Taking a ‘trip’ to improve mental health
A clinical trial involving a psychedelic drug and psychotherapy aims to help patients with hard-to-treat depression and other mental health disorders
A UK neuropharmaceutical company is planning the world’s first clinical trial to treat depression by combining psychotherapy and the mind-expanding psychedelic medicine dimethyltryptamine (DMT).
DMT is a naturally occurring chemical found in tiny amounts in the human brain and in larger amounts in plants. Chemically similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT), it is involved in a variety of physiological functions, including eating, sleep and mood regulation.
The Small Pharma trial follows on from the drive, led by the world-renowned Imperial College London, to bring psychedelic-assisted therapy out of the fringe into the scientific mainstream. Small Pharma is focused on identifying rapid-acting treatments for depression and other mental health disorders, and is collaborating with Imperial’s Centre for Psychedelic Research.
Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, the centre’s head, says:
Psychedelic therapy holds a great deal of promise for treating some very serious mental health conditions and may offer new hope to vulnerable people with limited treatment options.
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