A pharmaceutical company has found that (in a petri dish) sub-perceptual doses of DMT increase the growth of brain cells by 40%.
The study was funded by Algernon Pharmaceuticals, who also intends to study the drug’s non-psychedelic potential to help promote healing and recovery in the brain following a stroke.
This new in vitro study found that microdoses of Algernon’s AP-188 (their form of synthetic DMT) increased the growth of rat cortical neurons by 40 percent in one group of the study.
Interestingly, the positive control, ketamine, also stimulated brain cell growth, although at higher concentrations than were required with DMT. Further analysis of the study data is in progress, according to a press release.
The purpose of the experiments is to narrow in on ideal blood concentration levels and exposure times in order to optimise the neuroplastic effects of DMT “without triggering hallucinations”.
This study builds on previous research by David Olson that explored decoupling DMT’s psychedelic effects from its therapeutic effects. It found rats that were given DMT recovered motor function quicker and had less damage to the brain than the control rats.
This research is part of Algeron’s clinical research program for the treatment of stroke, with a focus on DMT. The company plans to be the first company globally to test DMT for stroke in humans, with clinical studies set to start before the end of the year.
The proposition is that low, sub-perceptual doses of DMT may promote the growth of new brain cells and neuroplasticity when administered to patients following a stroke.
Consultant to Algeron and author of the popular DMT: The Spirit Molecule book, Dr. Rick Strassman says “These exciting in vitro data provide further evidence supporting the use of DMT in stroke, and strongly suggest that low doses and short exposure times are feasible.”
CEO of Algeron, Christopher J. Moreau, says the positive outcome of the study will help their stroke program move along very quickly, and that the company is “looking forward to the final data set from this preclinical study and starting our Phase 1 human study as soon as possible.”
Previous DMT research
Previous research that found DMT can induce the growth of new brain cells in rats, directly leading to detectable improvements in memory and cognition, also discovered that the hallucinogenic effects of DMT could be divorced from the neurogenic effects as they are the result of different mechanisms within the brain.
This implies DMT could have huge therapeutic potential for a wide range of psychiatric and neurological disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. DMT may also provide a “ground-breaking treatment” for depression.