Malin Uthaug

Academic, Scientist

Dr. Malin Uthaug is a postdoctoral psychedelic researcher at Imperial College London. She has worked at Imperial since December 2019, after graduating with her Ph.D. in Psychology from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. She also attended Maastricht for her Master’s in Psychology with concentrations in health and social psychology. Dr. Uthaug earned a B.S. in Psychology from SUNY Empire State in 2016.

During her graduate studies, Dr. Uthaug investigated the sub-acute and long-term mental health effects of ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT. Her dissertation, The Exploration of Naturalistically Used Ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT; An assessment of their respective Sub-acute and Long-term effects on Mental Health Related Variables, is available in book form via Amazon. Dr. Uthaug spent the better part of 2017 conducting research on naturalistic use of ayahuasca for her Master’s thesis, The Long-term Effects of Ayahuasca on Affect and Creative Thinking, which she did under the supervision of Dr. Jordi Riba and Dr. Jan Ramaekers. Dr. Uthaug also launched and ran a life coaching project entitled Love and Gratitude, through which she shared information about positive psychology, transpersonal psychology, psychedelics, and “personal, social, and global coherence.” 

5-MeO-DMT and ayahuasca have been the main foci of Dr. Uthaug’s psychedelic research. Her work has investigated the effects of a single dose of vaporized 5-MeO-DMT from Bufo alvarius toad secretions1 and the effects of synthetic 5-MeO-DMT, both vaporized and intramuscularly injected.2,3 Vaporized synthetic 5-MeO-DMT was found to reduce depressive symptoms, increase cortisol levels, reduce levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) (an inflammatory biomarker) and increase mindfulness ratings of non-judgment.2 Dr. Uthaug told PsyPost: “This study illustrates for the first time the immunomodulatory potential of 5-MeO-DMT, alongside the replications of previous findings of improvement of affect as well as mindfulness related capacities after use in a naturalistic setting.”

Her study comparing vaporization versus intramuscular injection influenced Dr. Alexander Sherwood’s decision to develop a succinate salt of 5-MeO-DMT for research purposes. A Psychedelic Science Review article covered the synthesis by Sherwood’s team. 

Dr. Uthaug has also led two studies on ayahuasca’s effects: the first explored how consumption of the brew influenced users’ affect and cognition style and their relationship to users’ experience of ego dissolution;4 the second examined how the set and setting around ayahuasca consumption affect the mental health of group retreat participants.5

Other studies by Dr. Uthaug have investigated the mental impacts of psilocybin6 and mescaline.7

Dr. Uthaug co-founded the Norwegian Association for Psychedelic Science (Norsk Forening for Psykedelisk Vitenskap [NFPV]) and is a Scientific Advisor at Entheon, a biotechnology company focused on DMT-based addiction treatment. She is also an editor for the Journal of Psychedelics Studies, and a board member of the Psychedelics Today podcast. 

Dr. Uthaug has presented her research at ICPR 2020, Breaking Convention 2019, and MIND Foundation’s Insight Conference in 2019. She appeared as a guest on a Psychedelics Today podcast episode in 2018.

More information about Dr. Uthaug’s work can be found on her ResearchGate profile.

  1. Uthaug MV, Lancelotta R,, van Oorsouw K, et al. A single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in a naturalistic setting is related to sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capacities, and a decrement of psychopathological symptoms. Psychopharmacology. 2019;236:2653–2666.
  2. Uthaug MV, Lancelotta R, Szabo A, et al. Prospective examination of synthetic 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine inhalation: effects on salivary IL-6, cortisol levels, affect, and non-judgment. Psychopharmacology. 2020;237:773–785.
  3. Uthaug MV, Lancelotta R, Ortiz Bernal AM, Davis AK, Ramaekers JG. A comparison of reactivation experiences following vaporization and intramuscular injection (IM) of synthetic 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in a naturalistic setting. Journal of Psychedelic Studies. 2020;2(4):1-10. doi:10.1556/2054.2020.00123
  4. Uthaug MV, van Oorsouw K, Kuypers KPC, et al. Sub-acute and long-term effects of ayahuasca on affect and cognitive thinking style and their association with ego dissolution. Psychopharmacology. 2018;235:2979-2989.
  5. Uthaug MV, Mason NL, Toennes SW, et al. A placebo-controlled study of the effects of ayahuasca, set and setting on mental health of participants in ayahuasca group retreats. Psychopharmacology. 2021.
  6. Mason NL, Mischler E, Uthaug MV, Kuypers KPC. Sub-Acute Effects of Psilocybin on Empathy, Creative Thinking, and Subjective Well-Being. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 2019;51:123-134.
  7. Agin-Liebes G, Haas TF, Lancelotta R, Uthaug MV, Ramaekers JG, Davis AK. Naturalistic Use of Mescaline Is Associated with Self-Reported Psychiatric Improvements and Enduring Positive Life Changes. ACS pharmacology & translational science. 2021;4:543-552.