In this interview, Andrew O’Donnell is joined by Christopher J. Moreau from Algernon Pharmaceuticals to discuss the company’s new clinical research program focused on DMT for the treatment of Stroke.
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, is a hallucinogenic tryptamine drug producing effects similar to those of other psychedelics like LSD, ketamine, psilocybin and psilocin. DMT occurs naturally in many plant species and animals and has been used in religious ceremonies as a traditional spiritual medicine by indigenous people in the Amazonian basin. DMT can also be synthesised in a laboratory.
At higher doses, DMT has a rapid onset, intense psychedelic effects, and a relatively short duration of action with an estimated half-life of less than fifteen minutes. Like other hallucinogens in the tryptamine family, DMT binds to serotonin receptors to produce euphoria and psychedelic effects. Because the effects of DMT do not last very long, it has been referred to in some circles as the “businessman’s trip”.
Named the “Spirit Molecule” by Dr. Rick Strassman, an American clinical associate professor of psychiatry and DMT research pioneer, DMT has been shown to induce neuroplasticity in a number of key preclinical studies. DMT is believed to activate pathways involved with forming neuron connections and has been shown in studies to increase the number of dendritic spines on cortical neurons. Dendritic spines form synapses (connections) with other neurons and are a major site of molecular activity in the brain.
While Dr. Strassman’s Phase 1 bolus intravenous human study identified the sub-hallucinogenic dose of DMT in humans, another preclinical animal study demonstrated this same dose level still retains the neuroplastic effect seen in higher hallucinogenic doses.
Algernon will be investigating an intravenous sub-hallucinogenic dose of DMT in its research and clinical studies for the treatment of stroke.