A UK study investigating the effectiveness of the psychedelic DMT in managing treatment-resistant depression has shown positive results in phase IIa trials. The placebo-controlled study was funded by Small Pharma, a small biotech company that researches the efficacy of different psychedelic therapies for mental conditions such as severe forms of depression. This was the first ever placebo-controlled clinical trial to investigate the efficacy of DMT as a form of psychedelic therapy for depression.
In this study, a total of 34 participants with moderate to severe forms of major depressive disorder were offered either DMT as an intravenous infusion or placebo. Other forms of pharmacological therapies for depression were withdrawn prior to the study.
Participants on the active arm of the study were started on 21.5mg of DMT IV infusion which triggered a psychedelic experience that lasted for 20-30 minutes. This dose was selected as optimum based on results from the Phase I study which demonstrated a wide safety margin as well as a consistent and balanced psychedelic experience.
The researchers found a significant reduction in depressive symptoms after a two-week dose compared to a placebo. Further analysis demonstrated rapid and durable antidepressant effects that lasted for up to 12 weeks.
N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a structural analog of tryptamine that occurs naturally in many plants and animals. It is commonly referred to as the spirit molecule due to its potent psychedelic properties. It has been used across different cultures as an entheogen for ritualistic purposes. Its therapeutic potential is of interest to researchers and this new study will definitely serve as a goalpost for subsequent research in this and other clinical areas.