In America and around the globe, drugs once classified as illegal are being found to have varying components that offer great benefit when administered in a controlled manner.
Take marajuana for instance, still illegal in most states here in America, the drug has long been used for treatment in glaucoma and cancer patients.
And, I’m sure you’re familiar with the fact that an active ingredient of the marajuana plant, CBD, is now widely being used to treat a range of disorders and ailments from ptsd to pain relief.
But, marajuana isn’t the only drug (overseas at least) that is proving to be a promising treatment for sufferers of various conditions.
Currently, in the UK, clinical trials are set to begin involving the use of DMT, a psychedelic drug also derived from a plant.
And, though controversial, this could be wonderful news for more than hundreds of millions of depression sufferers worldwide!
But, what would you say is the most important bit of info in the information above?
…the potential help with depression?
…or, the controversial means by which this help may be achieved?
There often seems to be a split in opinion regarding these issues:
- some are for treatment, even if the means by which said treatment is found centers around drugs that have been long considered illegal
- some are for treatment, but do not approve of means that involve the use of the same such drugs
There are no doubt risks in either, or any, situation. But, where do you stand?
Read on about the latest findings and treatment options coming out of the UK and let us know your thoughts below.
Depression. Clinical Depression. Major Depressive Disorder.
These terms are all used to describe a mental health disorder rooted in many causes, from biological, to psychological, and social sources.
Depression can cause symptoms that negatively affect how an individual thinks, feels, handles, or responds to daily activities.
It can occur simultaneously with other diseases and ailments such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. These conditions can exacerbate depression symptoms and depression can in turn worsen these conditions…an unfortunate double edged sword for sufferers.
Sufferers may experience:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in regular activities
- Restlessness, loss of sleep
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness
- Aches, pain (headaches, cramps, digestive issues)
- Overly tired
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Depressive disorders are often treated by medication and/or therapy (counseling) and through brain stimulation therapy, which brings us to the potentially controversial topic at hand coming out of the UK…medications used as a treatment option for depression.
DMT For Treating Depression
The drug now being used in a clinical trial to treat depression is a psychedelic drug known as dimethyltryptamine (DMT).
For now, though there is still one step left in the approval process, the trial is on track to begin in January, first involving 32 (healthy) volunteers who have never taken any psychedelic drugs.
The next step will then involve the drug being administered to 36 patients who have been diagnosed with clinical depression and will be used in conjunction with psychotherapy.
So, what’s the controversy?
DMT is also a “street drug” classified as a Class A substance that will land you in jail for 7 years for possession and life in prison for supplying the drug.
It is often referred to as the “spirit molecule” because the drug can cause powerful hallucinogenic “trips.”
While DMT is found in several plants. It’s use here comes from the active ingredient in the ayahuasca plant which is used in traditional healing practices in South America with powerful psychoactive effects.
And, though some would liken this to using medical marajuana, being “pro-benefit,” others feel that journeying down this path of using such drugs to treat mental and physical illnesses is one that isn’t without many dangers.
So, what is the benefit of venturing down such a path when it comes to treating depression with DMT?
There are other substances, also thought of as controversial, that have been considered and even used to treat depression (like psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient found in some mushrooms) as well, but these often require lengthy amounts of time for the drug to both take effect and wear off.
DMT presents as a curiously promising treatment as it is fast-acting.
DMT evokes a psychedelic experience that happens quickly, is more intensified, but also ends quickly. (which at this time the psychotherapy session would be conducted)
The chief scientific and medical officer running the clinical trial describes the drug’s benefit like this:
“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.” (Carol Routledge)
The intention is to then have the patient go through therapy sessions to help piece those thoughts back together, making sense of them in a productive manner.
The hopes for DMT aren’t specific to depression alone.
Researchers believe this type of treatment could be beneficial for those with PTSD, treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even those battling substance abuse.
But, if this treatment is considered controversial due to the illegal classification of the drug, why use it at all?
Well…honestly, this isn’t a new concept.
Take a look at the “illegal” drugs used in both trials and as subsequently effective treatment options for varying ailments and conditions.
As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, marajuana has been used to treat numerous medical ailments from glaucoma to Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease to cancer, MS, epilepsy, and much more.
And yet…it is still considered to be an illegal drug in most areas that will result in jail time if you are found in possession or caught selling the drug.
Granted, those uses would be listed under medical marajuana, but you get the picture.
Another drug we also briefly mentioned above, psilocybin is the active psychedelic ingredient found in “magic” mushrooms. Also considered an illegal drug in many American states.
Medically speaking, physicians have used psilocybin to treat headaches, cancer, depression, and anxiety disorders.
Yep, even Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds has been used as a treatment option, considered non-addictive, for pain relief and management.
Perhaps you’ll better recognize this one by its street name, the illegal drug known as ecstacy. MDMA is being researched here in the US for its use in combination with psychotherapy to help those suffering with PTSD.
It’s interesting to note that many of these illegal drugs have roots in ancient medicinal practices.
So, in the name of discussion, and perhaps poking a bigger bear here:
- What prompted such medicines used long ago to be classified as illegal?
- What makes them so risky today? Because we can’t deny the negative effects we see in street usage. (is it unmonitored usage, abusive recreational use)
- Is their use for treatment, like DMT in this case, too risky?
- Does their use for treatment, like DMT in this case, prove to be too beneficial to overlook?
- For it: only in a controlled manner?
- Against it: in any manner?
Comment and let us know your thoughts!
These 5 Plants Kick Anxiety’s A$$
Do you suffer from crippling, overwhelming, or even a slight nagging sense of anxiety or depression?
If the answer is “yes”, chances are the “stress system” in your body responsible for processing stressors is out of balance and over-sensitive.
When this “stress system” is out of balance or over-sensitive…
Stressors trigger your body’s “fight, flight, or freeze” response too easily and too often…
And that stressed-out response lasts longer than it should.
Balancing your “stress system” helps your body naturally adapt (without any harmful side effects) to better handle your response to stressors…
So you can very quickly (often the same day you start balancing this system) experience a peaceful calm that transports you to a happier, better place, and finally frees you from worry.
Here’s how to do it…