Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The aliens are in our brains.
January 11, 2007 8:10 PM   Subscribe

DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, is a powerful hallucinogenic that can be found in living matter, including the human pineal gland. Small quantities of DMT are released during REM sleep. In 1990, Dr. Rick Strassman received FDA approval for a clinical study, the results of which can be read in Strassman's book "DMT: The Spirit Molecule". Users commonly reported being transported to "another dimension" and had contact with "insect-like alien beings". The late Terence McKenna was particularly interested in the drug, and coined the term "Machine Elves" in reference to these contacts. If reading isn't your thing, listen to comedian Joe Rogan's energized thoughts on the matter. (embedded video).
posted by zardoz (102 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some people have really gone out on the deep end with check this out

But I think that if you look close at reported DMT experiences "beyond the veil", you'll find that the similarities are shallow and in fact they are no more similar than dreams; in fact, they are dreams.
posted by Osmanthus at 8:18 PM on January 11, 2007


Interesting stuff. I remember the Stuart Gordon film From Beyond had the stimulation of the pineal gland as it's major plot point. I belive one of the effects of the drug was Barbara Crampton dressing up in leather bondage gear.
posted by marxchivist at 8:24 PM on January 11, 2007


From the article:
The DMT project was founded on cutting edge brain science.
I don't know why, but this sentence completely undermined the credibility of the author in my eyes. Is that really what scientists call the science of the brain? "Brain Science"? It just seems so...so LAYMAN.
posted by davejay at 8:27 PM on January 11, 2007


As always, the Erowid experience reports are interesting and important.
posted by hypervenom at 8:35 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just wrote a half-rant about the descriptions of these trips with respect to the actual experiences, but I deleted it upon reading it because it just came off WAY too acid freak hippy dippy.

Suffice it to say, I rank ingesting hallucinogens among the best experiences of my life and highly recommend that everyone everywhere trip at least once in their life. Not just because I had fun doing it, but for the same reason I believe everyone should spend a month waiting tables at least once in their life: to get some perspective.
posted by quite unimportant at 8:37 PM on January 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


It seems to me that, however passionate McKenna was about his experiences and their possible implications, he also managed to take them with a certain grain of salt. Not so sure that's the case with Daniel Pinchbeck, who appears to be the current rising star of DMT evangelists (at least from what I've read about him -- I confess I haven't read his books).
posted by treepour at 8:40 PM on January 11, 2007


I'm having an SFRaves hyperreal flashback.
posted by shoepal at 8:42 PM on January 11, 2007


Art Bell:Terrence, can you die taking this drug, DMT?
TMcK: perhaps of astonishment
posted by hortense at 8:45 PM on January 11, 2007


Ah erowid. I love that site. Without it I never would never know you could trip off of morning glory seeds. It's kind of like a mild acid you can buy at home depot.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:47 PM on January 11, 2007


The most significant meaning of any experience is that meaning which the perceiver assigns to that experience.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 8:56 PM on January 11, 2007


A trippy (or tryptamine) DMT Flashback video with music by Shpongle. (it gets good about a minute and a half in, worth waiting for).

DMT inspired art by Alex Grey.
posted by nickyskye at 9:00 PM on January 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


Joe Rogan is a guy who, based on his most public accomplishments (Fear Factor and The Man Show), seems like a complete moron. He is most definitely not that.
posted by kosem at 9:03 PM on January 11, 2007


I don't think anyone can conclude that someone producing Fear Factor and The Man show is a COMPLETE moron. He's just tasteless. It takes more than a moron to use human nature against humans.
posted by Count at 9:18 PM on January 11, 2007


Oh jeez. DMT is powerful stuff.

Back in 2002, you could buy 5MEO-DMT (and many other goodies) over the internet. That's right, folks. One of the most potent hallucinogens known to man, available at the click of a mouse.

My friends and I had our time with it. I saw the panther sorcerer. I saw the jeweled dome. I sang the vowel sounds. I guess we went through a few grams of the stuff. Things got kinda weird for a while.

One of the strangest effects of heavy 5MEO-DMT use is that it will actually cause you to have more lucid dreams. Also, once you've done a siginificant amount of 5MEO-DMT, you can actually get high on it in your dreams.

