Informed Consent Document for DMT Trials

Image: retrieved from Mycoptopia on Dec. 27, 2012

The informed consent document is a crucial element of human research. In it, the researcher describes the objectives of the protocol, and why he or she is performing it. The consent states exactly, and in mind-numbing detail, what to expect from participating. It lists the potential risks and benefits associated with volunteering, details how the research team will manage risks, and notes that volunteers will receive all necessary treatment for adverse effects free of charge. The consent reminds the potential research subject that participating is totally voluntary and ongoing. He or she may withdraw at any time, for any reason, with no penalty or withholding of necessary care. In case a volunteer feels unfairly treated, the informed consent document provides names and phone numbers of people he or she can contact in order to complain...

On page two of the consent, this is what the volunteer read:

I understand that the primary effects of this drug are psychological. Visual and/or auditory hallucinations or other perceptual distortions may occur. My sense of time may be altered (short lengths of time passing slowly or vice versa). I may experience very powerful emotions, pleasurable or unpleasant. Opposite feelings or thoughts may be experienced at the same time. I may be extremely sensitive and aware of the environment; on the other hand, I may not notice anything at all in the environment. It may feel like my body and mind have separated. Feelings of impending or actual death or confusion may occur. Euphoria is very common. the onset of the experience is rapid, the experience being very intense with the higher doses within 30 seconds. It peaks within 2 to 5 minutes and is usually felt as only a mild intoxication within 20 to 30 minutes. I will quite likely feel like my normal self within an hour after the injection.

Regarding risks, the consent form was brief but honest:

The main effects of DMT are psychological and have been described above. These usually last less than 1 hour. Rarely, emotional reactions to these effects may last longer (i.e., 24 to 48 hours). I can stay at the Research Center as long as necessary to regain my equilibrium, including overnight if desired... DMT is physically safe. Mild to moderate brief increases in blood pressure and heart rate occur. ... There are no benefits to me personally as a result of participating in this research. However, the potential benefits are a greater understanding of the mechanisms of action of hallucinogenic agents.

- pp. 101- 103, DMT: Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman, M.D. (2001)

DMT, New Mexico School of Medicine, Strassman