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Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), also known as N,N-dimethyltryptamine, is a naturally occurring tryptamine and potent psychedelic drug, found not only in many plants, but also in trace amounts in the human body wherein its natural function is undetermined. Structurally, it is analogous to the neurotransmitter serotonin and other psychedelic tryptamines such as 5-MeO-DMT and 4-HO-DMT. DMT is created in small amounts by the human body during normal metabolism1 by the enzyme tryptamine-N-methyltransferase. Many cultures, indigenous and modern, ingest DMT as a psychedelic in extracted or synthesized forms. Pure DMT at room temperature is a clear or white to yellowish-red crystalline solid. DMT was first chemically synthesized in 1931
Several speculative and as yet untested hypotheses suggest that endogenous DMT, produced in the human brain, is involved in certain psychological and neurological states. As DMT is naturally produced in small amounts in the brains and other tissues of humans, and other mammals,11 some believe it plays a role in promoting the visual effects of natural dreaming, and also near-death experiences and other mystical states. A biochemical mechanism for this was proposed by the medical researcher J. C. Callaway, who suggested in 1988 that DMT might be connected with visual dream phenomena, where brain DMT levels are periodically elevated to induce visual dreaming and possibly other natural states of mind.12

Dr. Rick Strassman, while conducting DMT research in the 1990s at the University of New Mexico, advanced the theory that a massive release of DMT from the pineal gland prior to death or near death was the cause of the near death experience (NDE) phenomenon. Several of his test subjects reported NDE-like audio or visual hallucinations. His explanation for this was the possible lack of panic involved in the clinical setting and possible dosage differences between those administered and those encountered in actual NDE cases.

Several subjects also reported contact with ‘other beings’, alien like, insectoid or reptilian in nature, in highly advanced technological environments6 where the subjects were ‘carried’, ‘;probed’, ‘tested’, ‘manipulated’, ‘dismembered’, ‘taught’, ‘loved’ and even ‘raped’ by these ‘beings’. Those could be the same beings that some of the ancient cultures that consumed DMT rich beverages, like ayahuasca, considered their gods. Also, this leads to the idea that the alien abduction phenomenon could be produced by high levels of endogenous DMT in the human body, and that it might be a physiological condition that could pass genetically to the descendants of such people. (see Abduction phenomenon). Strassman noted, though, that the experience might be highly influenced by the actual user’s life, showing what the person needs, given their personal story of the moment, more than what is wanted, and also that the setting could play a partial role, too (ex: in a waking dream state).

In the 1950s, the endogenous production of psychoactive agents was considered to be a potential explanation for the hallucinatory symptoms of some psychiatric diseases as the transmethylation hypothesis.13 (see also adrenochrome). Unfortunately, this hypothesis does not account for the natural presence of endogenous DMT in otherwise normal humans, rats and other laboratory animals. The proposal by Dr. Callaway was, however, the first to suggest a useful function for the endogenous production of DMT: to facilitate the visual phenomenon of normal dreaming.

Ethical concerns do not allow for the testing of this hypothesis in humans, as the biological samples must come from the living human brain.

Writers on DMT include Terence McKenna, Jeremy Narby and Graham Hancock (in passages of Supernatural) though most scientists who study psychedelic drugs treat their writings with skepticism. McKenna writes of his DMT experiences with a decidedly less skeptical slant, often presuming that the drug’s “intoxication” is indicative of realms of consciousness equally as valid as waking-life if not more so. In his writings and speeches, he recounts encounters with entities he sometimes describes as “Self-Transforming Machine Elves” among equally colorful phrases. McKenna believed DMT to be a tool that could be used to enhance communication and allow for communication with other-worldly entities. Other users report visitation from external intelligences attempting to impart information. These Machine Elf experiences are said to be shared by many DMT users. From a researcher’s perspective, perhaps best known is Rick Strassman’s DMT: The Spirit Molecule (ISBN 0-89281-927-8);14 Strassman speculated that DMT is made in the pineal gland, largely because the necessary constituents (see methyltransferases) needed to make DMT are found in the pineal gland. —-Wikipedia

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