Alan Kooi Davis

Alan Davis

Ohio State University and Johns Hopkins University

The Psychotherapuetic Potential of Synthetic Tryptamines: DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, and DPT


Research has shown the promise of psychedelics used as an adjunct to psychotherapy in the treatment of various mental health disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment-resistant depression, and anxiety-related disorders. Psychedelics such as O-phosphoryl-4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (4-PO-DMT; commonly known as psilocybin), and psychedelic-like drugs such as 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) may be approved for medical use by the United States Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency in the coming years. However, their long duration of psychoactive effects increases the clinical and infrastructure resources needed for day-long treatment sessions, thus driving high costs associated with these treatments. Such high costs could limit the accessibility of psilocybin and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to many people who could benefit from this type of treatment, especially those from vulnerable populations such as people of color, sexual and gender minorities, and military veterans. In order to decrease the fiscal burden of these treatments, psychedelics such as N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), 5-Methoxy-N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT), and N,N-Dipropyltryptamine (DPT) may provide a more cost-effective alternative due to their quick onset and short duration of acute effects. Although all three of these substituted tryptamines have similar molecular structures, they each have slightly different profiles of acute effects which could show promise for clinical indications. In this presentation, the current literature on the history, basic pharmacology, and acute phenomenology of DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, and DPT will be reviewed (including research conducted by the presenter), and the therapeutic potential will be explained by presenting emerging evidence of their potential to alleviate symptoms associated with various mental health conditions.


Dr. Alan K Davis is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at The Ohio State University and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Psychedelic Research Unit at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Davis’s clinical experience includes working with people diagnosed with trauma-based psychological problems such as addiction, PTSD, depression, and anxiety. His clinical expertise includes providing evidenced-based treatments such as motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. Consistent with his clinical interests, his research interests and expertise focus on contributing to the knowledge of and ability to help those suffering with substance use and mental health problems, understanding how to improve clinical outcomes through examining new treatments, and developing ways to conceptualize substance use and mental health problems through a strengths-based approach. Psychedelic research focuses on clinical trials with psilocybin for people with depression and exploring psychological mechanisms by which psilocybin improves mental health and functioning and examining the therapeutic potential of fast-acting synthetic tryptamines.