Traditionally, Ayahuasca is made by cooking the MAO-Inhibitor (MAOI) Banisteriopsis caapi vine together with a plant that contains DMT, usually the Psychotria viridis shrub.
Nevertheless, you can also find (or make) synthetic Ayahuasca brews called Pharmahuasca by using pharmaceutically made compounds. By contrast, you can also encounter Anahuasca, which stands for Ayahuasca analogues, consisting of a mixture of organic compounds with properties and effects similar to Ayahuasca.
Pharmahuasca usually comes in MAOI and DMT capsules, which are taken one after the other, commonly with a ten to twenty minutes spacing between the intake of the MAOI and DMT capsules.
Typically, Isocarboxazid (medically used as an antidepressant) is used as a synthetic MAOI, but some people use another natural MAOI, such as the seeds of Syrian rue (Peganum harmala), the latter rather creating an Anahuasca.
In any case, you can find various synthetic or analogue MAOIs and DMT capsules on the commercial market or ready to use Pharmahuasca and Anahuasca, each with different effects and working.
One of the benefits of using synthetic or analogue Ayahuasca is that one doesn’t need to pay an expensive visit to the Amazon and/or Ayahuasca retreat to obtain the benefits of the brew, not even talking about having the time to do so.
Another benefit is that it’s easier to control dosages of Pharmahuasca, thereby avoiding unexpected or unwanted effects.
Nevertheless, natural Ayahuasca plants contain much more compounds than MAOIs and DMT alone — all working integrally together — and it’s widely acknowledged that it’s only the traditional brew that boast the full psychedelic and spiritual quality attributed to Ayahuasca. Moreover, the specific mindset, intention, setting, and care in which Ayahuasca retreats are held have their own benefits.
Finally, keep in mind that when using Pharmahuasca and/or Anahuasca one needs to take the same precautions, contraindications and risks into account as with traditional Ayahuasca.