A powerful hallucinogenic drug that has been used in shamanic rituals is being trialled by a British firm as a potential cure for depression.
Small Pharma will give volunteers suffering from depression DMT, a hallucinogenic tryptamine with similar psychedelic effects to LSD and magic mushrooms.
The developers hope the drug will help a ‘significant number’ of people who don’t currently respond to conventional treatments or medication for depression.
One of the active ingredients of DMT is ‘ayahuasca’ which is a traditional Amazonian plant medicine used ritually by some tribes to bring ‘spiritual enlightenment’.
An increasing body of evidence has shown that when combined with talking therapy, hallucinogenic drugs can be a safe treatment for a range of mental illnesses.
‘We believe the impact will be almost immediate, and longer lasting than conventional antidepressants,’ Carol Routledge from Small Pharma told the BBC.