Psychedelics such as dimethyltriptamine (DMT) have been gaining popularity not only due to the euphoria they provide but also because they are claimed to have therapeutic properties. UK regulators have weighed in on those claims and have given the go-ahead for research to determine whether they can provide therapeutic relief, especially against mental illnesses.
A UK-based pharmaceutical company called Small Pharma will be at the forefront of the research to establish its effectiveness in easing the effects and symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression. The clinical trial will feature two clinical trials. Researchers will administer DMT to healthy individuals in the first clinical trial and to patients diagnosed with depression in the second clinical trial before other psychotherapy treatments.
Small Pharma will conduct the research in partnership with the Imperial College of London. Carol Routledge, the company’s Chief Scientific Officer noted that previous research showed that psychedelics disrupt the brain’s deep thought processes. They are often the same thought processes that build up to mental health conditions such as PTSD and depression. Psychedelics such as DMT may also facilitate the formation of new brain connections.
“Then the psychotherapy session afterwards is the letting-things-settle piece of things – it helps you to make sense of those thoughts and puts you back on the right track,” stated Dr. Routledge.
Unlocking the mysteries of psychedelics
Small Pharma hopes that the research will facilitate a better understanding of how psychedelics affect the brain. They also plan to use the study to determine the ideal dose levels that can facilitate optimal results. There are different types of psychedelics but the researchers opted to use DMT. Another popular psychedelic used in scientific research is psilocybin, a chemical compound derived from magic mushrooms.
The pharmaceutical company preferred DMT over Psilocybin because the latter takes all day for the trip to wear off. DMT is a better option because it has more intense trips that wear off within two hours depending on amount consumed. Researchers believe that psychedelics may have a lot of untapped medical benefits which are only just being explored. Positive findings may encourage a revisiting of the current illegal status and also encourage the development of an entire industry.