N,N-Dimethyltryptamine

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These ratings are my subjective opinion. It is based on years of first-hand experience with the substances and being in the psychedelic community. (Hover to see details)

My Personal Experience

DMT is both a consumable psychedelic drug and a neurotransmitter. These are both empirically validated and subjectively experienced by those interested enough to go there. DMT exists everywhere in nature, from plants to animals to humans, it's only a few enzymatic steps away from serotonin and is made from the same basic compounds. Again, these truths are both objective facts and experientially validated by the user (see below for some facts or watch one of my 2-hour presentations on DMT).

 

DMT feels like home, but not the home your body lives in. DMT teaches us that all of perception is nonphysical. Earth and humanity are constructs of organized self-limitation. Consciousness came long before carbon-based life-forms and the world where consciousness lives is far bigger and more complex than anyone can imagine. Pure consciousness is also pure intelligence, the ultimate truth-entity. All of creation is coded from the vibrations of consciousness and DMT is the molecular-key that unlocks the brain-portal from the physical world.

 

What a crazy thing to say, I know, but it literally grows on trees and is created in your brain.

I've smoked DMT a couple dozen times and I became increasingly turned off by it as a therapeutic drug. To me, and many other psychonauts, it is the hardest psychedelic to integrate. I think it's because it's too pure a psychedelic. I think it's where you go when you die. I think when you don't need your body anymore, your consciousness jumps through the DMT portal back to where it came from. I've even met people that were suicidal and found solace in DMT. It makes the human body and all physical manifestation irrelevant.

Regardless, DMT is undeniably important. Psilocybin, for example, is essentially a mycelial vehicle for DMT and works wonderfully as an integration tool. Also, any activity that expands your consciousness is likely to be involved in your body's own DMT production. Also, I do believe LSD is the counterpart to DMT and that the two together form the molecular vortex of creation (a long tangent explored another time).

Smoking DMT is a bit like smoking serotonin (if that were possible). It's already made in your brain when it needs to be, so taking in much larger amounts than your body needs could have deleterious effects on your body's own production or just overall chemical balancing.

I have seen people overcoming crippling existentialism and illness with DMT, though. It has powerful neuroplasticity and ego-dissolving effects that on their own can offer relief for a variety of common detriments. I have also seen DMT CAUSE existentialism and illness, though. To a stubborn non-believer with zero knowledge of integration, DMT can rapidly destabilize a person's sense of self, social interaction, and grasp on reality. This is no joke and giving random people DMT is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous. Having the ability to translate that experience into a meaningful part of your normal existence is vital to using DMT safely. Like I said, DMT is the hardest to integrate and for good reason.

The Facts

This chemical compound is one of the most potent of all psychedelics and is also prolific in nature, so much so it agreed upon that humans and other animals can create their own DMT [26]–[29]. However, it is still up for debate how much DMT is created and how it is used [29]. Strassman and colleagues have stated the key enzymes for its production is supplied in the both the pineal gland and the retina, which may say something about the intense visionary nature of experiences reported by test subjects [27]. More recently, it was proven that many other parts of the mammalian brain are capable of producing the necessary enzymes to synthesize the surprisingly simple molecule, N,N-DMT.

The DMT experience is particularly dependent on the method of induction. In extracted forms, it is intravenously injected or smoked and the user immediately feels the effects for about 15-30 minutes. In brewed forms of ayahuasca combined with plants containing mono-amine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), it becomes orally active and lasts for several hours [9], [25], [30]. In early clinical trials of intravenous DMT, users reported seeing bright moving colors, a loss of control, dissociation, and alternating between feeling euphoria and anxiety [31][32].

Around the 2-minute mark the drug reaches its full potential and in high enough doses the user experiences “a sense of tremendous acceleration and psychic and somatic tension,” then totally dissociates out of waking state consciousness into a world of extremely complex visions. This lasts for only about 20 minutes before gradually returning the traveler to normal waking consciousness [27].

Dr. Rick Strassman and colleagues oversaw dozens of these clinical tests with intravenous DMT, recording detailed accounts of the experiences. According to them, the nature of this dissociated vision-state seems to feel like a world totally autonomous from dreams and waking life, but somehow more real, unlike a hallucination [27].

