Scientific Online Resource System

Scripta Scientifica Vox Studentium


Denitsa Hristova, Maria Zhelyazkova-Savova


Introduction: The effects of the endogenous hallucinogen N,N-dimethyltryptamine are poorly understood and its medical significance is widely unknown. A small number of  studies regarding its biochemical, pharmaceutical and physiological role have been conducted and the efficacy of its therapeutic potential is presently disregarded. How can scientists proceed in gaining insight into DMT and discovering possible medical uses of this substance?  

Materials and Methods: Published articles from  1964 to the present year have been reviewed and the outcome of the studies summarized. The results of drug action,  therapeutic use and potential were investigated . Studies that appeared to have little medical purpose or those, which focus on the use of  Ayahuasca, a South American ritual drink containing N,N-dimethyltryptamine and a monoamine oxidase (MAO)  inhibitor of plant origin, have been excluded. 

Results: The research conducted between 1964 and 1987 seems to be an approach to understanding general chemical and biochemical properties of the substance (e.g. metabolites, tolerance, distribution, toxicity, etc.). Rick Strassman, who conducted a broad study from 1990 till 1994 has initiated a recurring interest in the field of psychopharmacology towards DMT. Thus, in the following years, the research was focused on the therapeutic gain of N,N-dimethyltryptamine but resulted mostly inconclusively leading to suggestions of further research. The findings have shown contradictions of already established knowledge, especially for receptors like the sigma-1 receptor, the only direct agonist of which is found to be N,N-dimethyltryptamie.  

Conclusion: The studies that now need to be conducted should analyze the correlations between psychiatric diseases (e.g. schizophrenia), purpose of the normal endogenous production and exact action, and the already suggested in various studies therapeutic importance. The low amount of knowledge about the drug action (in case of pharmaceutical use), its targets and drug effect should motivate researchers to gain more insight.  


DMT, systematic review, sigma-1 receptors, pharmacology, endogenous hallucinogen



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