A narrative synthesis of research with 5-MeO-DMT

Background: 5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) is a naturally occurring, short-acting psychedelic tryptamine, produced by a variety of plant and animal species. Plants containing 5-MeO-DMT have been used throughout history for ritual and spiritual purposes. The aim of this article is to review the available literature about 5-MeO-DMT and inform subsequent clinical development. Methods: We searched PubMed database for articles about 5-MeO-DMT. Search results were cross-checked against earlier reviews and reference lists were hand searched. Findings were synthesised using a narrative synthesis approach. This review covers the pharmacology, chemistry and metabolism of 5-MeO-DMT, as well epidemiological studies, and reported adverse and beneficial effects. Results: 5-MeO-DMT is serotonergic agonist, with highest affinity for 5-HT1A receptors. It was studied in a variety of animal models, but clinical studies with humans are lacking. Epidemiological studies indicate that, like other psychedelics, 5-MeO-DMT induces profound alterations in consciousness (including mystical experiences), with potential beneficial long-term effects on mental health and well-being. Conclusion: 5-MeO-DMT is a potentially useful addition to the psychedelic pharmacopoeia because of its short duration of action, relative lack of visual effects and putatively higher rates of ego-dissolution and mystical experiences. We conclude that further clinical exploration is warranted, using similar precautions as with other classic psychedelics.