Dimethyltryptamine (DMT): Therapeutic use

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 1:42 pm

Scientists in the United States and other countries are exploring the use of hallucinogens such as DMT to treat drug and alcohol addiction. It is still too early, however, to say whether this unusual treatment approach works. For example, scientists at the Orenda Institute in Baltimore are examining LSD as a possible treatment for heroin, opium, and alcohol addiction. Researchers at the University of Miami are studying the psychedelic drug ibogaine as a treatment for cocaine addiction. Other scientists are exploring the use of hallucinogenic drugs to help ease the pain of cancer patients.
According to a 1992 report by Richard Yensen, Ph.D., and Donna Dryer, M.D., director and medical director at the Orenda Institute, a 1960s study of 135 alcoholics found that six months after treatment with LSD, 53% of a high-dose group were still not drinking compared with 33% of a low-dose group. Alcoholics receiving conventional therapy had a 12% improvement rate.
In a study of 31 cancer patients experiencing anxiety, depression, and uncontrollable pain, 71% showed improvement in their physical and emotional status after each LSD session. According to Yensen, researchers also observed that many cancer patients receiving LSD reported that their desire for addictive pain medicines, such as morphine, had diminished or vanished, along with the pain.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funds some of these studies, and the FDA has allowed them because of the possible medical benefit. “These are very small studies, mostly with fewer than 10 patients,” comments Dr. Curtis Wright, an M.D. with the addiction medicine staff in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “It’s far too early to tell whether these drugs work or not to provide any therapeutic benefit.”
The medicinal use of ayahuasca, a plant beverage with psychotropic effects, has been proposed as a possible treatment for cocaine addiction. Proponents of this approach argue that DMT and other hallucinogens allow the substance abuser to modify his state of consciousness. In this altered state, the substance abuser looks for a meaning in his life.

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