These researchers reported a similar side-effect profile to other classical psychedelics: minor increase in blood pressure, heart rate, pupil dilation, and body temperature. It should be noted that the volunteers getting injected with DMT were all experienced psychedelic users already, so side-effects in the general population are likely to be further-reaching and less predictable [27], [31]–[34].

Nonetheless, compared to the uncanny psychological and visual effects of DMT, this drug can be administered with relatively few physical risks. Furthermore, because of the unique nature of its tolerance in the body, the low side-effect profile contributes to another unique property among the classical psychedelics, an absence of psychological tolerance [27], [34], [35].

Gallimore and colleagues discovered that as the minor physical side effects like blood pressure and pupil dilation do build a tolerance and, thus diminish across repeated doses, the intense visionary and psychological experience does not. This phenomenon is very unusual to classical psychedelics, especially compared to the fast-building tolerance of LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. Gallimore and colleagues took advantage of this characteristic and calculated how to successfully infuse DMT in the blood using target-controlled intravenous infusion modeling, the same method used to keep surgery patients unconscious with anesthetics. This would allow for subjects to remain in the dissociated visionary state indefinitely with ease [27], [34]. The implications of this discovery have only begun to be speculated about, but it is safe to say there is something profoundly significant about the human body being capable of this feat.

References

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[12]      R. R. Griffiths et al., “Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial,” J. Psychopharmacol., vol. 30, no. 12, pp. 1181–1197, 2016.

[13]      S. Grof, LSD Psychotherapy. 2001.

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[17]      M. Kaelen et al., “LSD modulates music-induced imagery via changes in parahippocampal connectivity,” Eur. Neuropsychopharmacol., vol. 26, no. 7, pp. 1099–1109, 2016.

[18]      E. Tagliazucchi et al., “Increased Global Functional Connectivity Correlates with LSD-Induced Ego Dissolution,” Curr. Biol., vol. 26, no. 8, pp. 1043–1050, 2016.

[19]      C. Ly et al., “Psychedelics Promote Structural and Functional Neural Plasticity.,” Cell Rep., vol. 23, no. 11, pp. 3170–3182, Jun. 2018.

[20]      R. G. Dos Santos, F. M. Balthazar, J. C. Bouso, and J. E. C. Hallak, “The current state of research on ayahuasca: A systematic review of human studies assessing psychiatric symptoms, neuropsychological functioning, and neuroimaging,” J. Psychopharmacol., vol. 30, no. 12, pp. 1230–1247, 2016.

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[25]      F. Palhano-Fontes et al., “The Psychedelic State Induced by Ayahuasca Modulates the Activity and Connectivity of the Default Mode Network,” PLoS One, vol. 10, no. 2, p. e0118143, Feb. 2015.

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[27]      A. R. Gallimore, R. J. Strassman, and C. Surratt, “A Model for the Application of Target-Controlled Intravenous Infusion for a Prolonged Immersive DMT Psychedelic Experience,” vol. 7, no. July, pp. 1–11, 2016.

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[31]      R. J. Strassman and C. R. Qualls, “Dose-response study of N,N-dimethyltryptamine in humans. I. Neuroendocrine, autonomic, and cardiovascular effects.,” Arch. Gen. Psychiatry, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 85–97, Feb. 1994.

[32]      R. J. Strassman, C. R. Qualls, E. H. Uhlenhuth, and R. Kellner, “Dose-response study of N,N-dimethyltryptamine in humans. II. Subjective effects and preliminary results of a new rating scale.,” Arch. Gen. Psychiatry, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 98–108, Feb. 1994.

[33]      R. J. Strassman, “Adverse reactions to psychedelic drugs. A review of the literature.,” J. Nerv. Ment. Dis., vol. 172, no. 10, pp. 577–95, Oct. 1984.

[34]      R. J. Strassman, C. R. Qualls, and L. M. Berg, “Differential tolerance to biological and subjective effects of four closely spaced doses of N,N-dimethyltryptamine in humans,” Biol. Psychiatry, vol. 39, no. 9, pp. 784–795, May 1996.

[35]      R. J. Strassman, “Human psychopharmacology of N,N-dimethyltryptamine.,” Behav. Brain Res., vol. 73, no. 1–2, pp. 121–4, 1996.