Let’s rewind back to 2012 (I think) when I first started learning about psychedelics, specifically Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). There was a fascinating documentary on YouTube called DMT: The Spirit Molecule, so if you want to take a deeper dive into how DMT works I’d highly recommend you go check that out. Anyhow, I’ve discussed the stormy relationship I had with drugs in a previous post, 9 Important Life Lessons I Learned From Surviving My 20’s, so it should come as no surprise that experimenting with DMT would become more than just a curiosity, after watching the documentary.
If you’ve never heard of this particular psychedelic let me give you a little background. DMT is an intense, naturally occurring psychedelic that’s also found endogenously, in the human body. You may have heard about ayahuasca, the Amazonian brew that has become pretty popular in spiritual circles as a healing medicine and has, in fact, been used among indigenous tribes all over the world for thousands of years. Ayahuasca is made from a combination of ingredients. One of them is the shrub Psychotria viridis, containing the primary psychoactive compound – you guessed it – DMT. Amazonian tribes have been using naturally derived psychotropic substances for thousands of years for both medicinal and spiritual purposes. Ayahuasca brews made from plant substances containing DMT are just one such example.
DMT is the active psychedelic chemical compound that is responsible for the trip you experience when you use it. You can either smoke pure DMT or ingest it orally through a brew, such as ayahuasca. These ingestion methods offer a dramatically different experience. Smoking DMT usually takes you on an intense cosmic roller coaster ride that’s not for the faint-hearted, but it doesn’t last longer than ten minutes or so. Whereas drinking the ayahuasca brew takes you on a wild, 8-hour journey into yourself that will have you crying, laughing, and even shitting your pants!
Drug or Medicine?
I realize that many people still hold the perception that “drugs are bad,” but I can’t help wondering how their perspective would change if they saw beyond the ridiculous classification of illegality that most psychedelic substances are assigned. By making a substance illegal, a government not only takes away the sovereignty we all have over our own bodies, depriving us of our rights to alter our consciousness in whatever way we choose, but also closes the doors to scientific investigation into potentially ground-breaking therapeutic applications.
Fortunately, times are changing. Institutions like the Johns Hopkins Psychedelic Research Unit and MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies, have produced notable clinical evidence of the undeniable therapeutic effects of drugs like MDMA (also known as ecstasy), ketamine, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), and psilocybin (the active compound in magic mushrooms).
MAPS recently completed the first North American observational study of the safety and long-term effectiveness of using ayahuasca as a treatment for addiction and dependence. The paper describing the results of the study was published in June 2013 in Current Drug Abuse Reviews. The conclusions were as follows: This form of ayahuasca-assisted therapy appears to be associated with statistically significant improvements in several factors related to problematic substance use among a rural aboriginal population. These findings suggest that participants may have experienced positive psychological and behavioral changes in response to this therapeutic approach.
Where Does DMT Come From?
By now, you’re probably wondering where this interesting substance originates. Was DMT discovered by accident through endless experimentation in the underground lab of some mad scientist? Or is this just another one of Nature’s consciousness-altering substances that humans have stumbled upon?
The ayahuasca brew, in which DMT is administered orally, has been used by the indigenous tribes of the Amazon in Peru and other South American countries for thousands of years. The brew requires two different components for the psychedelic effects to occur. You need both a certain vine (Banisteriopsis caapi), which has a monoamine oxidase-inhibiting (MAOI) action, and a specific leaf (Psychotria viridis or Diplopterys cabrerana), which requires the vine’s MAOI action to make the dimethyltryptamine (DMT) orally active. This is because the enzymes in your stomach would break down the leaf extract without any effect. The vine works with the leaf to ensure the DMT get’s absorbed as it passes through your digestive system, and therefore takes much more time to breakdown in the body, producing a much longer but less intense experience.
It’s the synergy between these two plants that has researchers puzzled. How does one come to the understanding that these two specific plants work together in such a unique way!? I have no answer to that question.
When you smoke pure crystalline DMT powder, typically 0.1 grams, the molecules become airborne and get absorbed by the mucosal lining of your lungs. As you inhale the smoke, the DMT becomes rapidly available in your bloodstream without the need to pass through your digestive system. This is the reason why the trip is so intense, but doesn’t last as long as the ayahuasca brew.
It’s also important to note that DMT occurs naturally in many plants, animals, and humans. It’s endogenous, meaning it’s made within the human body. So, it’s more than just a natural plant psychedelic – it’s in us. It has been found in large quantities in the cerebrospinal fluid, and although many scientists speculate that production originates in the pineal gland, subsequent studies have yet to prove exactly where the DMT is produced by our bodies.
