Motivation and emotion/Book/2020/DMT and spirituality
How can DMT facilitate spiritual experiences?
Overview[edit | edit source]
There is much we do not yet know about the human brain, the universe, and even the nature of reality. Scientific domains have contributed much to our knowledge of such things, however there are some who believe there is a spiritual, mystic element to existence which science cannot yet explain. Religion, meditation, and ritualistic practices are some of the ways in which people seek to get in touch with their spiritual, ethereal side. Another is psychedelic drug use. DMT, or N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, is one of the more intense and mysterious psychedelic drugs. There is much we do not know about this substance, however this article will explain some of what we do know about this drug, its connection to spiritual experiences, and beneficial ways this can be utilised.
- Found widely in nature
DMT is taken commonly for spiritual exploration and has been coined as 'The Spirit Molecule' (2001) by many researchers and research subjects. In and of itself, it is said that DMT has no beneficial effects. The alleged benefit is said to be achieved by taking the substance within appropriate contexts. Psychedelic experts have stated that there are three factors in which the substance exerts its effects. They could be seen as 'the 3'S: Set, Setting and Substance. Set is the person engaging in taking the substance, it includes one's past history, genetics, feelings, live history etc. Set is basically one's brain and physiology. Setting is what is in the person's immediate surroundings and environment, this includes other people. Substance is the actual substance itself. It's crucial to that take into consideration the use and meaning of the word 'drug' including the surrounding circumstances in which a person takes the substance. The substance may be referred to by many names, depending on the context, perspective and interpretation. DMT can be called a drug, as well as a substance, molecule, compound, agent, entheogen, medicine, sacrament etc. This goes hand in hand with set and setting.
What is DMT?[edit | edit source]
- DMT, or N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, is a potent psychedelic drug.
- Taken mostly for spiritual exploration including by ancient cultures for thousands of years (Griffiths et al., 2019)
- Pure DMT was first synthesised in 1931 but not used as an hallucinogen until 1956 (Barker, 2018)
Where is DMT found?[edit | edit source]
- found in many plants and animals around the world (Rodrigues et al., 2019)
- exists naturally in the human body (Barker et al., 2012)
- In all human bodies and throughout the plant and animal kingdom. DMT is endogenous and is a compound made within the body
How is DMT taken?[edit | edit source]
- Cannot be taken orally unless combined with a MAOI as the body breaks it down
- Most commonly smoked. See figure 1.
- Can be injected
Is DMT dangerous?[edit | edit source]
Short-term effects of DMT[edit | edit source]
Subjective effects[edit | edit source]
Physiological effects[edit | edit source]
- DMT acts on serotonergic system (Barker, 2018)
- Much remains unknown as to mechanism of action
Spiritual experiences[edit | edit source]
Entities[edit | edit source]
- survey revealed many DMT users report encountering a loving, benevolent entity who can communicate with them telepathically. More than half of those who were atheist before this encounter are no longer atheist afterwards (Davis et al., 2020).
Empathy, unity, and death[edit | edit source]
- consumption of DMT positively correlated with feelings of connectedness with nature and others, emulating a near-death experience (Timmermann et al., 2018)
Lasting effects[edit | edit source]
Depression[edit | edit source]
Anxiety[edit | edit source]
- Evidence in animal models that demonstrate a reduction in anxiety levels after DMT is consumed (Cameron et al., 2019)
Addiction[edit | edit source]
- There is evidence for DMT reducing substance addiction (Rodrigues et al., 2019)
Therapeutic potential[edit | edit source]
- Shorter acting than other psychedelics (30 min vs 7-8 hours) so may be of more practical use to clients (Cozzi, 2020).
Conclusion[edit | edit source]
Important points about this section:
- This is arguably the most important section.
- What is the answer to the question in the sub-title (based on psychological theory and research)?
- What are the practical, take-home messages?
See also[edit | edit source]
- LSD and emotion (Book chapter, 2017)
- Psilocybin and emotion (Book chapter, 2019)
- Psychedelic drugs and emotion (Book chapter, 2019)
References[edit | edit source]
Barker, S. A., McIlhenny, E. H., & Strassman, R. (2012). A critical review of reports of endogenous psychedelic N, N‐dimethyltryptamines in humans: 1955–2010. Drug testing and analysis, 4(7-8), 617-635.
Cozzi, N. V., & Daley, P. F. (2020). Synthesis and characterization of high‐purity N, N‐dimethyltryptamine hemifumarate for human clinical trials. Drug Testing and Analysis.
Davis, A. K., Clifton, J. M., Weaver, E. G., Hurwitz, E. S., Johnson, M. W., & Griffiths, R. R. (2020). Survey of entity encounter experiences occasioned by inhaled N, N-dimethyltryptamine: Phenomenology, interpretation, and enduring effects. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 0269881120916143.
Rodrigues, A. V., Almeida, F. J., & Vieira-Coelho, M. A. (2019). Dimethyltryptamine: endogenous role and therapeutic potential. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 51(4), 299-310.
Strassman, R. (2001). DMT: The spirit molecule: A doctor's revolutionary research into the biology of near-death and mystical experiences. Park Street Press.
[edit | edit source]
- Ted Talk: DMT, life after death, consciousness - Graham Hancock
- TED Talk: The future of psychedelic assisted psychotherapy - Rick Doblin
- Strassman, R. (2001). Chapter 1: Psychedelic Drugs: Science and Society. DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Out-of-Body, Near-Death, and Mystical Experiences. (pp. xvi-xvii, 29-30) Park Street Press.
- Strassman, R. (2001). DMT: The spirit molecule: A doctor's revolutionary research into the biology of near-death and mystical experiences. Park Street Press. pages 42, 48