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      Inhaled 5-methoxy- N, N-dimethyltryptamine: Supportive context associated with positive acute and enduring effects

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          Background and aims

          5-Methoxy- N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) is a potent, short-acting psychedelic that produces strong hallucinogenic effects. The association between the context (i.e., set and setting) of 5-MeO-DMT use and the acute and enduring effects of the substance is unknown. Therefore, this study examined these associations using secondary data from two cross-sectional survey studies.


          The acute and enduring effects of inhaled synthetic 5-MeO-DMT were compared between individuals who used 5-MeO-DMT in a non-structured context (NSC; n = 216, female = 10%, M age = 35.5, SD = 11.8) and those who used in a structured context (SC; n = 362, female = 45%, M age = 47.7, SD = 13.3). Questionnaires were administered online and responses were anonymized for privacy purposes. Respondents were asked to retrospectively rate their first experience with synthesized 5-MeO-DMT on measures of mystical experience, challenging experience, and enduring effects.


          Both groups endorsed high ratings on the Mystical Experience Questionnaire; however, mean scores were significantly higher in the SC group compared to the NSC group. Similarly, the proportion of respondents who had a complete mystical experience was significantly larger in the SC group (83%) compared to the NSC group (54%). Ratings of enduring effects (i.e., meaningfulness, spirituality, and well-being) were also significantly higher, and the intensity of challenging experiences was significantly lower, in the SC group compared to the NSC group.


          5-MeO-DMT appears to occasion mystical-type experiences with enduring positive effects, which are more intense when 5-MeO-DMT is administered in a safe and supportive context. Future prospective experimental studies should examine the effects of 5-MeO-DMT and its interactive relationship with supportive contextual factors.

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          Author and article information

          Journal of Psychedelic Studies
          Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
          June 2020
          27 December 2019
          : 4
          : 2
          : 114-122
          [ 1 ] Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine , Baltimore, MD, USA
          [ 2 ] School of Counseling, Leadership, Advocacy, and Design, University of Wyoming , Laramie, WY, USA
          [ 3 ] Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine , Baltimore, MD, USA
          [ 4 ] College of Social Work, The Ohio State University , Columbus, OH, USA
          Author notes
          [* ]Corresponding author: Alan K. Davis, PhD; College of Social Work, The Ohio State University, 1947 College Rd, Columbus, OH 43210, USA; Phone: +1 704 219 1733; E-mail: davis.5996@ 123456osu.edu
          © 2019 The Author(s)

          This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

          Page count
          Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 43, Pages: 9

          Evolutionary Biology,Medicine,Psychology,Educational research & Statistics,Social & Behavioral Sciences
          5-MeO-DMT,psychedelics,context,set and setting,mystical experience,challenging experience


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