Photo by Irina Novikova

Researchers Say DMT Could Be An Alternative To Psilocybin Therapy For Depression

Here's another psychedelic substance that can effectively treat the major depressive disorder.

You might be familiar with psilocybin therapy. These clinical trials let subjects use this psychedelic substance to treat various cognitive conditions.

The trials are usually accompanied by a trained therapist who guides them through the process is controlled, comfortable settings where the subject can fully relax.

One issue with these trials is they’re incredibly expensive. Because the psilocybin trip lasts so long, therapists need to be paid for longer hours. Also, creating controlled and comfortable environments is another pricey task.

Thus, researchers are wondering if the psychedelic substance DMT could be used to treat depression without the need for therapists or comfortable environments.

The study was published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology and asked if DMT is an alternative to lengthy psilocybin treatments. Researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine administered two doses of DMT to ten participants;

  • Three of them were relatively healthy
  • The other seven had major depressive disorder (MDD)

Photo by cottonbro

The first dose given to subjects was very low, low enough that they wouldn’t trip. Two days later, they administered a second, stronger dose that caused psychedelic hallucinations and effects.

A day after the first dose, participants recorded lower scores on depression surveys, but not drastically lower than their initial levels. It was a day after the second dose that subjects’ depression scores reduced by an average of 4.5 points.

These findings led researchers to note how DMT could help decrease depression within one day and help patients “with treatment-resistant MDD.”

Still, another goal of the study was to determine if DMT treats depression without a surrounding comfortable environment like psilocybin treatment. So, the researchers administered DMT doses to subjects in bright hospital rooms.

To their surprise, the subjects’ recorded scores did not change based on their environment. This helped researchers conclude that DMT does not have to be administered in a comfortable area for it to be effective.

It also lets them understand how DMT could be used for emergency scenarios when individuals need urgent treatment to combat psychological turmoil.

This brought researchers to their final conclusion, being that DMT could be an alternative to expensive and lengthy psilocybin treatments.

However, this particular study was Phase I; researchers will soon bring in a control group with a placebo to further investigate if DMT can treat depression effectively.

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