A powerful hallucinogenic drug dubbed the “spirit molecule” is being trialled as a potential treatment for depression.

Study volunteers will be given dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in addition to psychotherapy as it is hoped this approach could become an alternative treatment for people who do not respond to conventional pills.

Small Pharma, the company behind the research in partnership with Imperial College London, recognised the potential benefits psychedelic drugs might have on people with depression two years ago.

There have been a number of trials that have indicated that hallucinogenics, taken alongside talking therapy, could be a safe and effective way to treat depression. Although, this is the first time DMT has been trialled.

It is thought the drug works by loosening fixed pathways in the brain which could help ‘reset’ negative thought patterns.

Those involved in the study will be given the drug and their progress will be closely monitored by the research team.

Meanwhile, a clinic that specialises in ketamine-assisted therapy is opening in Bristol. Elsewhere researchers continue to explore what potential other drugs, such as psilocybin, LSD, ketamine and MDMA (Ecstasy), might have on people who suffer from severe mental health issues.

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