It's hard to say whether or not I'm better for the experience. It definitely showed me a different side of things - I remember being absolutely in awe of the universe, and the only conscious thought that I could possibly form was, "everything..... WORKS!" It also caused me to face up to some things that I didn't really want to face up to. It would be easy to say that I'm better for the experience, but I think that I would have had to deal with my issues eventually anyway. But yeah - DMT, powerful stuff, not to be toyed with.

I've occasionally thought about returning to the jeweled dome, but to be honest, since it's no longer available online, I'd have to go through some major troubles to obtain it. Let's just say that the easiest way to go about it would be to travel to the Sonoran desert and scrape venom from toads. Not my idea of a fun vacation, especially since I'm not really into drugs anymore. I've heard that there are some various Ayahuasca churches in the US and around the world, but I'm a little bit hesitant to apply someone else's religious metaphor to my (highly) personal spiritual experiences.
posted by kenoshakid at 9:22 PM on January 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


5-MeO-DMT isn't the same drug as N,N-DMT, and as far as I've read, the experiences are quite different. Also, you can still buy 5-MeO-DMT and many other goodies over the internet in 2007.
posted by benign at 9:28 PM on January 11, 2007


Related thread.
posted by homunculus at 9:29 PM on January 11, 2007


You're right, 5MEO-DMT is very different from N,N-DMT. 5MEO-DMT is active in VERY minute amounts, making it very easy to overshoot your ideal dosage. This leads to "fishing out" and spontaneous vomiting.

N,N-DMT is a lot less nauseating, and a lot easier to dose out. It's also a lot more visual.

And it may still be possible to buy 5MEO-DMT over the internet, but my impression is that all the purveyors are overseas, and to be honest, they all seem pretty damn sketchy.
posted by kenoshakid at 9:31 PM on January 11, 2007


In high school we had a poster about drugs in my health class. It covered the whole array, including DMT. I've been trying to find that stuff ever since.

The stuff Joe goes off about is a trip, I have been thinking along similar lines lately. He talks about human civilization as being cancerous/bacteria-like. If you've spent time poring over the planet with Google Earth it's hard not to reach this conclusion. Agricultural areas are partitioned off like cell walls in prokaryotes, and eukaryotic cities feed off their resources. We're like a petri dish sandwiched between thousands of miles of rock and millions of light years of vacuum.
posted by mullingitover at 9:43 PM on January 11, 2007


I don't know why, but this sentence completely undermined the credibility of the author in my eyes. Is that really what scientists call the science of the brain? "Brain Science"? It just seems so...so LAYMAN.

I believe they call it "neurology", which in a different language, means "brain science" .
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:43 PM on January 11, 2007


Joe Rogan calls the pineal gland the "pine-e-al" gland. Is that correct?
posted by delmoi at 9:45 PM on January 11, 2007


I've never done any psychedelics, and at my age, I probably never will now, but I did really enjoy the first erowid experience(s).

Anyway, what I really got out of this post, like a couple other people did, is finding out that Joe Rogan is apparently awesome. Those aren't lightbulbs, motherfucker!
posted by pinespree at 9:58 PM on January 11, 2007


Heh. Joe's Rant is pretty interesting. I tend to be somewhat cynical about the "Hippy dippy" aspect of tripping. I think it's fun and it can be a great way to learn more about yourself but I don't think you can really extrapolate you're experiences to the whole universe or whatever, a trip is really all in your mind.

I also know some people who took shrooms and it (or so they claim) fucked 'em up good after some "bad" trips. One of them later had some pretty major psychological problems. They were both sort of depressed and they both blamed the shrooms for their problems.
posted by delmoi at 9:58 PM on January 11, 2007


Joe Rogan calls the pineal gland the "pine-e-al" gland. Is that correct?

That's the only way I've ever heard it pronounced
posted by bunglin jones at 9:59 PM on January 11, 2007


Small quantities of DMT are released during REM sleep

I’m surprised we haven’t tilted at this particular windmill. War on our brain chemistry!

