people have died after drinking ayahuasca, the majority of them in peru. experts believe mixing this jungle medicine with stimulants and anti-depressants can have lethal consequences.
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but in most cases the cause of death remains unconfirmed. for old pros like ron, these tragedies forecast a troubling trend. >> given the explosion of ayahuasca tourism and the amount of money people are making, do you think there will be more deaths? >> i hate to say it, yes, there probably will be. it's in the cards. [ rooster crowing ] >> but such warnings aren't enough to stop another group of americans who've been to hell and back and are ready to try anything. they're veterans of war who've just arrived at this jungle retreat called phoenix ayahuasca. these vets suffer from profound ptsd, which kills 22 soldiers every day. they're here because they don't want to be next. the trip's organizer is former marine lance corporal ryan lecompte. >> how did you feel so certain
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that this is something that could help veterans? i mean, to bring people all the way out here to the jungle to do something you hadn't even tried before. i mean, it's kind of risky. >> it is risky, but it's a calculated risk. ayahuasca's a way to give relief to those who are suffering. at the v.a. with these medicines, anti-depressants, sleep aids like ambien don't mix very well. and there's not a whole lot of psychotherapy being followed up with that. it's just -- >> here's a pill. >> here's a band-aid, yeah. the ayahuasca is a way to instead of sweeping the dirt under the rug, you know, these medicines force you to take the rug outside and beat it with a stick until it's clean. and that's how i prefer to clean my house. >> there was a guy about 10 feet from me. a piece of shrapnel hit him, and
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he was opened up from here down to here. and i saw his -- this skin just fly off, and it was flapping in the breeze like a flag. i'm staring at this guy, and he -- that's when we knew it's going to be over soon. and the last body count i got was 67 wounded and 11 killed. there was a guy about -- sorry. i wasn't expecting this. >> we ain't got to go there, bob. >> bob is a vietnam army infantryman long suffering from ptsd. he claims ayahuasca has cured him. he's returned to peru to support fellow soldiers richard, a marine sergeant who did two tours in iraq, and libby, an airman first class whose ptsd diagnosis includes sexual trauma
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while on active duty. >> how has the ptsd affected you all these years? >> relationships. i can't hold them. you kind of just become a cruel person. but that's not really what you want to be. >> and when you say you've tried everything, what do you mean? >> the therapies, the talk sessions. i still see a psychiatrist. drugs, drugs, drugs, drugs, drugs. the anti-depressants were the worst. because it just made me more suicidal. people just don't need to live like this. you know, you want to die all the time. you want to kill yourself, but you don't want to die. you want to keep going. but you know, just life has been over. >> i guess i'll just ask, you know, what are you expecting from this? >> after i got back from my first appointment, i was showing a lot of signs of ptsd.
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i was -- i was very depressed. and i felt numb and detached. and i experienced some sexual violence at the hands of another marine. i kept it in for a long time because i just felt embarrassed, like you know, it was just another marine, right? like -- and i couldn't even protect myself from that. and you know, they'd laugh about it while he did it like it was some sort of joke or ha ha, you're the bitch and this and that. it took me a long time to admit that was even sexual violence. i realized i was holding out for suicide. it was just out. there were many times i didn't do it because i was afraid to [ muted ] it up. i know i don't want to die. i don't want to end my life. i just want to end like this -- this thing inside of you. and i know that it's a way out, that i have control and i can exercise that decision. so that's why i'm here. >> wow, guys. i'm so moved by your stories.
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i feel so honored that you guys are sharing. >> thanks, guys. appreciate it. >> the veterans don't want to be sedated anymore. we would like an alternative treatment option. we're standing our ground. we flew thousands and thousands of miles away to drink from a cup that has something in it that might help us. let's do it.
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extreme ptsd makes war vets prone to dark moods, rage, and violence. for libby, a recluse from arkansas, her story of trauma begins in the 1980s, and she's sharing it with me here away from the others. >> why did you want to come here? >> i would like to not wish to die all the time. i'd like to be able to live. >> can you tell us what happened to you? >> i was out one night after training and was taken by the marines, and each one of them took their turn.