The Preparation Begins
After mulling over all the information I could get my hands on, I knew I had to try this substance for myself. Not a decision I took lightly. I knew this was a powerful psychedelic and gave it the reverence and respect it deserved. I opted to smoke pure DMT as I didn’t feel ready to embark on an 8-hour journey into the unknown via the ayahuasca brew.
I started by writing in my journal to set a clear intention for the experience ahead. It was certainly not my intention to mess around with this substance to “get high.” Instead, I was deeply curious about the knowledge and insight I could gain. I cleared my mind of any doubts, fears or negative thoughts and entered the room in which I was to conduct my DMT experiment!
Your mindset and the physical setting play a huge role in any psychedelic experience. This encompasses the people you’re with, the location you’re in and any music you choose to play. Although I wasn’t in the Amazon, I wanted to ritualize the process as much as possible to pay homage to those who discovered this substance. I had all my brothers with me in a cozy, warm bedroom, with relaxing electronic music in the background.
We prepared and weighed out the correct dosage of the pure DMT powder in-line with the numerous online reports, erring on the side of caution. Then all that was left was to carefully load up a glass pipe, light it up, inhale, and hold as much of the smoke in for as long as possible. This was, of course, easier said than done. The smoke had a strange chemical taste, and as it hit my throat, the urge to cough welled up inside of me. Even though my heartbeat was racing, I held it together. What happened next was mind-blowing!
The Trip Begins
I’m going to preface this next part by saying how incredibly difficult it is to try to explain the unexplainable. There are really no words to fully describe what actually happened. The experience goes beyond language. With that being said, I’m going to try my best to describe my experience.
Almost immediately, the room around me started to break into the most fantastically vivid geometric shapes and colours you could possibly imagine. My eyes closed and I relaxed back on the bed, while I literally journeyed into another world.
I felt as if I was hurtling through space at the speed of light. A constantly changing stream of vivid imagery flashed before my closed eyes with a frequency and intensity that was almost incomprehensible.
I became very aware of a voice telling me to “let go,” and at that moment I noticed how tense my body was. So I relaxed, and as soon as I did, the flow of imagery and information increased. It was as if the tension in my body was like a rock, blocking the flow of a river. Once removed, the river was restored back to its natural ferocity.
One of the things that was hard to ignore was the sensation that I was downloading information. It was like I was receiving all the secrets of the universe, but it happened so rapidly that it was impossible for me to comprehend. Perhaps this information has integrated itself into my existence, over time, and may have been partly responsible for the major shifts that have happened in my life since then.
The one thing that stood out from everything else was the message and feeling that everything is love. My heart was overflowing with an intense love for myself and everyone and everything around me. I didn’t just realize this, intellectually, but actually experienced the connection that we all have to all things. It became obvious to me that the vibration or frequency of love was the foundation of our universe!
I could see clearly that we are unique individuations of consciousness experiencing life through these amazing biological computers that we call our bodies. After we decide to leave our bodies, our soul-essence or consciousness will continue. Perhaps we all get transported to the realm I visited, which seemed familiar to me, as if I had been there before. Whatever happens after we die, I now know that the essence of who we are will continue indefinitely, which has given me a new perspective on my own mortality.
Anyhow, as the intensity of the experience started to wane, I re-grounded myself firmly back into this reality. As I opened my eyes, I noticed everything in the room had a sparkle to it, like the light reflecting off raindrops, hinting at the magic I had just witnessed. I felt so much love for all my brothers, whom I got to share this life-changing experience with. It felt more like I was remembering the truth of who I am, as if this was my natural state before all the bullshit had piled up on top.
If you’re not already aware, DMT is a class A or schedule 1 drug and is illegal in most countries around the world. Although I don’t agree with this classification and hope to see this substance decriminalized, the maximum penalty for possession is seven years in jail and/or an unlimited fine, here in the UK. Therefore, I’m not advocating that you break the law to experiment with this substance. The ayahuasca brew, however, is legal in Peru and Costa Rica, so if this is something you feel you’re ready for, then that’s where you want to go.
Anyhow, this was the first time I had tried such a powerful psychedelic and the experience left a lasting impression upon me. Even though I had been reading books and watching documentaries about the energetic and spiritual nature of ourselves and the world we live in, I hadn’t really experienced, on a visceral level, that plane of existence. This DMT trip affirmed in my mind, without any doubt, that there are different dimensions and energetic layers beyond our physical reality, which we can visit and exist in. The theory that our soul continues after we die now seems like a realistic possibility. Perhaps this is where we go when we die, but I guess none of us will really ever know until after we die. Each of us must open that door for ourselves.