You know, I was recently sitting in my apartment thinking that it would be a perfect night for a trip. Just that right mix of boredom and curiosity. That was when it hit me like never before how monumentally ridiculous it is that, as an adult, I can’t just simply do that. Pisses me off to no end.
posted by dreamsign at 10:02 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Both of Pinchbeck's books are well worth checking out. Some very interesting and daring ideas.
posted by muckster at 10:03 PM on January 11, 2007


There are 3 organizations in Brazil with a combined membership of 12,000+ who get together every 2 weeks to drink ayahuasca (a brew containing DMT and MAO inhibitors). The practice is legal there, and is the best evidence of the prudent use of psychedelics. So, Amen, dreamsign.
posted by daksya at 10:14 PM on January 11, 2007


That Hell and Back link is great. I lived in Peru (Iquitos) for a summer and knew lots of people who went away on the weekends to do ayahuasca. I was on a sober kick then. Damn I regret it now.
posted by vronsky at 10:32 PM on January 11, 2007


Any who've tripped can easily distinguish between types of personality and types of trip and the information therein obtained. The same applies to DMT. Even sober, if you've meditated "to that point" of fair relaxation when thoughts come in controlled, then imagine that, but instantly at every thought.

Last year my gf and I were lucky to meet with a wasai (sp?) "shaman" in Pilcopata and undergo the whole ritual + ayahuasca experiment. All ceremony aside (in a single hotel room, objects laid on blanket i.e. tobacco, coca, wood, stones, beads, feathers... then ?s, chants, ask and thanks...) , the experience wasn't that different from mushrooms, or hongo, which the shaman repeatedly compared the drug to.

No aliens or divinity student fanstasy situations, and total bodily control the entire trip, if with vomiting by some (g), but good visions, full feeling if imagined, real color and fullness. And then, both me and my partner record having intense childhood memories, sharp and bright, from the forgotten to the everyday dull -of my childhood. thousands of scenes played out and viewed from stark utter impartiality.

So far as I could tell no intergallactic communication (do that many interstellar traveling 3 brained beings really want chat with war-fanged earth apes?), but accomplished awesome psychological work. Years worth.
posted by sarcasman at 10:34 PM on January 11, 2007


This theme was covered in a little-known Australian straight-to-DVD indie flick called The Matrix...

The stuff Joe goes off about is a trip, I have been thinking along similar lines lately. He talks about human civilization as being cancerous/bacteria-like. If you've spent time poring over the planet with Google Earth it's hard not to reach this conclusion. Agricultural areas are partitioned off like cell walls in prokaryotes, and eukaryotic cities feed off their resources. We're like a petri dish sandwiched between thousands of miles of rock and millions of light years of vacuum.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:45 PM on January 11, 2007


it's fun and it can be a great way to learn more about yourself but I don't think you can really extrapolate you're experiences to the whole universe or whatever, a trip is really all in your mind

True enough, though I wonder if most “spiritual” experiences don’t contain a heavy dose of the visceral. Once you’ve felt love, time, etc., it can certainly change the way you think about things, at least for awhile. And the best experiences I recall – on shrooms specifically – were those that I realized at the time were aspects of things that are always there – I just hadn’t noticed them before.

I also know some people who took shrooms and it (or so they claim) fucked 'em up good after some "bad" trips.

I still maintain that a trip can be like a couple of thousand dollars worth of therapy if all goes well. If it goes badly, mind you, it can be so very, very bad. One of the worst aspects being disjointedness of time (suffering miserably for what, I swear, seemed like forever). As for lasting effects, well, not sure. But I quit when a mild Thai shroom had effects like a Hawaiian, presumably due to the heavier ones I had ingested across the weeks/months before. Lasting brain chemistry changes = I’m out.

on preview, "me" = "a good friend of mine", natch.
posted by dreamsign at 10:49 PM on January 11, 2007


No aliens or divinity student fanstasy situations, and total bodily control the entire trip, if with vomiting by some (g), but good visions, full feeling if imagined, real color and fullness. And then, both me and my partner record having intense childhood memories, sharp and bright, from the forgotten to the everyday dull -of my childhood. thousands of scenes played out and viewed from stark utter impartiality.

No, no, no, sarcasman. You're doing it all wrong.

I don't know about this DMT - my last trip was courtesy of a hit of blotter acid (which I bought from some dude dressed up like Uncle Sam at a Grateful Dead concert) and it was ten hours of lucy in the sky.

