Man walking down fractal hallway

DMT to be Researched for Depression for the First Time

Researchers are hopeful "the spirit molecule" will also treat OCD and PTSD, among other conditions.

DB 101: How to Grow Shrooms ✨
Let's Shroom.
DoubleBlind Mag

Article by
Published on
Updated July 25, 2022

DoubleBlind Mag is devoted to fair, rigorous reporting by leading experts and journalists in the field of psychedelics. Read more about our editorial process and fact-checking here.

On Monday (Dec. 8), UK regulators approved the first-ever clinical trial investigating N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (more commonly known as DMT) for depression. The trial will be the first looking at the therapeutic benefits of DMT on its own.

The research will likely begin in the early part of next year, reports The Guardian. Scientists will first administer DMT to healthy participants who have never taken a psychedelic before—a common practice in research to ensure the drug is safe—before it’s administered to 36 patients with clinical depression.

The research will be modeled after the studies administering psilocybin, the psychoactive component in shrooms, to subjects at institutions like Johns Hopkins, NYU, and Imperial College London. Participants in the trial will receive a psychotherapy session both before the DMT experience, to prepare, and afterwards, to process what happened during their trip.

Up until now, there’s only been one clinical trial looking at the therapeutic potential of DMT. It looked at the potential of ayahuasca, which contains DMT in it, for treatment-depression. The study which had just 29 patients found that a significant percentage of the patients who received ayahuasca, as opposed to the placebo, saw improvements in their depression following one trip.

Carol Routledge, chief scientific and medical officer at Small Pharma, the neuropharmaceutical company conducting the trial with Imperial College London, tells The Guardian that, in addition to major depression, they’re hopeful DMT could be a treatment for PTSD, obsessive compulsive disorder, treatment-resistant depression, and, perhaps, even substance abuse.

DoubleBlind Magazine does not encourage or condone any illegal activities, including but not limited to the use of illegal substances. We do not provide mental health, clinical, or medical services. We are not a substitute for medical, psychological, or psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, or advice. If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger or experiencing a mental health emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency resources. If you are considering suicide, please call 988 to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Interested in having a psychedelic experience, but don't know where to start? Get our definitive guide on trusted legal retreat centers, clinical trials, therapists, and more.

We have a small favor to ask. Last year, more than five million readers like you visited DoubleBlind’s website. Many of them are suffering and simply seeking trusted information on how to use psychedelics to heal.

We started DoubleBlind two years ago at a time when even the largest magazines and media companies were cutting staff and going out of business. At the time we made a commitment: we will never have a paywall, we will never rely on advertisers we don’t believe in to fund our reporting, and we will always be accessible via email and social media to support people for free on their journeys with plant medicines.

To help us do this, if you feel called and can afford it, we ask you to consider becoming a monthly member and supporting our work. In exchange, you'll receive a subscription to our print magazine, monthly calls with leading psychedelic experts, access to our psychedelic community, and much more.
About the Author

Read More
hand holding mushrooms
How to Take Shrooms

How Much Shrooms Should a Beginner Take?

Preparing for your first mushroom trip? We've got you.
Person in rowboat

Can Psychedelics Help Us Face Our Fear of Death?

There are no treatments available to help people cope with dying. Are psychedelics the answer?

Why Does the Brain Make Its Own DMT?

Scientists are grappling with the question of what biological role DMT plays in the human body.