Here’s an interesting question: Why do our bodies and the bodies of other mammals produce N and N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a powerful drug also found throughout the plant kingdom? The answer, perhaps disappointing, is that we still don’t know. According to the authors of a new review in Journal of PsychopharmacologyAnd the1DMT‘s Cause of existence – in fact whether or not it is relevant to mammalian physiology – is a subject of 60-year-old debate that remains unsettled to this day.
Rather than paraphrasing the entire history, which the review authors assert began in 1961 with a claim in the journal Sciences This is me DMT can underlie mental illness,2 Let’s jump back to 2001. When Rick Strassman’s historical book DMT: soul molecule It was published that year, DMT It was still a niche subject matter. In 2001, there were only six research papers across the full body of peer-reviewed scientific literature as far as the compound was mentioned – five of them, including a co-authorship by Strassmann,3 She was concerned with research methods and pharmacology. (The sixth study was an early and now widely cited study outside Europe on the subjective effects of the psychedelic drink ayahuasca, which contains DMT.4)
In the United States, Strassmann studies in the 1990s on the strangely powerful effects of Pure DMT It was administered intravenously to healthy human volunteers at the University of New Mexico and represented the first government-approved research into psychedelic drugs in more than two decades. But even then, his book, inspired by these groundbreaking studies, reignited the debate about the role of the subjective self. DMT in humans by offering some provocative theories involving the pineal gland, which some consider the “third eye” or the seat of the soul.5
In particular, Strassmann assumed that DMT It is born in the pineal gland – a small gland the size of a grain of rice deep within the brain that produces melatonin, a structural analogue of DMT It plays a major role in near-death and similar mystical experiences. many dozens of DMT The flights cataloged in Strassmann’s studies include features also common to previously reported NDEs.
Second thoughts about the third eye
after posting DMT: soul molecule (And after that, a . file was released documentary Co-produced by Strassman and starring Joe Rogan), this line of reasoning has become a “hot topic in countercultural pseudoscience,” write the new review’s authors, both from Spain. ice Foundation (International Center for Ethnic Education, Research and Services). But they then set out to throw cold water on Strassmann’s theory by citing research led by another major figure in psychedelics, David Nichols, who published a paper in 20186 Uncover the many difficulties experienced by the pineal gland [would] You must face in order to produce full psychoactive amounts of DMT In the few seconds or minutes before death.”
Complicating matters further, the review authors also refer to the 2019 study in temper nature7 that documented extracellular doubling DMT Levels in the visual cortex of rats after experimentally induced cardiac arrest–with or without an intact pineal gland–suggesting a link between stressful situations and intrinsic DMTbut not the pineal gland.
Otherwise, why is this mysterious molecule produced in the mammalian body at such low levels? “I have suggested that DMT It is a neurotransmitter, a neuromodulator, a neurohormone, and that it serves a protective function in peripheral tissues,” write the authors, citing evidence going back to the 1970s through the 2000s. However, they add, citing Nichols again, “the authors defend Others it is unlikely that DMT Can play any natural role in concentrations [at which] was discovered.”
In the end, the review authors appear to be closer to Strassman than Nichols. They concluded that it is “highly likely” to be autogenous DMT It plays a role in some aspects of mammalian physiology – perhaps related to consciousness or dreaming, they speculate – and they assert it is time to prove it.
Stream DMT Search
Despite popular interest and prolonged debate about the function of subjectivity DMT, current research into the compound is focused on its use as a psychedelic drug, either as a component of ayahuasca or on its own, usually smoked or vaporized. But the two research objectives should not be isolated. After all, it was the study of cannabis that led to the discovery (and naming of) endocannabinoids and the broader endocannabinoid system, which in turn continues to inform the use of cannabis and hemp for therapeutic purposes.
Or in another example given by the authors, opioids helped us better understand pain, which in turn can help us use opioids better. Similarly, they wrote, “Our knowledge of psychedelic drugs will improve greatly if we understand the natural mechanisms with which they interact.”
To take things a step further for both cannabis and DMTThey write, if the internal counterparts of Schedule 1 substances are “at the heart of important aspects of the human universe,” that is reason enough to reconsider our legal, political, and philosophical views on these drugs.
Nate Seltenrich, a freelance science journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area, covers a wide range of topics including environmental health, neuroscience, and pharmacology. Copyright, Project Convention on Biological Diversity. It may not be reprinted without permission.