I guess DMT isn't as strong?
posted by three blind mice at 11:29 PM on January 11, 2007


Thanks for this link. I have wanted to experience DMT as described by McKenna and Strassman since I first became aware of it's existence.
I've always been unsure of the pronunciation of the word 'pineal' as well, but I have heard some interesting stories about the gland. I am told that it is responsible for production of seratonin and melatonin, and that it is one of the first glands to develop in an embryo after conception (49 days to be exact, which is also coincidentally the number of days Buddhists belive it takes for the spirit of an individual to reinhabit a body - These stories may just be folklore though).
Of course, I could easily combine the appropriate ingredients to brew up a batch of ayahuasca, but pure lab-made DMT is a much more attractive proposition.

You know, I was recently sitting in my apartment thinking that it would be a perfect night for a trip. Just that right mix of boredom and curiosity. That was when it hit me like never before how monumentally ridiculous it is that, as an adult, I can’t just simply do that. Pisses me off to no end.

Amen, brother.
posted by Demogorgon at 11:29 PM on January 11, 2007


I've wanted to try DMT for a long time, even though my Better Living Through (arbitrarily illegal) Chemistry days are very long past.

I still reckon that if I'm ever diagnosed with something terminal, and have, with some certainty, not much longer to live, I'm going to tweak, trip and generally bliss out on contraband psychoactive chemicals like a motherfucker.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:10 AM on January 12, 2007


Yeah, finding out you have a terminal illness is one of the best preparations for an uplifting psychedelic trip.
posted by metaplectic at 12:38 AM on January 12, 2007


We're all gonna die, friend. Some people are scared of the idea -- I'm not one of them.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:40 AM on January 12, 2007


benign, I would like to contact you but you don't list an email address, would you please email me? contact in profile.

(sorry for derail)


...I deleted it upon reading it because it just came off WAY too acid freak hippy dippy


There is no such thing, friend, what are you talking about? You can never fly the flag high enough, not until every man woman and child on the planet has tuned in to the Good News.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:45 AM on January 12, 2007


On the other hand, it might be a good time to finally try crack, heroin, speedballs, etc. Of course, dying horribly in prison while going through withdrawal doesn't sound so great either.
posted by metaplectic at 12:47 AM on January 12, 2007


I guess DMT isn't as strong?
It always struck me that anyone who goes about comparing relative "strengths" of different entheogens sounds like they don't have much experience with them in general. How do you compare strength when dosage level is so different? Should you compare 1 "recommended dose" of one with 1 "recommended dose" of the other? Recommended for who and under what circumstances? Pretty arbitrary/subjective stuff there.
posted by juv3nal at 12:47 AM on January 12, 2007


I'd just like to point out that this post was made on Albert Hoffman's 101st birthday.
posted by peacay at 12:47 AM on January 12, 2007


stravos: We're all gonna die, friend. Some people are scared of the idea -- I'm not one of them.

Good for you then; I think I would be bummed out. I was also thinking there's really no point in putting things off that you truly want to do, if it is at all practical to do them now.
posted by metaplectic at 12:54 AM on January 12, 2007


This is true. But I did do enough exotic chemicals in my youth that I no longer have much curiosity about them (DMT and a couple of others aside), though. Anyway, my fantasy Wonderchicken Terminal Beach Party would probably be more along the party-drugs line rather than the hallucinogenic.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:04 AM on January 12, 2007


for what its worth - DMT is also over-abundant in the brains of schizophrenics. They don't seem particularly blessed with keen introspection and self awareness.

if you wanna get fucked and see the mechanical elves, thats cool. find me some too! -but don't play like you're solving inner mysteries. You're much better off sitting quietly and meditating.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:56 AM on January 12, 2007


The name "Grateful Dead" was chosen from the dictionary. Some claim it was a Funk & Wagnalls, others, the Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book Of the Dead), but according to Phil Lesh, in his biography (pp. 62), "...Jer (Garcia) picked up an old Britannica World Language Dictionary...(and)...In that silvery elf-voice he said to me, 'Hey, man, how about the Grateful Dead?'" The definition there was "A song meant to show a lost soul to the other side." According to the Garcia biography, Captain Trips by Sandy Troy, the band was smoking the psychedelic DMT at the time.
From Wikipedia entry on Grateful Dead.
posted by fixedgear at 2:33 AM on January 12, 2007


Clearly time to bring out the tripping stories... a friend of mine reports that his friend, while tripping hard and visiting the smallest room (and isn't that a hilarious experience, space cadets?) suddenly had a vision, with typically profound crystalline clarity, of the ENTIRE SYDNEY RETICULATED SEWERAGE SYSTEM floating isolated in space, with the tip one of its specialized sucker tentacles ATTACHED FIRMLY TO HIS ARSE.

