UK regulators will be able to start the first-ever clinical trial to gain more information on dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in treating various mental health disorders, such as depression.
According to The Guardian, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the trial early this week.
However, the company, Small Pharma, that will run the trial alongside the Imperial College is still in talks with the Home Office in order to be granted government permission.
DMT, which is one of the main ingredients of ayahuasca, a brew commonly used for spiritual and religious purposes in South America, is a Class A drug in the UK.
Experts and regular users say the drug has a similar impact to other psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and magic mushrooms.
However, one of the main reasons DMT is so popular is that the psychedelic experience (the so-called trip) lasts a much shorter time compared to the above-mentioned drugs.
In the trial, says the paper, firstly healthy people will be given the drug. Then, if everything goes accordingly, during the second trial, patients suffering from depression will be asked to take DMT alongside psychotherapy.
Carol Routledge, chief scientific and medical officer at Small Pharma, said: “The psychedelic drug breaks up all of the ruminative thought processes in your brain.
“It literally undoes what has been done by either the stress you’ve been through or the depressive thoughts you have, and hugely increases the making of new connections.
“Then the [psychotherapy] session afterwards is the letting-things-settle piece of things. It helps you to make sense of those thoughts and puts you back on the right track.
“We think this could be a treatment for a number of depressive disorders besides major depression, including PTSD, treatment-resistant depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and possibly some types of substance abuse.”
Recently, researchers concluded a study that found a reduction in patients’ depressive symptoms four weeks after taking the drug.