Strongest Psychedelic Known to Man Now Being Used in Clinical Trials

DMT Clinical Trials Depression

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?”

Ayahuasca Study Shows Breakthrough in Resolving Intercultural Conflict

Ayahuasca for Sociopolitcal conflict resolution

Can plant medicines heal long-standing, sociopolitical conflicts? A new study brought together groups with deep-rooted enmity for each other in an ayahuasca ceremony—could this be the solution for a more peaceful world?

Plant medicines, including ayahuasca and psilocybin from “magic mushrooms” have become breakthrough therapeutic modalities for treating depression, anxiety, and addiction, as taboos around psychedelics fade and scientists study their effects in sanctioned clinical settings. And now a group of scientists from the US, UK, and Israel has begun to look at ayahuasca as a tool for resolving intercultural conflict. By bringing together Israelis and Palestinians for a group ceremony, the researchers looked for signs of reconciliation and intergroup contact between the subjects.

Dr. Maya Shetreat MD, is a neurologist and herbalist specializing in plant medicine and psychedelic-assisted therapy. She had this to say about the recent study…

“We should definitely be able to experience significant shifts in identity politics because we know that psychedelic medicines like ayahuasca or psilocybin have these ego-dissolving properties that change the way our brains see us, see our identity, and perceive us as being separate from one another,” Dr. Shetreat said. “So, theoretically it’s possible that any kind of identity issues, whether it be political or otherwise, could be more in a place of resolution because people can see past differences.”

Results of this recent study proved to be profound, with several participants reporting visions in which they re-lived trauma from the perspective of those from the opposite culture. And in one instance, a participant was able to embody a single experience from both perspectives. 

But while these results held significant weight for those involved, how does this translate at a larger scale? 

“You know we have to ask the question, is it really necessary for everyone to be in ceremony and go through a psychedelic experience in order to create change? And actually, I think there’s an argument that it doesn’t take that many people, not everybody has to be in that role and enter that liminal space. The people who are called and the people who are motivated to engage with the medicine have those revelations, integrate, take action, and actually lead other people to see those connections that other people might not be able to see,” Dr. Shetreat said.

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