If you’re thinking about doing ayahuasca in Dubai, you need to read this or it could land you in jail.
I lived in Dubai for 15 months (until May 2019) and I’ve participated in 2 ayahuasca ceremonies within the last year.
So I understand you feel the desire to have an ayahuasca experience, but I also understand why you should NEVER do it in Dubai.
You can read about my ayahuasca experience here and I also wrote the most definitive guide to ayahuasca available on the internet which you can find here.
Is Ayahuasca Legal in Dubai?
Ayahuasca is illegal in Dubai and the authorities take it very seriously.
Ayahusca contains DMT which is a schedule one psychotropic substance. Its specifically listed as prohibited in the UAE’s Ministry of Health list of Narcotics and Psychotropics:
Even if you managed to attend a Dubai ayahuasca ceremony without problems, you could be arrested days later, charged for possession and jailed for weeks until your trail where you’d be likely to receive a 4 year minimum jail term and a large fine.
That one night could ruin your life. Here’s why:
Dubai is an emirate (like a state) of the United Arab Emirates (also known as the UAE).
Dubai & The United Arab Emirates Has a Zero Tolerance Policy on Drugs (Even Plant Medicines)
Here’s how serious it is:
- Household medications like some nasal sprays are illegal and can get you put in jail
- It doesn’t matter if you have a prescription or if the substance is legal in your country
- The UAE considers substances in your bloodstream as possession
- Possession carries a minimum 4 year jail term
- Emirati Law considers you guilty until you prove your innocence
Don’t take this lightly.
Here’s how serious Dubai takes its drug policy and the law in general:
61-Year Old Arrested for Anxiety Medication
Recently a 61-year-old British man called Perry Coppins was arrested for carrying anti-anxiety medications through customs.
He spent 5 weeks in jail awaiting trial and faced a 4 year jail term. His crime was carrying six months worth of pills.
Mr Coppins works at sea and his work takes him on long voyages so he took enough o last the duration. He had his prescriptions with him and he’d been taking them for 21 years.
Jail Time For Bankruptcy
I know one business man whose business allegedly went bankrupt, who is currently sitting in a UAE jail because he wasn’t able to pay the companies debts.
Jailed For a Social Media Post
When I was living in Dubai I heard a story about a a Rolls Royce parked in a disabled bay. Someone saw the parking, thought it was selfish and uploaded one single picture (with the number plate blurred) to her Facebook saying something like “How selfish of this person to park in a disabled bay.”
Well the driver of the Rolls reported the post and the police arrested and jailed the person. After completing their jail term, they were fined and then deported.
This is because the UAE has strong laws:
In this case, the video needed the consent of the person in the video, or should have been shared with the police directly, not on social media.
For more examples of people falling foul of Dubai’s laws check out this post about “8 Social Media Posts That Got People in Trouble in the UAE.”
Why You Should Never Do Ayahuasca in Dubai
Dubai, the jewel in the crown of the United Arab Emitates (UAE) tries to balance the strict Muslim traditions of Sharia Law with the tourism industry which brings many visitors to Dubai.
In 2019, over 86 million people landed at Dubai International Airport many of them not knowing how strict the law is as they check into their luxury hotels.
Dubai wants to welcome visitors from all over the world, but the laws of Dubai are very different to those of the Western world.
Many Visitors Unknowingly Risk Legal Problems
You can buy medicine from the pharmacy at the airport back in your country, land in Dubai and be breaking the law because those same substances “cannot be carried into the UAE, even if their use is permitted in the country of departure”.
The unauthorised medicines list from the UAE’s Ministry of Health lists many “normal” medications which are strictly prohibited including:
- Panadol Suspension Baby And Infant
- Otrivin Nasal Spray 0.05%
- Magnesium Sulfate Injection 50%
- Children’s Advil Suspension
- Miacalcic Nasal Spray
- Mixavit Syrup
Get to know what substances are prohibited. Don’t start your travels with any of them in your luggage. Take care to stay up to date with what is illegal otherwise one simple moment could give you problems when you arrive.
This is serious.
Even discussing ayahuasca ceremonies in Dubai can get you in trouble. The UAE security agencies monitor the internet closely.
This reddit thread in the Dubai channel illiterates the point. See the first response to the person who posted the thread was “Are you CID?”
That’s the Criminal Investigation Department.
Its not unusual for people to be arrested for things they’ve posted on social media.
Why The “The Plant Isn’t Illegal” Argument Won’t Help You in Dubai
Ayahuasca is a vine found in the Amazon which is used in a plant medicine that has psychoactive properties.
The vine itself is not illegal, however, when the vine is brewed to make ayahuasca it contains DMT which is illegal in most countries of the world.
Many people think its not illegal to travel through a country with the raw plant.
Whilst that may be OK in some countries, if the plant is brewed within the country, at that point a crime is taking place. If you’re attending a ceremony where that is happening, you are considered to be part of the crime.
Why Any Dubai Ayahuasca Retreat Advertised Online Should Be Avoided
I’ve found shaman’s online offering ceremonies in Dubai. It sounds magical and mystical, a spiritual experience in the desert.
But be clear that if you attend you are breaking the law and if caught, you’ll get punished severely.
The companies offering these ceremonies cannot protect you and they don’t have any permission from the authorities to conduct these events. If you get into issues in Dubai they can’t help you, your lawyer can’t help you and even your own government can’t help you.
One shaman is offering $1600 – 3500 week long ayahuasca retreats in Dubai.
If you feel called to experience Mother Ayahuasca and attend a ceremony you’d be safer spending that money to travel to another country where its not illegal (list in my ayahuasca guide here).
Don’t make a mistake that could ruin your life. That one night could give you a different type of experience to the one you wanted.
Be smart and always know and follow the law in Dubai and the UAE.
If you found this helpful, but you still have more questions, my other answers to ayahuasca related questions can be found here:
- Is Ayahuasca Legal?
- What Are Ayahuasca’s Effects?
- How Long Does Ayahuasca Last?
- How To Prepare For Your First Ayahuasca Ceremony
- Which Celebrities Have Tried Ayahuasca?
- How Many People Have Died Taking Ayahuasca?
- How Dangerous is Ayahuasca?
- How To Take Ayahuasca Safely
- How Often Should You Take Ayahuasca?
- Can Ayahuasca Make You Crazy?
- What To Bring To Your Ayahuasca Ceremony
- How Do You Take Ayahuasca?
- Should I Take Ayahuasca or Do Meditation?
- Can Ayahuasca Be Detected in a Drug Test?
- What To Eat Before An Ayahuasca Ceremony?
- Where Can I Find Ayahuasca Centres and Retreats?
- Where Can I Watch Ayahuasca Documentaries To Learn More?