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  • Writer's pictureMartin Polanco

What is a therapeutic treatment with 5-MeO-DMT?

Originally posted July 20, 2020

5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) is a substance that comes from different organic sources, from plants like Anadenanthera Peregrina and from the Incilius Alvarius, also known as the Sonoran Desert toad. This toad produces 5-MeO-DMT secreted by the parotid glands located in the neck, the curve of the elbow and groin.

The effects from vaporizing and inhaling 5-MeO-DMT are usually felt within the first 30 seconds, peaking from 1-15 minutes and lasting for up to 30 minutes. The experience comes on with intensity, with a loss of physical coordination and control. The person may experience bright colors, moving environments and patterns, though visionary effects are minimal.

5-MeO-DMT affects the perception of ourselves, with an increase of sensory and emotional awareness, it is a “perspective shift”. The body may feel heavy, intense emotions like euphoria to fear are common, and also anxiety and excitement during the onset. Most people who have used 5-MeO-DMT describe it as an experience of oneness with the universe, a connection with everything that exists, a sense of being outside of time and space while seeming to experience the totality of both.

5-MeO-DMT therapeutic treatment is conducted in a safe, comfortable and controlled environment with medical staff and supporters experienced in the use of this psychedelic for the release of trauma, anxiety and depression. Before the 5-MeO-DMT treatment a coach/therapist and medical staff will provide guidance and preparation for clients. After the treatment there will be enough time for integration with individual coaching sessions and therapeutic activities.

What are the therapeutic effects of 5-MeO-DMT?

During the 5-MeO-DMT experience there’s a sense of ego loss, which can be scary at the time, it is a process of death and rebirth. The long lasting state of rebirth includes mental clarity, increased motivation, enhanced awareness, joy in living and a sense of inner peace. The ego dissolution experience can impart an understanding and acceptance of mortality, which helps to overcome fear of death, break attachments to past trauma, negative behaviors and habitual negative thought patterns.

5-MeO-DMT is used to alleviate depression, anxiety, PTSD and addiction. At Crossroads Treatment Center, we use 5-MeO-DMT alongside ibogaine treatment to help patients integrate what they have learned during the ibogaine experience.

What are the risks?

5-MeO-DMT is safe to use with an experienced facilitator that is supportive and engaged with the individual. 5-MeO-DMT should not be used in combination with other drugs or contraindicated medications (like antidepressants). Some people have reported feeling anxiety and sleep disruption. To minimize the risks we take great care in starting with a low and precisely measured dose and focus on having a supportive environment and staff to help integrate the experience.

We have experienced 5-MeO-DMT facilitators trained to guide and help integrate your experience. We screen all participants for any pre-existing cardio-vascular disease, significant high blood-pressure, respiratory disorders, stroke or other neurological conditions. Our priority is to provide a safe, supportive and healing space for the participant’s experience.

Research and studies

Current research shows that about 80% of adults who experienced 5-MeO-DMT in a ceremonial group setting reported improvements in anxiety and depression after use. The improvements were related to the intense mystical effects of the experience, including shift of personal meaning and a deep spiritual connection. The results from this research were published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

In 2018, Alan K. Davis, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, published a study that found that when 5-MeO-DMT was administered in a psycho-spiritual retreat setting it produced a mystical experience, it had a safe profile of use and low risk for health and legal consequences.

Dr. Martin Polanco collaborated in a research study (published in 2018)on how the use of multiple psychedelic compounds can provide strong anti-addictive properties in the treatment of alcohol abuse. The research focused on the use of ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT for the treatment of alcohol addiction with the use of neuroimaging to view the brain before and after the treatment. SPECT(single photon emission computed tomography) imaging revealed improvements in multiple relevant brain regions associated with substance addiction in a patient with alcohol use disorder. Through visionary/transcendental mystical-type experiences, the patient processed psychological content associated with his trauma and addiction history. For more details about the study link here: A case report SPECT study and theoretical rationale for the sequential administration of ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT in the treatment of alcohol use disorder.

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 for at least 1 month.

Dr. Martin Polanco has been using a multi-modal psychedelic approach with ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT therapeutically with clients to help them find relief from anxiety, depression and PTSD. For a few years now he has been providing 5-MeO-DMT sessions to clients suffering from trauma and PTSD. He shares how clients report a sense of deep shift in the perception of themselves and a change in their worldview, with a feeling of greater connectedness to nature and life.

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