Took him a while to recover :-)
posted by flabdablet at 3:20 AM on January 12, 2007 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: the ENTIRE SYDNEY RETICULATED SEWERAGE SYSTEM floating isolated in space, with the tip one of its specialized sucker tentacles ATTACHED FIRMLY TO HIS ARSE
posted by alloneword at 5:14 AM on January 12, 2007


From erowid...

Mimosa hostilis is not a controlled species in the United States. Live plants and seeds are often sold and grown. However, DMT, one of the chemicals contained in the plant, is Schedule I in the U.S. Practically, this means that if an extraction is done on DMT containing Mimosa species, the resulting DMT is illegal to possess. We are unaware of any cases in which an individual has been prosecuted simply for growing a plant or for doing a home extraction of a plant, although it seems quite possible that a few such cases exist.

From reading erowid, apparently there are a LOT of plants out there which have DMT or other compunds in them. I think this is a public health crisis waiting to happen. We need to start a campaign to get all of these plants banned, just like that nasty Schedule I cannabis sativa.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:14 AM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have never done DMT, but I was once at a rave in southeast DC where about 6 people were passing around a glass DMT pipe. I was already rolling, so I didn't really think it would be a good idea, even though I'd wanted to try it for a while.

However, a friend of mine came did try it, and I bumped into him about 20 minutes later.

"Holy crap that was amazing."

"Wow, that was over fast."

"What, how long was I up there?"

"I dunno, 15, 20 minutes."

"No WAY."

"Yeah."

"NO. WAY. I was up there for like 8 hours."

"Nope, look at my watch."

And then the rest of the night, I could hear him muttering, "Impossible, impossible" to himself.
posted by empath at 5:33 AM on January 12, 2007


Ask Dr. Shulgin on 4-Hydroxy-5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine, Psilocybe mushrooms, Psilocin:
However there is a very interesting study that took place in Leipzig about 15 years ago. Jochen Gartz, a mushroom explorer whom I know quite well, has done some fascinating studies with Psilocybe species by raising them on solid media containing strange tryptamines that are alien to the mushroom. Apparently the enzymes that are responsible for the 4-hydroxy group of psilocin are indifferent to what it is they choose to 4-hydroxylate. He has taken things like DPT or DIPT and put them in the growth media and the fruiting bodies that came out contain 4-hydroxy-DPT or 4-hydroxy-DIPT instead of psilocin. In fact, he has a patent on the process. These active compounds are made by the mushroom so they really are natural and yet they never have been observed in nature. I'll give you even odds that if you put spores of a psilocybe species on cow droppings loaded with 5-MeO-DMT you would come out with mushrooms containing 4,5-HO-MeO-DMT. This way you avoid a 10 step synthesis by growing a psychoactive mushroom that contains no illegal drug.
Someone really needs to do this and print, culture and clone that isolate for mass dissemination. Hmmm...
posted by prostyle at 6:12 AM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


for what its worth - DMT is also over-abundant in the brains of schizophrenics. They don't seem particularly blessed with keen introspection and self awareness.

My small acquaintance with schizophrenics has been very different. I've found them to be among the brightest, most self-aware and penetrating individuals around. Small derail over.
posted by Hobgoblin at 6:19 AM on January 12, 2007


Joe Rogan is a guy who, based on his most public accomplishments (Fear Factor and The Man Show), seems like a complete moron. He is most definitely not that.

In his favor, he was pretty funny as the paranoid, Art Bell(ish), maintenance guy in News Radio. That sit com also starred Phil Hartman, Dave Foley, Maura Tierney, Andy Dick and Stephen Root.
posted by NoMich at 6:23 AM on January 12, 2007


Someone really needs to do this and print, culture and clone that isolate for mass dissemination. Hmmm...

people have done it. it's not difficult. however the average person doesn't have a mass spec. to verify what's been grown.
posted by killyb at 6:28 AM on January 12, 2007


So, this stuff is also produced right before death? Death doesn't seem so bad.

