A single inhalation of the psychedelic drug 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) is associated with sustained improvements in satisfaction with life, mindfulness, and a reduction of psychopathological symptoms, according to preliminary research published in Psychopharmacology.

“5-MeO-DMT is a lesser known psychedelic compared to, for example, ayahuasca and psilocybin — and thus very limited research exists,” explained study author Malin Uthaug (@malin.uthaug), a PhD candidate at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

5-MeO-DMT occurs naturally in the venom of some toads and in a variety of plants species. It can also be produced synthetically.

“Essentially, I saw this as a niche area, and brought it upon myself to investigate its effect and therapeutic potential further as part of my doctorate work at Maastricht University. This specific article summarizes the first study I did on the topic, but there are more to come,” Uthaug said.

In the study, 42 participants completed a battery of psychology tests before inhaling vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-MeO-DMT. The participants completed the tests again about 24 hours later and 24 participants completed the tests yet again at a 4-week follow-up assessment.

“This study was a so-called ‘naturalistic observational study.’ This means that as a researcher, I simply observed what was occurring at sessions where toad secretion containing 5-MeO-DMT was administered to participants by facilitators, and distributed questionnaires to the participants,” Uthaug explained.

“Although there are limitations with this design (no placebo-control, participant bias, etc), it has an advantage in the sense that it allows researchers to get a better look at drug effects than what the current legality status of psychedelics permit.”

The researchers found that subjective ratings of life satisfaction, depression, anxiety, and mindfulness improved on the day after the session, and this effect persisted for four weeks. The findings are in line with a previous survey of 362 adults, which found that approximately 80& of respondents reported improvements in anxiety and depression after using 5-MeO-DMT.

But there also does not appear to be anything particularly special about toad venom compared to synthetic 5-MeO-DMT.

“Another important take-away from the study is that 5-MeO-DMT is the main compound in the toad secretion as demonstrated by our lab-analysis,” Uthaug said.

“This finding, as well as the outlined ethical and ecological consideration of toad secretion use, make a clear and strong argument for the discontinuation of toad secretion as a means of obtaining and consuming 5-MeO-DMT. In other words, ‘save a toad – exploit a chemist.‘”

Previous research has indicated that 5-MeO-DMT has a relatively safe profile of use and is predominantly used for spiritual exploration. But there is still much to learn about the psychedelic drug.

“The results of the present study are in no way conclusive, and more research is warranted to investigate 5-MeO-DMT further. The rest of our studies on 5-MeO-DMT (from my dissertation as well as other collaborations) are yet to be published, and include one study outlining the effects of 5-MeO-DMT on biomarkers (salivary cortisol and IL-6), and another comparing the effects and experiences following vaporization or intramuscular injection,” Uthaug told PsyPost.

“These will all amplify the current literature, but future clinical research and safety assessment of 5-MeO-DMT, specifically through the intramuscular route, is highly warranted before a clinical trial can commence.”

Uthaug also noted that some facilitators of 5-MeO-DMT face serious allegations of malpractice.

“Additionally, none of the facilitators have the necessary expertise (clinical background) to properly hold a safe space where altered states of consciousness can be entered, nor to screen for contraindications in participants that are included in a session,” she said. “This is dangerous as it puts people at unnecessary risk for having an unpleasant and even traumatic experience, which can impact them as well as those around them negatively.”

The study, “A single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in a naturalistic setting is related to sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capacities, and a decrement of psychopathological symptoms“, was authored by M. V. Uthaug, R. Lancelotta, K. van Oorsouw, K. P. C. Kuypers, N. Mason, J. RakA. Šuláková, R. Jurok, M. Maryška, M. Kuchař, T. Páleníček, J. Riba, and J. G. Ramaekers.