Image of the Day: Mind Altering
Image of the Day: Mind Altering

Image of the Day: Mind Altering

A study in rats finds that tiny doses of the psychedelic drug DMT may yield positive effects for anxiety and depression, but there could be downsides too.

Mar 11, 2019
Carolyn Wilke

ABOVE: DMT crystals imaged with polarizing microscopy
LINDSAY CAMERON AND LEE DUNLAP

In an effort to sharpen their minds, some people have taken to microdosing small amounts of psychedelic drugs. So far, reports of the benefits have been largely anecdotal. A study of microdosing in rats published March 4 in ACS Chemical Neuroscience lends more evidence for some positive effects of microdosing.

The rats in the study received the psychedelic compound N,N-dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, which bears chemical similarities to other drugs including LSD and psilocybin, at levels far lower than the amount estimated to produce hallucinations.

After two weeks of microdosing, the DMT seemed to produce behaviors that indicated antidepressant effects and lower anxiety in the rats. The researchers didn’t find either an uptick or decline in cognition with microdosing, but they did observe atrophy in the neurons of female rats and that male rats gained weight.

L.P. Cameron et al., “Chronic, intermittent microdoses of the psychedelic N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) produce positive effects on mood and anxiety in rodents,” in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, doi:10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00692, 2019.