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and then left me in a ditch. >> how old were you? >> 21. >> what were you like before that happened? >> i was pretty outgoing. now i'm kind of just a shell. mainly an isolated person, a depressed person. just messed up in the head. >> did you ever get any justice? >> no. >> has the v.a. been helpful to you? >> not really. you know, when you go through every kind of pill they offer, you are just grasping at straws. >> it's hard to imagine living that way for decades. >> it is, isn't it? i'm kind of at my wits' end. that's why i'm here. i figure, i've got this much life left, dang, surely i can accomplish something besides hiding from society. >> tonight libby and richard will take a radical step, accompanied by ryan and bob. instead of popping prescription pills they'll drink a
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psychedelic brew. a familiar ceremony. a new shaman. this one born here in the amazon. bob purges as richard and libby succumb to the effects of the hallucinogen. but something about this night feels different. ryan is on cloud nine, dancing, then communing with nature. back in the hut, it appears bob has left in a panic after the shaman blessed him with ceremonial smoke. the ceremony is fairly different from the one the other night.
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bob, for example, just stormed out and apparently feels overwhelmed by something. ryan just seems like he is having the time of his life and is dancing and just overjoyed. richard is obviously going through something. it's hard to tell what. and libby is just kind of curled in a ball. and it seems like she's in a little bit of pain. so obviously, it's kicking in, and it's manifesting itself in different ways. concerned for bob, i head off towards his bungalow. for four decades, his battle with extreme ptsd has left him with a short fuse. the smallest trigger can produce explosive reactions. >> hi, bob. >> yeah. >> what happened, bob? you kind of stormed out of there. >> don't tell me you've got to blow smoke in my face for me to have the correct type of journey. smoking is nothing to do with the healing powers of ayahuasca. has nothing to do with the
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spirit world, the vision world. you think those beings up there are smoking and -- >> you since the war have been prone to serious anger issues. was the anger tonight similar to that anger that you've felt all these years? >> yeah. i think so. but i knew i had to get out because i knew i was close to slipping into the combat mode. sometimes you can just black out, have a flashback and -- >> before you had familiarized yourself with ayahuasca, what might you have done? >> that's why i'm alone all the time. because i know somebody's going to kill me or i'm going to kill somebody or i'm going to end up in prison. maybe that's why i stay alone so much. >> this show is so hard to do because i have no idea what these people are going through. but if this is a real opportunity, if this gives them
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any semblance of peace, if it helps them think differently about living and about suicide, i hope people take the opportunity to try and better understand if there's merit to this. edit. >>i know i have a 786 fico score, thanks to all the tools and help on so how are we going to sweeten this deal? floor mats... clear coats... >>you're getting warmer... leather seats... >>and this... my wife bought me that. get your credit swagger on. become a member of experian credit tracker and find out your fico score powered by experian. fico scores are used in 90% of credit decisions. intercourse that's painful due noboto menopausal changesit... it's not likely to go away on its own.
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it's been two days since the ceremony, and we're going to check on bob in his hut. since he had a little meltdown the other night. check and see how he's doing. hi. >> hi. >> how are you doing? >> can i get a hug? >> yeah. >> thank you. >> tell me what's going on. >> as you know, the last time i saw you i was angry about the smoke. now when i go back to the maloka if the shaman wants to blow the smoke over me i'm fine with it. >> bob, you've been dealing with ptsd for decades. where are you in that process right now of recovery? >> i don't think it -- i think it's always underneath the surface. but ayahuasca is helping me to
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learn to live with it. you know, ptsd, the dangerous thing for us, somebody does something, i react right away without thinking. but we're trained to do that in the armed forces because if you take time to think you can be killed. so it's ingrained into us. cause, you need to have an effect right away, because you can die. so it's about creating a space between that cause and effect to give you time to think and pause and breathe. and ayahuasca has been helping me do that. it's a long process. it's not going to happen in just a few journeys. >> are you hoping that by continuing this work you'll be able to get to a place where you can communicate with people? >> i hope so. that's my hope. i have my faith in the medicine. but the thing about it is, i don't communicate with humans at home. i speak to maybe two humans a month, and that's about it.
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that's all the communication i have. but i have communication with mother ayahuasca. i play by flute, and i communicate off that realm. and my cat. >> is a spirit being called mother ayahuasca really speaking to bob? and could such messages actually be helping him? from what he's told me about his history, homelessness, drug addiction, jail time, his life appears more stable. so maybe this jungle fix has helped him find a new equilibrium, one without the powerful side effects of antidepressants. i'm curious to know if any of the others communed with mother ayahuasca two nights ago. so i track down libby to hear about her first excursion into the psychedelic realm. >> i see you wearing a piece of ayahuasca on a necklace. does that mean you had a good experience the other night? >> i really can't say. it was odd, definitely. >> yeah?
