One of the more common explanations is that DMT is that it sends our minds into alternate dimensions where we have contact with hyper-dimensional extraterrestrial intelligences. Another explanation is that it transports souls into transcendental spiritual realms where they encounter disembodied spirits, angels, demons, gods and goddesses. In a neuro-biological model, the states of consciousness and their contents are hallucinations produced by neurochemical transmissions and cross-activated regions of the brain. The visions of alternate worlds and encounters with strange beings may be the result of the same mechanism in sleep paralysis where people are awake while dreaming and feel visited by a disturbing presence.
Another alternative is to consider DMT experiences within the context of a Simulated Universe. In this approach, somehow the chemical acts as a kind of molecular code that allows people to exit our simulated universe. The parallels with the movie the Matrix are obvious but the domain of existence that people enter into are far more complex, beautiful and interesting than the gritty dystopian world in the movie.
DMT works by blocking the action of serotonin in the brain.
Tryptamines refer to a broad class of classical or serotonergic hallucinogens. Serotonergic hallucinogens are drugs that affect serotonin, which is a substance that acts as a neurotransmitter and carries signals throughout your body.
Serotonin regulates mood, digestion, sleep, and other important bodily functions. When serotonin levels in your body are too little or too high, it can negatively affect your mental and physical health.
DMT acts as a non-selective agonist at most or all serotonin receptors, specifically at the 5-ht2a receptor.
Stimulation of this receptor may help induce the hallucinogenic effects of DMT. At the same time, the serotonin produced inhibits both dopamine and adrenaline.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in neurological and physiological functions.
Dopamine plays a role in the brain’s “reward center” and impacts functions such as; memory, movement, mood, attention, and others.
DMT is everywhere
One interesting factoid about DMT is that its in so many different lifeforms on earth. It’s one of the most basic chemical elements of many lifeforms. For instance, common citrus trees, such as lemons and oranges, contain DMT. The reason why you don’t enter a kaleidoscopic time-space warp when drinking orange juice is because of an enzyme in your stomach that breaks-down DMT before it can get to your bloodstream. The powerful ayahuasca vine of the Amazon rainforest has a special molecule in it that enables the DMT to enter your blood.
DMT works similarly to antidepressants, targeting the serotonin receptors in the brain.
Benefits of DMT
- DMT has anxiolytic or anti-anxiety effects on the brain
- It grows new brain cells in the hippocampus (which is an area of the brain important for memory and imagination).
- Increase in well-being and life satisfaction.
- Personal meaning and spiritual significance.
- DMT induces neuroplasticity.
- Generate enduring positive brain changes.
- Suppressing activity in the Default Mode Network (which has been linked to the negative thinking patterns typically seen in depression)
The DMT trip: What to expect?
Smoking DMT provides for a relatively short, but extremely intense trip. We say ‘relatively’ because, possibly unlike with any other psychedelic, time seems to completely dissolve in the DMT realm, giving the feeling of an endless visit to an infinite astral plain with eternal entities residing in it. Basically, everything contained within the DMT trip feels entirely grand and over-the-top.
The realms you can gain access to appear hyperdimensional, with intricate morphing patterns adorning the walls which stretch into eternity, unbridled otherworldly flora covering the extremely lush and mesmerizing landscapes, and hyper-advanced structures and vessels dwarfing in beauty and complexity anything you ever may have tried to imagine beforehand. And, there somewhere, or everywhere… the entities.
There are vastly different accounts on what these entities look like, but, strikingly, there are also incredibly similar descriptions of them coming from trippers with completely different cultural and gnostic backgrounds.
The most common archetype people tend to see seem to be the ‘machine elves’—this is an umbrella term for more-or-less shape-shifting entities, famously coined by Terence McKenna. It denotes beings which usually have a kind of jesteresque quality to them, gleefully greeting the visitor, showing them around, summoning hyperdimensional objects or changing properties of existing ones (or themselves), trying to get the visitor’s attention, teaching them something, and/or tricking them.
The entities are commonly described as sentient and well-defined, with character, intelligence, telepathic abilities, and… humor. In the DMT trip, it truly feels like you’re entering worlds and meeting creatures which aren’t an extension of your subconscious mind, but that exist quite autonomously, governed by no rules known to us in our default reality.
The DMT breakthrough
A special category of high-tier DMT trips is commonly known as a DMT breakthrough. To get to this level, the user must ingest a sufficient amount of DMT, which usually requires lungs of steel and a solid smoking technique.
To break through means to experience an utter blast-off into hyperspace. It is followed by the dissolution of everything that makes up the default reality. Your soul detaches from your body, which can no longer be felt, the surroundings completely disintegrate, time ceases to exist even as a concept, everything that makes you a person, including your memories, language, personality traits, intelligence, what you care about, etc. is forgotten, and all that is left is your energetic essence floating in an ether of eternality.
For those who have experienced this state, the only way to describe it is ceasing to exist in the default world and emerging in another, or, in other words, dying. DMT is a rare substance able to catalyze an experience which so vividly presents the end of all we know about ourselves and life in general. This is what is commonly referred to in the psychedelic communities as ego death.
Witnessing a DMT breakthrough and coming back to ordinary existence can change a person in profound and irrevocable ways. The most striking part of it is that the purity and eternality of that space beyond the veil of comprehension actually feels more real than the default reality. So, returning from it with the awareness that something so outside of our understanding, so incredibly vast and powerful is out there, beyond this limited existence, can induce immense humility and appreciation for the sacredness and miraculous unlikelihood of life.
The DMT experiences involving ego death, otherworldly landscapes, dwellings, and entities can be incredibly intriguing and inspire major insight in the tripper.