What is DMT and its role in human consciousness? An in-depth look at the bizarre psychedelic drug known as The Spirit Molecule
Dimethyltryptamine (or DMT) is a psychedelic drug that can induce out of body or near death experiences, intense hallucinations and even apparent alien abductions. If you smoke it, you will appear to pass out for several minutes, where you’ll have euphoric insights into other dimensions. In the US, Dimethyltryptamine is classed as an illegal Schedule I drug.
Yet, many believe we produce DMT in our bodies naturally. What is this mysterious substance and how is it connected with dreams, death and OBEs? Let’s take a detailed look at the facts about ‘The Spirit Molecule’.
What is DMT?
DMT is a naturally occurring ‘tryptamine’.
Tryptamines are a group of substances found in nature that mimic the chemical structure of serotonin. As you may know, serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the human brain – and one that plays a very important role indeed. It’s job (which we don’t yet fully understand – research is on-going) inclues the regulation of mood, memory and sleep.
Other tryptamines include melatonin (the hormone responsible for sleep), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), bufotenin (psychedelic toad slime), LSD, and of couse DMT itself.
Where is DMT found?
The only thing we really know with 100% certainty is that humans have been taking DMT for several thousand years. In 1990, 2 mummified human bodies were dug up near the Matanza River in northwestern Argentina. The mummies were very well preserved, both being adorned with high quality woolen mantles. With them was buried a intricately engraved pipe, sculpted from puma bone. When lab tested and carbon dated it became evident the pipe had been used to smoke Anadenanthera colubrina var. cebil – a South American plant containing DMT. The pipe was dated to 2130BC!
The Peruvians were reported to be carrying out the Ayahuasca ceremony from as early as the 16th century, when Spanish and Portuguese missionaries made their first encounters with the native tribes. The practice of taking DMT – in some form or another – has then presumably been going on in South America consistently since at least 2130BC (and persists to this day). Ayahuasca uses a brewed preparation of two or more plants, which when imbibed from the ceremonial cup invokes visionary religious experiences. The practice has become increasingly popular in the last decade, with ‘Ayshuca Tourism’ on the rise and now officially ‘a thing’.
DMT is found in over 60 different plants, either in the bark, roots, leaves or flowers. In fact, Terence McKenna has referred to DMT as “the commonest hallucinogen in all of nature”.
Now these traditional methods of taking DMT could be considered as relatively ‘gentle’. Although, the word gentle is probably a bad choice for a shamanic ritutal that often involve severe vomiting (otherwise known as ‘purging’). However, since DMT was first synthesised in the lab in 1931, people have been able to inject, snort or smoke an extract to experience effects many times more potent that the traditional preparations made from leaves.