NOV 08, 2020 3:30 PM PST

Psychedelic DMT Improves Memory by Neurogenesis

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers from the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain have found that dimethyltryptamine (DMT), the psychoactive compound in Amazonian ayahuasca tea, promotes neurogenesis, or the formation of new neurons. 

“This capacity to modulate brain plasticity suggests that it has great therapeutic potential for a wide range of psychiatric and neurological disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases”, says Jose Angel Morales, one of the study’s authors.  

While DMT is found in numerous plant species and botanical preparations, including the Amazonian ayahuasca brew, it is also found in human blood, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid.

Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are characterized by the death of certain types of neurons. Although humans generally have the capacity to generate new neuronal cells, it is not always possible, leading to an interest in drugs and substances that can aid this process. 

“The challenge is to activate our dormant capacity to form neurons and thus replace the neurons that die as a result of the disease. This study shows that DMT is capable of activating neural stem cells and forming new neurons”, says Morales. 

For the study, researchers studied the substance both in-vitro and in vivo in mice over a period of four years. All in all, they noted that DMT activated the subgranular neurogenic niche responsible for the regulation of neural stem cells and the migration of neuroblasts (embryonic cells from which nerve fibers originate), as well as the promotion of new neurons in the hippocampus. 

The fact that mice dosed with DMT tended to outperform untreated animals in memory tests then suggested that these new neuronal cells in the hippocampus are cognitively beneficial. As such, the researchers say that DMT enhances adult neurogenesis in a meaningful way that improves spatial learning and performance in memory tasks. How this translates over to humans, however, is subject to further study. 

 

Sources: Neuroscience NewsNature

About the Author
  • Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
JUL 05, 2021
Neuroscience
People with Autism More Likely to Self-Medicate with Recreational Drugs
JUL 05, 2021
People with Autism More Likely to Self-Medicate with Recreational Drugs
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have found that people with autism are more likely than people without the ...
AUG 01, 2021
Neuroscience
Keto-based Dietary Supplement Reduces Epileptic Seizures
AUG 01, 2021
Keto-based Dietary Supplement Reduces Epileptic Seizures
K.Vita, a dietary supplement, reduced seizures by 50% in adults and children with drug-resistant epilepsy in its first c ...
AUG 08, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Dietary Supplements Treat Genetic Cause of PTSD
AUG 08, 2021
Dietary Supplements Treat Genetic Cause of PTSD
A combination of two natural nutritional supplements, vitamin A and methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), can treat P ...
AUG 16, 2021
Neuroscience
My Mind's a Blank! How Sleep-Like States Occur During Wakefulness
AUG 16, 2021
My Mind's a Blank! How Sleep-Like States Occur During Wakefulness
Researchers identify neural mechanism common to both attention lapses and sleeping.
AUG 18, 2021
Neuroscience
Histamine Regulates Serotonin Levels in Depression
AUG 18, 2021
Histamine Regulates Serotonin Levels in Depression
Heightened histamine levels from inflammation inhibit the effects of the mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin in t ...
AUG 24, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
A comparison of drugs for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
AUG 24, 2021
A comparison of drugs for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
     Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a rare and unpredictable autoimmune disease in which the body’s inn ...
Loading Comments...