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  • Dr. Martin Polanco

Psychedelic therapy with 5MeO-DMT


Since the 1950’s researchers and clinicians have been exploring the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. They’ve been administered mostly in individual psychotherapy settings while also in some group sessions. The interest in this exploration has increased in the last two decades, scientists have been conducting research on the healing benefits and therapeutic use of psychedelics like psilocybin, MDMA and LSD.


Clinical trials have shown that the use of psychedelics in a therapeutic and monitored setting can induce an experience that is safe and that provokes profound, long lasting psychological and behavioral changes.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy has shown great promise as a treatment for alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence, anxiety, depression and PTSD. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is a practice that involves the ingestion of a psychedelic drug in a controlled and safe environment with a trained therapist.


Even though psychedelic-assisted therapy is not easily available since most psychedelics are illegal in the United States, some places and countries have decriminalized these substances making it possible for people to receive the benefits of this kind of therapy. Recent studies are highlighting that psychedelics do more good than harm and psychedelic therapy may soon be brought into the mainstream. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is already available in some places like the Netherlands and Latin America.


The ceremonial use of 5MeO-DMT likely dates back millennia and it’s still used in indigenous communities as entheogen or plant medicine in their rituals5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5MeO-DMT) is a substance that comes from different organic sources, from plants like Anadenanthera peregrina and from the Bufo Alvarius - a Sonoran Desert toad. The Bufo Alvarius produces 5MeO-DMT secreted by the parotid glands located in the neck, the curve of the elbow and groin. The substance is vaporized and inhaled and kicks in around 15 seconds after its administration leading to profound psychoactive effects lasting about half an hour. People describe experiencing a mystical state, ego-dissolution, transformation of the sense of self and of reality and a feeling of communion with a higher consciousness. When administered in a responsible manner within a supportive environment and with an experienced practitioner it is well tolerated and has therapeutic effects.


According to data from a survey provided to individuals who were administered 5MeO-DMT in a group ceremony, the findings suggest that inhaling 5 MeO-DMT was not associated with any adverse effects or persistent problems, and that it helped to improve depression and anxiety. Though researchers do not want to draw any conclusions yet, the findings suggest that 5MeO-DMT may be a new anxiolytic and antidepressant pharmacotherapy.


Dr. Martin Polanco has been using 5MeO-DMT therapeutically with clients to help them find relief from anxiety, depression and PTSD. For a few years now he has been providing 5MeO-DMT sessions to veterans suffering from trauma and PTSD. He shares how “an experience like this can change your life forever in just 10 minutes. In less than 10 seconds your mind and sensory faculties expand to a higher and broader state of consciousness. Most experience a bigger picture awareness where everything in their life makes more sense and feels in better balance. This experience usually falls into the top 3 or 5 most significant moments in a person’s life.”


After a 5MeO-DMT session it is important to integrate the experience with the help of a coach or psychotherapist. 5MeO-DMT can potentiate a shift in worldview, often for the better! Unfinished business from the past can surface and the client may feel difficult emotions as they process and release these old feelings.. However, the majority of clients leave the session feeling intense love, connection and forgiveness.


A SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) neuroimaging study on a veteran suffering from alcohol dependence was conducted to see how the combination of psychedelic therapy with ibogaine and 5MeO-DMT works on the brain. Ibogaine is an indole alkaloid from the Iboga Tabernanthe plant that grows in West Africa and has been used since the 1980’s as addiction treatment for opioids, stimulants and alcohol. Since there’s been so many reported cases of success with ibogaine treatment, doctors and scientists are performing clinical studies to better understand how ibogaine works and how it can be used to help treat different health disorders.


Research shows that ibogaine works through multiple neurotransmitter systems creating a state of plasticity in the brain. This brain state facilitates the consolidation of traumatic memories, balance hemispheric functions and interrupts habitual patterns associated with addiction. During the ibogaine treatment, the patient experienced dream-like visions that included content pertaining to alcohol abuse and resolution of past developmental traumas. The treatment with 5MeO-DMT was described by the patient as a peak transformation and spiritual breakthrough.


The results of the SPECT neuroimaging after the treatment showed increased activity in multiple areas of the brain in comparison to the patient’s baseline scan. Five days after treatment the patient reported improvement in mood, cessation of alcohol use, and reduced cravings, effects which were sustained at 1 month.

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