Current issue


Volume 39, issue 2

Review article

Therapeutic potential of N,N-dimethyltryptamine in the treatment of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders

Jakub Schimmelpfennig1, Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda1
1. Behavioral Neuroscience Lab, SWPS University Faculty of Psychology in Warsaw, Poland
Farmakoterapia w Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2023, 39 (2), 115–130
Date of publication: 19-01-2024
Keywords: neurodegenerative diseases, therapeutic effects, mitochondria, DMT, sigma-1, N-dimethyltryptamine


Objectives. Outlining the therapeutic potential of dimethyltryptamine (DMT) from the perspective of its unique properties, mainly neuroplasticity and neuroprotection.

Literature review. The first information on the therapeutic potential of DMT, commonly found in plants, humans and animals, appeared in the 1960s. This led researchers to consider the potential role of DMT as a neurotransmitter crucial for the survival of the organism under hypoxic conditions. The discovery of its immunomodulatory, neuroplastic, and body-protective properties against the effects of oxidative stress or damage sparked the scientific community’s interest in DMT’s therapeutic potential. In the first part of this paper, we show how DMT, as a psychoplastogen, i.e. a substance significantly stimulating mechanisms of structural and functional neuroplasticity in cortical areas, can be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, brain damage, or frontotemporal dementia. Next, we show how neuroplastic changes occur through activation of sigma-1 and 5-HT2A receptors. We also focus on its anti-inflammatory effects, protecting nerve and glial cells from oxidative stress, which shows therapeutic potential, especially in the treatment of depression, anxiety, or addiction. Finally, we outline the important effects of DMT on the biogenesis and proper functioning of mitochondria, whose dysfunction underlies many psychiatric, metabolic, neurodegenerative, and immunological disorders.

Conclusions. The effects of DMT show therapeutic potential in the treatment of post-stroke, post-traumatic brain injury, transplantation or neurological and mitochondrial diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, frontotemporal dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or multiple sclerosis. DMT shows therapeutic potential also in the treatment of PTSD, and neurological and psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety disorders, or addictions.

Address for correspondence:
Jakub Schimmelpfennig
SWPS University
Faculty of Psychology in Warsaw
Chodakowska 19/31, 03-815 Warsaw, Poland