What I don't get is why this is the "most illegal" drug ever? What?

Also, I remember most of my dreams, some very very vividly. I remember dreams I had when I was a kid as clearly as actual memories from that time. But he's saying that you don't remember DMT trips. So, are these dreams something else entirely, or am I wired all funky?

(I wouldn't be surprised by the latter, my neurological system was made by a monkey on crack.)

I've seen this guy go off about an experience he had in Amsterdam where he ran around naked on pyschedelics and the flowers in the park said that they'd take care of his shoes. Great stuff.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:56 AM on January 12, 2007


From Joe Rogan's riff:

"In clinical trials...the heavy doses produced the most profound effects, but nobody remembered them."

How do they know that they produced the most profound effects if no one remembered them?
posted by spicynuts at 7:02 AM on January 12, 2007


After effects-- new outlook on life, etc...
posted by empath at 7:31 AM on January 12, 2007


...I don't think you can really extrapolate you're experiences to the whole universe or whatever, a trip is really all in your mind.


...if you wanna get fucked and see the mechanical elves, thats cool. find me some too! -but don't play like you're solving inner mysteries. You're much better off sitting quietly and meditating.


I hesitate to speak for everyone, but I really don't think this is about solving the universe (the one that exists outside your mind) or inner mysteries. For me, at least, it's the fascination with the concept that if I throw this molecule into my skull-bowl full of meat and chemicals, my entire fundamental perception of what I have to refer to as "reality" is completely blown away, and I have to apply whatever cognitive machinery I have left to this utterly brand new experience. It illustrates just how ridiculous and fragile the notion of reality actually is, since it's all just input and translation.

Which brings me to my original point about language. There is no word for how heat sounds, or how purple tastes. There is no word for eternally exploding fractal patterns made of colors that there also is no word for. I forget the source, but someone once made the comment that human language just evolved so that a human could tell other humans where the ripe fruit was located. But I digress, because I want to avoid sounding like Charles "YOU CAN ONLY SEE IF YOU'VE GOT NO EYES, MAN! THINK ABOUT IT!" Manson.

I've had some great experiences meditating, but nothing approaching the conclusions I've arrived at while tripping. When you see just how gossamer your perceptions--and the reality you create from them--are and how easy it is to utterly distort them, it's tough to take it as gospel what one sees with one's own eyes.
posted by quite unimportant at 7:36 AM on January 12, 2007 [8 favorites]


So he is saying that something that lasts maybe 5 minutes and cannot be remembered at all can have a profound effect on one's outlook on life? SHENANIGANS!
posted by spicynuts at 7:36 AM on January 12, 2007


Well said, quite unimportant.
I realized upon re-reading my comment that "feeling love" didn't seem like any big deal. Rather, "seeing love" and "feeling time and space" were the big things one particularly good night in Amsterdam.

And on the subject of "whatever the journey it's all in your head" it can be quite interesting to note how the behaviour of others toward you changes while you trip. Particularly dogs. Mmm, nuff said.
posted by dreamsign at 7:56 AM on January 12, 2007


Kosem, don't forget that Joe Rogan is also a commentator for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or whatever that show is called where bad ass dudes grab each other with their thighs until they pass out.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:06 AM on January 12, 2007


"...they are no more similar than dreams; in fact, they are dreams."

Osmanthus - have you ever tripped?
posted by rougy at 8:20 AM on January 12, 2007


spicy nuts. I think it's more complicated than that.

I think the truest thing you can say about any psychedelic experience is that it's 'ineffable'.

It's just impossible to put into words what you experience. There are just no words to describe it. Any attempt you make to describe it to others is only going to trivialize it.

And the ineffability is also what makes it difficult to remember, in the same way that dreams are. If you don't have words to describe it, if you can't categorize what you experienced, there's really no way to recall it. And the more 'far-out' it is, the more profound and potent the experience, the harder it will be to recall later.

Like I said, I've never done DMT, but in my other psychedelic experiences, I could only ever recall the come up and the come down. The details of the peak itself was always a great mystery to me afterwards, but I always came away profoundly moved and changed by it.

