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5-MeO-DMT and subjective improvements in post-traumatic stress disorder

Authors:

Abstract

Background and Aims: A recent epidemiological survey suggested that 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) administration may decrease symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Further exploration of the potential psychotherapeutic benefit of 5-MeO-DMT could inform future clinical trials. Therefore, we examined self-reported PTSD among an international sample of people who have used 5-MeO-DMT. Next, using a series of chi-square analyses and t-tests, we examined differences in demographic characteristics, acute subjective mystical and challenging effects, beliefs about the 5-MeO-DMT experience, and number of lifetime uses of 5-MeO-DMT, between those who reported that their PTSD was better following 5-MeO-DMT use and those reporting no change in their PTSD following use. Method: Respondents (n=99; Mage=37.4; Male=74%; White/Caucasian=83%) completed an anonymous web-based survey. Results: Of those reporting being diagnosed with PTSD, most reported that symptoms were improved (79%) following 5-MeO-DMT, with fewer reporting symptoms were unchanged or worsened (21%). Those who reported an improvement in PTSD symptoms also reported significantly greater intensity of acute mystical experiences, including positive mood, transcendence, and ineffability during their 5-MeO-DMT experience and had stronger ratings of positive beliefs about the spiritual/personal significance of that session, compared to those whose symptoms did not improve. In terms of challenging experiences, there were no differences in the intensity of acute challenging physical/psychological experiences between respondents. Conclusions: Future controlled clinical pharmacology studies should examine the safety and efficacy of 5-MeO-DMT administration for relieving symptoms of PTSD.
5-MeO-DMT and subjective improvements
in post traumatic stress disorder
K.E. Cox1, R. Lancelotta MS3, J.P. Barsuglia PhD4, A.K. Davis PhD2
1Loyola University Maryland , Baltimore, MD 4New School Research, North Hollywood, CA
3University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 2Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
SAMPLE
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSCONCLUSIONS
RESULTS
INTRODUCTION
DISCLOSURE
We thank the participants for taking the time to complete our
survey.We also thank Dr.Robert Grant, Ms.Elise Renn,and Dr.
Harold Rosenberg for help with study design.
AKD was initially supported by NIAAA (AA007477) & is currently
supported by NIDA (DA007209). Source Research Foundation funded
RL to provide administrative and research assistance. The funding
sources had no role in study design, data analysis, or interpretation.
Contact email for corresponding author: adavi157@jhmi.edu
5-Methoxy-N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) is a psychoactive indolealkylamine
substance found in several plants, in high concentrations in Bufo alvarius toad venom
(bufotoxin), and is synthetically produced.
5-MeO-DMT is a potent, fast-acting, psychedelic. Human self-experiments describe the
subjective effects of synthetic 5-MeO-DMT as similar to other classic hallucinogens,
including a distortion in time perception, and auditory and visionary distortions, with
peak effects between 35-40 minutes after insufflation. Inhalation (e.g., smoking or
vaporizing) is also a common means of consumption with initial onset of effects within
60 seconds and peak total duration of effect between 5 and 20 minutes.
A recent epidemiological survey suggested that 5-MeO-DMT use was associated with a
decrease in symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. Further exploration of the
potential psychotherapeutic benefit of 5-MeO-DMT could inform future clinical trials.
We examined self-reported post traumatic stress disorder among an international sample of people
who have used 5-MeO-DMT. Next, we examined differences in demographic characteristics, acute
subjective mystical and challenging effects, beliefs about the 5-MeO-DMT experience, and number of
lifetime uses of 5-MeO-DMT, between those who reported that their substance use problems were
better (versus no change in problems) following 5-MeO-DMT use.
Findings highlight the infrequent pattern of use and the moderate-to-strong subjective mystical and very slight
challenging effects of 5-MeO-DMT consumption. Those who reported an improvement in post traumatic stress
