If there was anywhere in our universe where science and spirituality come together it could very well be in DMT or Dimethyltryptamine. This naturally occurring compound is widespread throughout the plant kingdom. It occurs in trace amounts in mammals, including us humans where it functions as a neurotransmitter.
When ingested DMT acts as a psychedelic drug ranging from short-lived to powerful immersive experiences. Often people taking DMT describe a total loss of connection to conventional reality while visiting alien realms.
First synthesized in 1931 by the Canadian chemist Richard Manske but it’s discovery as a naturally occurring substance is generally credited to Brazilian Chemist Oswaldo Goncalves de Lima. He isolated it from the root bark of Mimosa Tenuflora or the key ingredient in Ayahuasca.
The first claimed detection of DMT in mammals was published in 1965. The study was strongly criticized until in 2001, surveys made in research articles indicated that the analytical methods were sound. While the industrialized world was figuring out DMT’s chemical structure, the indigenous populations of South America were using DMT for generations as a healing potion.
Ingesting DMT on it’s own does not cause hallucinogenic experiences; it has to be combined with an enzyme indolethylamine N-methyltransferase or INMT. Strangely enough the indigenous populations that regularly use ayahuasca discovered this enzyme in other naturally occurring plants, mixed them together to induce peak psychedelic effects.
Dr. Rick Strassman, while conducting DMT research in the 1990’s hypothesized that a massive release of DMT prior to death or near death was the cause of near death experiences. It has also been hypothesized that DMT may play a role in dreaming.
The fact that DMT is a proven chemical substance that exists naturally in the plant and animal kingdoms, and that it has been used for millennia as a healing and transformational elixir can only support the connection between our reality and other experiential realms.