Just the knowledge that you came into contact with something so vast and indescribable can itself profoundly change the way you look at yourself and the world around you, even if you don't remember any of the details.
posted by empath at 8:20 AM on January 12, 2007


For me, at least, it's the fascination with the concept that if I throw this molecule into my skull-bowl full of meat and chemicals, my entire fundamental perception of what I have to refer to as "reality" is completely blown away, and I have to apply whatever cognitive machinery I have left to this utterly brand new experience.

That's exactly it. It's not necessarily the particulars of any particular experience that matter, but the fact that its possible to have that kind of experience at all.

Even if there is no truth revealed WHATSOEVER by a trip, the fact that any chemical, particularly one that works in such small doses as LSD, can so profoundly alter your perceptions has to make you question the reality of EVERYTHING you think you see or believe.

Which, imo, is a good thing. People sleepwalk to much, and see too little.
posted by empath at 8:35 AM on January 12, 2007


Like I said, I've never done DMT, but in my other psychedelic experiences, I could only ever recall the come up and the come down. The details of the peak itself was always a great mystery to me afterwards,

In the five or six times I've done acid and the couple of times I've done mushrooms, I've never had this experience. Even now, 15 years later, I can remember some the things that were happening to me while tripping. For example, one time I remember the whole trip being this weird time delay experience where I felt like I was 30 seconds behind everyone so that I always felt like I was answering questions that had been asked 30 seconds ago or responding to stimulae way too late. That was fun.
posted by spicynuts at 8:50 AM on January 12, 2007


People forget that our brains spend more time filtering things out than identifying things to let in. The psychedelic experience lifts some or all of that filter. People who say that tripping is the same as dreaming really don't know what they're talking about, I'm sorry to say.

One thing that will stay with you profoundly after you have been on some kind of mind-altering experience is this: the world isn't what you thought it was.
posted by rougy at 9:03 AM on January 12, 2007


I think what's criminal to me is that there hasn't been much more research into HOW it happens.

Its obvious that there is something here that could give us incredible insight into the origins of consciousness, language, the sense of self. Anything that so completely disrupts those processes must be able to tell us something about how they work, right?
posted by empath at 9:16 AM on January 12, 2007


LSD does not produce hallucinations in the strict sense, but instead illusions and vivid daydream-like fantasies, in which ordinary objects and experiences take on entirely different appearances or meanings.

DMT is a powerful psychoactive substance. If DMT is smoked, injected, or orally ingested with an MAOI, it can produce powerful entheogenic experiences including true hallucinations (perceived extensions of reality). A trip sitter is often employed to assist the drug user in staying physically and mentally healthy, and, in the case of smoked DMT, to catch the pipe when the user loses awareness of it.

There's a very large disparity there that can just barely be communicated by referring to DMT trips as "dream states". Unless you've done at least one of these substances I'm afraid it's difficult to even have a conversation about the nature of the experiences and the idea of "true" hallucinations versus subjective reinterpretation and reorganizing normal stimuli under the context of magnified and shifted perception.

From what I understand, DMT really does put you "out of this world", for lack of a better term. You might get "out of your head" on LSD or a heroic dose of Shrooms, but you really don't ever "trip" to the point of your entire living arrangements vanishing out of sight and into the tumultuous scene of universal creation; matter and antimatter dancing in the golden sea of chaos as you functionally cease to exist (drop the pipe, drop your bowels, etc)

Which is why I fail to see why there could possibly exist a "Naysayer" of such endeavors. I would posit that the individual should stake out to try the substance and seek to avoid being effected, rather than cast aspersion at the accuracy of others experience and subsequent claims. I certainly have an idea which would be more challenging...
posted by prostyle at 9:17 AM on January 12, 2007


Kosem, don't forget that Joe Rogan is also a commentator for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or whatever that show is called where bad ass dudes grab each other with their thighs until they pass out.

Rogan is more than a UFC commentator. Rogan has a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and was a tournament champ in his teens. He has also trained in Muay Thai and received his brown belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu from Eddie Bravo recently. He is also really, really, into yoga.

Rogan is a smart, articulate, guy who has crafted his "knuckle head" niche very carefully. He is like many who do combat sports who are suprisingly more than they seem.