disorder symptoms (79% n=78) also reported significantly greater intensity of acute mystical experiences and had
stronger ratings of positive beliefs about the spiritual/personal significance of their first 5-MeO-DMT session,
compared to those whose symptoms did not change (18% n=18) or worsened (3% n=3). Furthermore, in terms
of challenging experiences, there were no differences in the intensity of acute challenging physical/psychological
experiences between respondents. The acute 5-MeO-DMT experience appears to be associated with
improvements in post traumatic stress disorder. We recommend future research to examine the safety of 5-
MeO-DMT administration in humans using rigorous experimental designs.
99 people with post traumatic stress disorder completed the online
survey.
The sample was comprised as follows:
Mean age = 37.4 (SD=12)
Male (74%)
White/Caucasian (84%)
Heterosexual (81%)
Residing in the United States (58% )
Bachelor’s degree or higher (34%)
Employed full-time (41%)
METHOD & DATA ANALYSES
Using internet-based advertisements we recruited English-speaking adults to complete an anonymous
web-based survey. People who reported a past or present diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder
were combined into a single post traumatic stress disorder group.
We conducted frequency counts and descriptive analyses of all study variables.Next, using aseries of
chi-square analyses and t-tests, we compared mean ratings of subjective effects of 5-MeO-DMT as a
function of improvement or lack of improvement in post traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
PRIMARY AIM
0.0%
5.0%
10.0%
15.0%
20.0%
25.0%
30.0%
35.0%
40.0%
45.0%
1-2
3-4
5-10
11+
LIFETIME USES
0.9
1.2
0.9
1.2
1
2
0.3
1.3
1.7
1.1
1.2
1.1
1.9
0.4
ISOLATION
FEAR
GRIEF
PHYSICAL DISTRESS
INSANITY
DEATH
PARANO I A
INTENSITY OF ACUTE CHALLENGING EXPERIENCES
(0 = NONE TO 5 = EXTREME)
Better No Change or Worse
5.4
3.8
2.6
3.8
2.3
0.6
PERSONAL
MEANING
SPIRITUAL
SIGNIFICANCE
SUBJECTIVE
WELL-BEING
RATINGS OF PERSISTING BELIEFS
Better No Change or Worse
***
***
***
4
3.9
4.1
4.4
2.5
2.3
3.5
3.4
MYSTICISM
POSTIVE MOOD
TRANSCENDENCE OF
TIME AND SPACE
INEFFABILITY
INTENSITY OF ACUTE MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES (0= NONE
TO 5= EXTREME)
Better No Change or Worse
***
***
*
*
**p<.01, ***p<.001
*p<.05, ***p<.001
... Compared to those who did not see improvements, those who experienced improvements reported a greater intensity of mystical-type experiences and greater spiritual significance and personal meaning of the experience . Similar findings were found for PTSD symptom reduction, with 79% of those with PTSD experiencing improvements, and those who experienced improvements reporting greater spiritual significance and personal meaning of their experience (Cox et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined how psychedelics reduced symptoms of racial trauma among black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) subsequent to an experience of racism. A cross-sectional internet-based survey included questions about experiences with racism, mental health symptoms, and acute and enduring psychedelic effects. Changes in mental health were assessed by retrospective report of symptoms in the 30 days before and 30 days after an experience with psilocybin, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), or 3,4-Methyl enedioxy methamphetamine (MDMA). We recruited 313 diverse BIPOC in the US and Canada. Results revealed a significant (p < .001) and moderate (d = −.45) reduction in traumatic stress symptoms from before-to-after the psychedelic experience. Similarly, participants reported decreases in depression (p < .001; d = −.52), anxiety (p < .001; d = −.53), and stress (p < .001; d = −.32). There was also a significant relationship (Rc = 0.52, p < .001) between the dimension of acute psychedelic effects (mystical-type, insight, and challenging experiences) and decreases in a cluster of subsequent psychopathology (traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and stress), while controlling for the frequency of prior discrimination and the time since the psychedelic experience. BIPOC have been underrepresented in psychedelic studies. Psychedelics may decrease the negative impact of racial trauma. Future studies should examine the efficacy of psychedelic-assisted therapy for individuals with a history of race-based trauma.
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