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Dimethyltryptamin, dimethyltryptamine, DMT,
nigerin, nigerina, nigerine (1946), AT,N-dimethyltryptamine,
3- [2-(dimethyl-amino)ethyl] -indole
Substance type: tryptamine (indole alkaloid)
R. H. F. Manske first created DMT as a synthetic
substance in the laboratory in 1931. It was not
until 1955 that it was isolated as a natural compound
in the seeds of Anadenanthera peregrina. It
is found in a great number of plants and also
occurs naturally in humans and other mammals
(see table, pages 853-854). N,N-DMT is closely
related to 5-MeO-DMT and psilocybin/psilocin.
N,N-DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are among the
psychedelics whose effects are short in duration.
They are not orallyRoute of administration in which the subject swallows a substance. effective in an isolated form (as
a salt or abase) because the MAOMonoamine Oxidase, an enzyme that catalyses the metabolism of many drugs (e.g., DMT, dopamine and serotonin). enzyme breaks
them down before they can pass through the
blood-brain barrier (cf. ayahuasca, f3-carbolines).
They reveal their awesome effects only when
injected by syringe (Strassman et al. 1994),
snuffed, or smoked. When N,N-DMT or 5-MeODMT
is injected intravenously, the effects last
some forty-five minutes; when the substance is
smoked or snuffed, the effects last only ten
minutes. Subjectively, however, those few minutes
may seem to have spanned centuries. People who
have had experiences with DMT unanimously
agree that it is easily the most powerful psychedelic
known (cf. McKenna 1992; Meyer 1992).
Some people have described DMT as "crystallized
consciousness." When DMT is smoked, it is said
that the "scent of enlightenment" fills the air. Only
"a few seconds after taking it, DMT acts like the
trumpets of Jericho upon the gates of perception"
(Kraemer 1995, 98). DMT experiences can be so
extraordinarily alien that most subjects find it
extremely difficult or even impossible to describe
them in words. Many people speak of contact with
strange beings (aliens, fairies, machine elves, et
cetera) (Bigwood and Ott 1977; Leary 1966;
McKenna 1992; Meyer 1992).
When pure DMT is smoked or vaporized and
inhaled, the effective dosage lies around 20 mg
(although amounts as high as 100 mg are
sometimes smoked). The dosage for ayahuasca
and ayahuasca analogs ranges from 50 to 100 mg.
When DMT is injected, the typical dose is 1 mg/kg
of body weight (Ott 1993,433*).
DMT is also produced in the human nervous
system, where it appears to serve an important
function as a neurotransmitter (Barker et al. 1981;
Callaway 1996; Siegel 1995b). Neurobiologists are
as yet uncertain about the role DMT might play in
the nervous system. Hyperventilating causes the
concentration of DMT in the lungs to increase
(Callaway 1996). One physician has reported that
the release of endogenous DMT is highest at the
moment of death. It is my opinion that this
chemical messenger is responsible for the ultimate
shamanistic ecstasy, for enlightenment, and for the
merging into the "clear light of death." An experiment
in which DMT was given to practicing
Buddhists found that the subjects had experiences
and visions that corresponded to the Buddhist
teachings (Strassman 1996).
DMT has clearly inspired numerous novels in
the fantasy and science-fiction genres. The novel
Kalimantan deals with the search for a fictitious
hallucinogenic drug called seribu aso. The descriptions
of the effects of this drug agree perfectly with
the descriptions of DMT trips (Shepard 1993).
Several novels, including the Valis trilogy of the
science-fiction master Philip K. Dick (1928-1982),
also appear to represent a literary attempt to understand
the hyperdimensionality of DMT experiences
(Dick 1981a, 1981b, 1982).
Commercial Forms and Regulations
DMT occurs as a free base, an HCL, and a
fumarate. Although the fumarate crystallizes out
easily, it contains only 600/0 of the pure substance.
DMT is classified as a Schedule I drug in the
United States and is a "narcotic drug in which
trafficking is not allowed" in Germany as well as inSwitzerland (Korner 1994,38*).
|Plants Containing DMT
(from Block 1994*; Smith 1977; Montgomery, pers. comm.; Ott 1993*; Schultes and Hofman 1980,
See also the entries for 5-MeO-DMT.
Arnold, O. H., and G. Hofman. 1957. Zur
Psychopathologie des Dimethyltryptamine.
Wiener Zeitschrift fur Nervenheilkunde 13:438-45.
Barker, S., J. Monti, and S. Christian. 1981. N,Ndimethyltryptamine:
hallucinogen. International Review of
Bigwood, Jeremy, and Jonathan Ott. 1977. DMT: The
fifteen minute trip. Head 11:56 ff.
Callaway, James. 1996. DMTs in the human brain. In
Yearbook for Ethnomedicine and the Study of
Consciousness (1995), 4:45-54. Berlin: VWB.
Dick, Philip K. 1981a. The divine invasion, New York:
---. 1981b. Valis. New York: Vintage Books.
---. 1982. The transmigration of Timothy Archer.
New York: Vintage Books.
Kraemer, Olaf. 1995. Die Trompeten Jerichos. Wiener
Lamparter, Daniel, and Adolf Dittrich. 1996. Intraindividuelle
Stabilitat von ABZ unter sensorischer
Deprivation, N,N-Dimethyltryptamin (DMT)
und Stickoxydul. In Jahrbuch des Europiiischen
Collegiums fur Bewufitseinsforschung (1995),
33-43. Berlin: VWB.
Leary, Timothy. 1966. Programmed communication
during experience with DMT. Psychedelic Review
Manske, R. H. F. 1931. A synthesis of the methyltryptamines
and some derivatives. Canadian
Journal ofResearch 5:592-600.
McKenna, Terence. 1992. Tryptamin hallucinogens
and consciousness. In Yearbook for Ethnomedicine
and the Study ofConsciousness (1992),1:133-48.
Meyer, Peter. 1992. Apparent communication with
discarnate entities induced by dimethyltryptamine
DMT. In Yearbook for Ethnomedicine and the Study
ofConsciousness (1992),1:149-74. Berlin: VWB.
Shepard, Lucius. 1993. Kalimantan. New York: Tom
Shulgin, Alexander T. 1976. Profiles of psychedelic
drugs. 1: DMT. Journal ofPsychedelic Drugs 8 (2):
Smith, Terence A. 1977. Tryptamine and related
compounds in plants. Phytochemistry 16:171-75.
Strassman, Rick J. 1996. Sitting for sessions: Dharma
and DMT research. Tricycle 6 (1): 81-88.
Strassman, Rick J., Clifford R. Qualls, Eberhard H.
Uhlenhuth, and Robert Kellner. 1994. Doseresponse
study of ~N-dimethyltryptaminin
humans. Archive of General Psychiatry 51:85-97,
Szara, S. 1. 1956. Dimethyltryptamin: Its metabolism
in man; the relation of its psychotic effect to theserotoninA monoamine neurotransmitter, biochemically derived from tryptophan, that is primarily found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, platelets, and central nervous system (CNS) of humans and animals. It is a well-known contributor to feelings of well-being. metabolism. Experientia 15 (6): 441-42.