Anxiety and depression are common mental health conditions that negatively impact one’s quality of life and increase the risk for developing a variety of chronic physical ailments. Therapists have used various intervention methods to try and treat these conditions, but they still have some limitations. A lot of people don’t have access to these services, and many of those who do have access continue to experience symptoms despite intervention.
While classical psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin have been found to be safe and effective at treating depression and anxiety in many research studies, they have their own set of challenges that would make psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy difficult to provide at the average outpatient clinic.
These limitations include long drug administration sessions (7-12 hours), the need for a multi-person team (generally consisting of two therapist guides and a medical monitor), and in some cases, an overnight stay. Each limitation adds to the overall cost, making this form of therapy unavailable to a large group of people.
Several factors make 5-MeO-DMT an excellent candidate for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, including its short action (30 to 90 minutes), high safety profile, and low potential for psychological or physiological complications. And it turns out that the drug might also have therapeutic benefits too.
That’s exactly what researchers reported in a new study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse earlier this month, which found using 5-MeO-DMT in a ritualistic group setting to be associated with unintended improvements in depression and anxiety.
A total of 362 respondents for the study were collected from an email distribution list made up of people in the United States that use the drug in a group setting. The group was established in 2007 (a time when 5-MeO-DMT was still legal) with the intention of creating a safe and practical context for using the drug.
Samples of 5-MeO-DMT can vary widely, either being comprised of natural “toad medicine” that is extracted from the Bufo alvarius toad or synthetically produced material made in a lab. The group uses the synthetic version, and its batch of the drug has been found to be 98-100% pure when tested in laboratory using gas chromatography mass spectrometry.
The group’s experimental group sessions take place in a variety of locations around the nation, but primarily in the Western U.S. Each session includes between 5 and 12 people (1-2 of whom administer the drug and lead the sessions) and lasts roughly 6-7 hours.