Strongest Psychedelic Known to Man Now Being Used in Clinical Trials

Strongest Psychedelic Known to Man Now Being Used in Clinical Trials

The world’s first regulated clinical trial of DMT clears the way for Earth’s most powerful psychoactive drug to join the psychedelic therapy revolution.

DMT, or N, N-Dimethyltryptamine, is a highly potent hallucinogen that naturally occurs in many plant species, including in one of the plant ingredients of ayahuasca. It can also be synthetically produced in a laboratory.

DMT is known for inducing intense metaphysical trips, which are reportedly similar to near-death experiences. Having been used underground in the west for decades, it is now attracting the interest of pharmaceutical companies and scientists looking to investigate its potential mental health benefits.

Jay Waxenberg is the director of the DMTx program at the Center for Medicinal Mindfulness. Based in Boulder, CO, it was one of the first centers to offer legal psychedelic therapy in the U.S.

“DMT is actually the most powerful psychedelic on Earth that we’re aware of, and what makes it special and different from other psychedelics is that it’s endogenous, which means it’s produced within our own bodies. It’s also produced in nearly every ecosystem on Earth — it’s everywhere, it’s all around us – which is also kind of leading to what is really unique about it, the extent of a DMT experience, it’s at most 20 minutes,” Waxenberg said.

While there is a wide range of phenomena experienced during a DMT trip, there are some fascinating common hallmarks.

“This alternate reality experience, or this experience that people will call ‘realer than real.’ It’s a reality similar to our own, but completely different,” Waxenberg said. “Some of the elements within that would be the entity encounters, which is very common for people; intense geometric, hyperbolic shapes; and out-of-body, traveling to the center of the universe; ego-dissolution, ego death; these are really common experiences under it.”

While advocates have been reporting profound healing benefits for decades, there have not been any clinical studies on DMT due to its status as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, until now.

Canadian pharmaceutical company small pharma recently completed the first clinical trial of DMT-assisted therapy. The trial was Phase 1, meaning it established the safety and feasibility of studying the psychedelic in this way.

Small pharma is now moving into Phase 2 trials involving patients with Major Depressive Disorder. Practitioners like Waxenberg have high hopes that the studies will bear out DMT’s great potential for addressing psychological issues.

“If somebody has an ego death, or somebody leaves their body, there’s this feeling of expansiveness that comes with that; a feeling of not feeling trapped in your life. So, if you’re in depression, or anxiety, or thought-loop patterns, or anything like this, often that’s the benefit — to break yourself out of those cycles, to break yourself out of those loops or thought patterns. In the dying process, people who are getting terminal diagnoses, that’s where the most benefit can come because it’s an instantaneous removal of the ego and out of your body to go into that space; experiences that take them right into what they believe the afterlife process will be or what they believe the death process will be — and really watching that be nourishing and supportive of, ‘Ok, this is maybe something I can actually go toward,’” Waxenberg said.

“Also, it’s going to have really big benefits toward treatment-resistant depression. Like ketamine, it’s this out-of-body experience that alone can help reset the nervous system, reset what your baseline is of happiness or wellness, it can get totally reset just like that.”

Many in the psychedelic therapy world will be watching closely for the results of the coming DMT-assisted therapy trials.

“My hope is to just keep opening the door wider and wider, as we bring more and more people into the space, more and more people into the conversation to see what these substances can do. And really within this meta-crisis, we find ourselves in culturally, I think DMT is an answer to a lot of those questions; how can we really see a different angle to the problems that we face?”

New Studies Find Psychedelics Highly Effective for Alcoholism

New Studies Find Psychedelics Highly Effective for Alcoholism

New studies show unprecedented success in the treatment of alcoholism with psychedelic therapy.

The psychedelic revolution in mental health has produced overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrating the great efficacy of psychedelics in the treatment of various mental health disorders. Now, several new studies involving the drugs ketamine and MDMA are showing significant promise in the treatment of alcoholism.

Dr. Ben Sessa is a psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Awakn Life Sciences, an English biotech company that is at the forefront of the research, development, and delivery of psychedelic medicines.

The company is especially focused on the treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD, given how prevalent and challenging it is to treat.

“Alcoholism is a huge public health problem. It’s also a psychiatric condition that’s very poorly treated with very poor outcomes with traditional methods,” Sessa said. “Relapse to drinking after getting dry is around 80 to 90 percent at 12 months. That’s an embarrassingly poor statistic. Psychedelics offer a completely new approach; they offer the patient to explore the root causes of addiction, which so often is trauma. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is an intensive upfront piece of work that gets the patient better, so they don’t have to keep coming back. It is a completely different paradigm shift to the way we currently manage patients in maintenance therapies.” 

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter and Awakn Life Sciences is the world’s first to examine the use of ketamine to treat AUD in a randomized controlled trial.

“Ketamine is a very well-established human medicine. It is indeed the only psychedelic that’s licensed as a medicine, as an anesthetic medicine, and has been used since the 60s as such. It’s an incredibly safe medicine. When it’s used at a much lower dose, it produces an altered state of consciousness. What we do in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy with ketamine, is we use this altered state of consciousness to affect a more effective and deeper form of psychotherapy. So, we’re using ketamine as an adjunct to psychotherapy to treat addictions,” he said.  

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