DMT Might Become an Approved Medicine

Of all the psychedelics, DMT or dimethyltryptamine has perhaps the richest mythology surrounding it. An intensely powerful chemical, just a 50mg smoked dose gives the smoker the sense of being entirely out of their physical body.

Psychedelic evangelist Terence McKenna used to say that the experience puts you in contact with machine elves from another dimension. Pharmacologist Rick Doblin called it “the spirit molecule” and speculated that it resonates to frequencies the human brain cannot normally detect.

Psychologist Stan Grof documented the similarities between a DMT trip and near-death experiences, when people say their entire life “flashed before their eyes.” His theory is that DMT, which the brain releases in small quantities during dreams, is also released at birth and death

And there is of course ayahuasca. The Amazonian “medicine” brew has DMT as an active component, though it is not present in the ayahuasca vine itself. The brew inspired the unique Pucallpa art style led by Pablo Amaringo, as well as the more sci-fi psychedelia of Alex Grey.

Despite seeming in some way special to all these figures, on another view DMT is also just another manufacturable chemical. And with other psychedelics well on their way to being approved for medicinal use, this has pharmaceutical companies interested.

A UK-based company, Beckley Psytech, is now carrying out Phase 2 (efficacy) studies on DMT for alcoholics. Alcoholism was one of the path-breaking use cases for LSD at the birth of psychedelic science in the 1950s and 60s.

Another possible therapeutic use is stroke recovery. DMT is also being investigated to assist NFL players recovering from concussion injury.

The Human Drug Research Centre in Leiden, NL

From a lab in the Netherlands, Algernon Pharmaceuticals is hypothesising that “a prolonged infusion of a sub-psychedelic dose” of DMT will stimulate endogenous production of “brain-derived neurotrophic factor,” which is apparently a biomarker for neuroplasticity.

“It appears from the pre-clinical data that DMT is promoting neuroplasticity,” said Dr David Nutt, “a key mechanism in recovery once the stroke has occurred, which is a new and exciting approach to stroke treatment.” Yes, DMT is literally mind-bending.

Another consultant for Algernon is Rick Strassman himself. Algernon is currently listed on Toronto, Frankfurt and New York stock exchanges

As Hunter S. Thompson aptly put it, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

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