Interview with Algernon Pharmaceuticals CEO about New DMT Stroke Program

What is DMT?

DMT is an Acronym for Dimethyltryptamine. A psychedelic compound in the same family as psilocybin and psilocin.

Does DMT have psychedelic effects on the patient?

Yes, it does, but it has a very short half-life of about eight minutes. It’s been known as “the businessman’s trip” because the half-life is so short compared to other psychedelics.

What do pre-clinical studies tell us about DMT?

Two studies done by Olsen, one study was in-vitro that informed us that DMT, when added to cortical neurons, promotes neuro plasticity and neurogenesis. Neurons have spines that form to make connections and in research experiments they can count how many of these dendritic spines develop when they are exposed to psychedelic drugs, with DMT showing significant neural activity.

A second in-vivo study in rats for depression, using a sub-psychedelic dose when translated to a human dose, found a positive effect on depression.

The most important pre-clinical study was from Hungary, a rat stroke model study, where they tied off one side of the brain in the animal causing a stroke and then exposed the rats to DMT.  It was very effective, reducing the amount of dead cells in the brain, and the rats had an almost full recovery of motor function.

What is the role of psilocybin and psilocin in DMT research?

They are in the same family as DMT. Their molecular structure is similar. It’s always helpful to look at other similar compounds when doing research so you can identify class effects of a drug family. If we study similar compounds and see an effect on neurogenesis, it adds to your research data.

What are the debilitating consequences of a stroke?

Very wide-ranging: includes personality changes, cognitive changes, motor function, blindness. 85% of stroke victims suffer some form of a deficit.

When was DMT introduced to the world, and how many years has it existed in our medical system?

DMT is naturally occurring, so it was never introduced, it was discovered, and it is present in some plants and animals. It is suspected to be produced by the pineal gland in humans, but this hasn’t been proven conclusively. It has been used in south America by some tribes, via ayahuasca tea, a combination of a plant that has DMT and another plant that helps the body metabolize DMT when ingested.

Is DMT approved by the U.S FDA (Food and Drug Administration)?

DMT is a controlled substance, restricted in most jurisdictions for research use only. By proving DMT has efficacy in treating medical conditions, it could receive approval in the future. Algernon is investigating a sub-psychedelic intravenous dose solution in a clinical setting which may speed up its possible approval for use.

What is the positive impact of DMT on the human brain?

The therapeutic effects of DMT on the human brain are still being studied. Phase 1 studies for addictions and depression are on-going. Dr Strassman, in the 90s, was focused on the psychedelic effects (see Dr.Strassman’s work and his movie for more information).

What is the negative impact of DMT on the human brain?

We don’t fully understand if there are negative physiological effects on the brain. Currently our understanding is limited to the subjective personal response to the hallucinogenic effects. If someone takes DMT, they may not enjoy the experience and yet another person who is open to new things, may enjoy it.

Can you treat a patient with brain injury using DMT?

We will be investigating this possibility.

Can DMT cause hallucinations, and to what extent?

Yes, it can at a psychedelic dose. In Dr. Strassman’s experiments he confirmed 0.6 mg per kilogram as the maximum dose. He would give patients the max dose and monitor the effects. We are focusing on a sub-psychedelic dose, so we won’t be testing this aspect.

How do you deal with someone who ingested DMT and is having hallucinations?

This isn’t part of our research. DMT has a half-life of 8 minutes, it clears the body quickly, so the experience will be quick.

What scenarios can land the patient into a coma?

We’re not aware of any dose in the known safe range that would do that.

How do you administrate DMT to human subjects?

Our focus will be an intravenous dose for our studies.

Name a few DMT street names?

Dimitri, The Spirt Molecule, The Businessman’s Trip


Where does DMT come from and what’s the proof of it?

It’s naturally occurring and has been isolated in laboratories, so scientists understand its structure.

What is the active ingredient of DMT?

DMT is the active ingredient

Can you make DMT in the laboratory or produce it naturally?

While DMT occurs naturally, in order to ensure a safe and stable supply for possible medical uses, the best approach is to synthesize it.

 How long does it take Synthetic DMT to affect the individual?

Almost instantaneously.

How long do plant-based brews of DMT affect the individual?

We are not working with plant produced DMT so this doesn’t apply to our research. However once active the half-life of the drug is very short whether naturally produced or synthesized chemically.

How many people in the USA (12 months) used DMT for medicinal purposes?

Officially no one, since it’s not approved for use, although some may still use DMT. It’s difficult to know to what extent.

Can DMT spike blood pressure and heart rate?

It could have an impact on blood pressure and heart rate but this is likely dose dependent. Also, if someone is experiencing hallucinations, that in and of itself could make their heart rate and blood pressure go up.

Should we treat dilated pupils as a result of ingesting DMT or let it be?

Our Phase 1 DMT study will be based on safety and dosing and so we will be observing any problematic side effects and respond accordingly.

What are the known side effects of oral DMT?

The effects will be dose dependent but will likely be similar to intravenous.


Can DMT cause loss of muscle coordination?

If someone was experiencing hallucinations, and they were moving around it possibly could. In our studies, patients will be in a hospital bed and so the environment will be safe and controlled. We are doing a sub-psychedelic dose study, so the risk of this occurring is minimal.

How do you manage a patient who is unable to maintain mental stability because of confusion?

We don’t have this information at this point however, we will be prepared for our phase 2 studies. DMT has a very short half-life and so once the treatment is stopped, it clears the body very quickly. We are investigating a sub-psychedelic dose, so we won’t likely see this effect in our studies.

Which countries are using ayahuasca plants in rituals?

Some South American countries.

What does International law say about DMT usage?

We are interested only in laws on a country-by-country basis, countries where you can do research, and where you can get it approved. Generally speaking it is approved in some countries for research only on a case by case basis.

Which countries have allowed DMT plant production?

We don’t know if there are any. Synthesizing the drug is the best approach for a safe and stable supply of drug. That’s what we will be doing.

Where are DMT salts are stored?

They will be stored where they are manufactured under certain conditions until distributed for research or clinical use.

Who found DMT existence in mammals?

Not sure. DMT was first synthesized in 1931 by Richard Manske.

Is DMT a hallucinogenic drug or brain recovery drug?

In addition to it being a hallucinogenic drug, we hope it is also a brain recovery drug as well.

Can DMT cause addiction in patients?

DMT does not appear to be especially addictive. However, a psychological dependence can develop. We are investigating a sub-psychedelic dose, so we won’t likely see this effect in our studies.

What are the long-term side effects of DMT?

Long-term effects may include psychosis, frequent flashbacks, and hallucinations even when the user is not on the drug from dosages in the hallucinogenic range.


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