A DMT trip can be safely extended to last half an hour, according to new research.
Results of a world-first pilot study conducted at Imperial College Centre for Psychedelic Research suggest extended-state DMT, dubbed DMTx, is safe and tolerable for up to 30 minutes.
DMT, or N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, is a naturally-occurring psychedelic characterised by an intense, transient altered state of consciousness – a trip that typically lasts between five and ten minutes when the drug is injected.
Authors of the paper, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, say the findings lay the groundwork for the further development of DMTx for basic and clinical research.
Lisa Luan, a PhD student and the study’s lead researcher, said: “What this study has demonstrated is that with DMT, we have a psychedelic experience that can easily be modified in terms of strength and duration.
“This flexibility may be very beneficial to clinical work, where different individuals may have differing needs, and it may also help to reduce overall cost of treatment, making it more accessible.”
Previous research suggests DMT could effectively treat a myriad of mental health conditions when administered alongside psychotherapy, including treatment-resistant depression.
Authors of a 2016 paper in Frontiers in Physiology hypothesised that a more prolonged DMT state could broaden and deepen the drug’s therapeutic success, sparking clinical interest in DMTx.
The new research is the first to assess the psychological and physiological effects of extending the drug’s state to 30 minutes using a new method of DMT administration.
Researchers tested four doses of extended DMT infusions on 11 healthy volunteers with prior psychedelic experience, using an injection that induced rapid onset drug action and further infusions to maintain a stable DMT concentration (termed bolus IV injection and constant-rate infusion, respectively).
Luan and her team were prompted to study the drug’s continuous administration because of the briefness of its usual effects, which sets it apart from other serotonergic psychedelics.
She said: “We have on the one hand these very intense and short subjective experiences which DMT produces, which often feel like a glimpse into something and leave people wondering.
“And on the other hand we have these properties of DMT that make it suitable for continuous infusion. And out of these two things came the idea to explore extended-state DMT.”
Andrew Gallimore, who authored the aforementioned 2016 paper alongside Rick Strassman and first proposed the use of intravenous infusion to extend the DMT state, took to Twitter to summarise the findings of the “landmark study”.
He said: “Whilst heart rate and anxiety levels increased sharply at the beginning of the infusion, they soon settled at normal levels.
“So, at least with these experienced volunteers, extended-state DMT is well-tolerated and neither physiologically nor psychologically overwhelming.”
Gallimore said the study’s most contentious findings were that volunteers experienced “short-term psychological tolerance” to DMTx. This was noted after the drug’s psychological effects plateaued throughout the infusion, despite blood plasma DMT concentrations increasing.
The authors suggest “psychological habituation” could explain these results; in other words, volunteers may become more familiar with the DMT state over time. But more research is needed to better understand the effects of continuous DMT infusion.