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>> yeah. >> can you describe what you experienced? >> and make sense about it? >> try. >> try? it was sickening. gut wrenching sickening. but then after i recovered from that, i started feeling good again. >> it was hard for us to tell how you were feeling, because you looked like you were asleep. >> i wasn't. i'd come to a little bit, and then i would go off into this, like, trance again. i had some revelations. >> like what? >> just that i'm not a bad person. that i'm okay. it was just like a being talking to me. >> a what? >> a being. and it was like an audible voice saying, it's okay. you know, i'm not going to harm you. and you think, weird. it was a warm feeling.
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>> have you ever felt that before? >> no. no. >> what are you hoping to achieve here? >> i guess one of the biggest things is just to not be suicidal. you know, you want to kill yourself but you don't want to die. i guess you just want everything to stop, that's going through your head, that you have to hide and other people don't know. so i want that to go away. >> ayahuasca enthusiasts claim miraculous moments of realization, and transformation, but for these vets, such moments have always eluded them. that is, perhaps, until now. >> i remembered a lot of things in the ceremony the other day that i didn't recall previously. >> like that your mind has shut out completely? >> i feel a lot more motivated
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as an individual. i feel more empowered. >> yeah. >> i'm ready to get back and do the work, man. >> do you feel like there will be some triggers left, that you may have a hard time dealing with? >> i'm not -- i'm not afraid to find out. >> i know it's going to take some time, but do you feel at all that you can be exposed a little bit and still keep a part of your heart protected and open at the same time? >> i think i've got a lot more out of it than i've realized at first. >> because by now you would have called me an a-hole and said go away. >> right. >> you really would have. on the plane you did that. >> yes, go away. don't talk to me. [ laughter ] >> has it really opened the door for libby to undergo a personal transformation?
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[ laughter ] she seems more at ease with her fellow veterans. >> i like that. >> but the real barometer of change won't be found here in the jungle, but back in the states when they return to life on the home front. the real question that needs to be asked is "what is it that we can do that is impactful?" what the cloud enables is computing to empower cancer researchers. it used to take two weeks to sequence and analyze a genome; with the microsoft cloud we can analyze 100 per day. whatever i can do to help compute a cure for cancer, that's what i'd like to do. don't hide it... tackle it with fda-approved jublia! jublia is a prescription medicine proven
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in the peruvian amazon today gringo shamans are replacing healers who once had exclusive knowledge of the forest. they're part of larger changes here, some good, some bad. >> you said an interesting frayed. you said "we prostitute ayahuasca." >> yeah. >> there are some who might say you prostitute ayahuasca. you're this white guy from kansas out here -- >> sure. >> -- making money off of ayahuasca. >> sure. >> how do you respond to that? >> i tell all the foreigners, we're all guilty of exploiting ayahuasca here. all of us, me included. i could make a lot more money if i wanted to. i'm not about making money. i do all i can to look after people and to take good care of them. but there's the ones that don't take the precautions with
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anti-depressants. that's the real danger. >> tens of thousands of people use ayahuasca worldwide today. and the ranks of the newly converted now appears to include stan, who's just done a daytime dose of ron's mighty brew. >> how are you doing? >> just out here in the jungle, wrestling with my demons. >> it's probably about as good a place as any to wrestle with them. and a good place to leave them. >> mm-hmm. >> want a little smoke blown on you? >> sure. >> a journey of change. a modern pilgrimage. call it what you like, americans are traveling to the amazon, hoping to expand their minds and soothe their souls.
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the question is, what happens when they get home? >> this is stan. i'm back from peru. it's been a couple months now, and with the family i feel more patient and everything's going good. >> since he's back, i don't see him acting weird. soon as he let that baggage go his weight just went down. i see him transformed. but he still needs to figure out how to integrate that into our family. >> ayahuasca isn't any kind of silver bullet. it's not like you can just go and do ayahuasca and your life's perfect. you get out of it what you put you get out of it what you put into it. -- captions by vitac --
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a powerful cyclone tears through the south pacific leaving a trail of absolute destruction. the manhunt intensifies in ferguson, missouri, for the gunman or gunmen who ambushed two police officers. this 18-month-old baby of saved thanks what some are calling a miracle in the u.s. state of utah. new video of her dramatic rescue. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm george howell. this is "cnn newsroom." we start the hour here on the pacific islands. relief workers say cyclone pam has caused


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