Joe is highly knowledgeable about that the mixed martial arts scene, both as a participant and a fan. He is truly a breath of fresh air from the early days of Cynthia Rothrock and others who were total poseurs.
posted by tkchrist at 9:25 AM on January 12, 2007


No, no, no, sarcasman. You're doing it all wrong.

I guess DMT isn't as strong?


I'm not sure how injesting a large cup of ayahuasca tea prepared by a 40 years practicing shaman who apprenticed the knowledge from teachers who learned the drug's use and refined the practice for some hundreds of years, then sitting and focusing and allowing powerful visions to inculcate intense psycholoigical lessons is doing it wrong. But then, I am not a teenager.

I have taken copious amounts of shrooms and acid and seen the world invert, everything come alive, psychic communication, creation et al. But always knew they were personal insights, not real. I have also seen people on acid strip down, plunge their head through a window (bloody mess and all) then convert to some abstinence program thereafter. I wouldn't call such trips 'strong' as much as the people having that kind of reaction as weak.

The lucy in the sky part is fun, the first 50 or so times maybe. But after almost 7 years not tripping DMT was a refreshing reintroduction. In that I could direct visions, and my dreams for weeks after kept reinforcing the original visions. More mental control does not mean weaker drug; it is an indication of real growth.

There is little gained comparing acid to DMT. And I've felt similar results to both with decent meditation. But then again, I may be doing it all wrong.
posted by sarcasman at 9:53 AM on January 12, 2007


I can attest to the reality of this experience, after all realities are created all the time , and the DMT world is no less "real" than the cars on the street, maybe more so.
I've experienced some things that are life changingly profound and ineffable with the stuff. It aint to be taken lightly, and can't really be understood until one has had one of these breakthroughs with it. Attempting to understand the DMT experience on paper is kinda like attempting to observe Mt, Everest with a microscope.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:03 AM on January 12, 2007


"if you wanna get fucked and see the mechanical elves, thats cool. find me some too! -but don't play like you're solving inner mysteries. You're much better off sitting quietly and meditating."

You can do more inner solving in 5 mins with DMT than 25 years of meditating in the holiest Ash Ram in Shangri La.
This square idea of meditating as being the only way, is niave. Why not take the express train?
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:10 AM on January 12, 2007


Since when does how you make a buck (and in Rogan's case, a lot of bucks) have to jive with your spiritual/recreational pursuits? How many here can say they attained such harmonies in life? And whats to say the dissonance between the two aren't a good thing?
posted by Fupped Duck at 11:00 AM on January 12, 2007


Ah yes, the crew that never sleeps.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:03 AM on January 12, 2007


You can do more inner solving in 5 mins with DMT than 25 years of meditating in the holiest Ash Ram in Shangri La.
This square idea of meditating as being the only way, is niave. Why not take the express train?


The way that is seen is no the true way.
posted by Snyder at 11:10 AM on January 12, 2007


prostyle: From what I understand, DMT really does put you "out of this world", for lack of a better term. You might get "out of your head" on LSD or a heroic dose of Shrooms, but you really don't ever "trip" to the point of your entire living arrangements vanishing out of sight and into the tumultuous scene of universal creation; matter and antimatter dancing in the golden sea of chaos as you functionally cease to exist (drop the pipe, drop your bowels, etc)
So, so true. You can't really describe it to someone who hasn't done it. I like to use the modern metaphor: doing DMT (either smoked or in ayahuasca form) is like swapping out your brain's OS for a while. And that kind of makes sense: what is your brain, your conscious mind and "self", but the connections between the synapses? And what makes those connections happen but the chemical soup in your brain? So if you change the contents of the soup, and they can make those connections in similar but chemically different ways... it's like being a different thing for a while. And the beautiful, utterly beautiful part, is that your body just absorbs it up nicely. I've never been hung over or felt bad doing DMT/ayahuasca, but I still can't take a few tokes of pot without feeling all cottonheaded for a couple of days.

The ayahuasca experience is less hallucinatory for me, but more meaningful. It's less an incredible light show than some really fantastic righting of my mental ship. As sarcasman said- it is incredibly powerful stuff, but it's not LSD, and it's not a rave drug. It can be very healing, very revealing.
Liquidwolf:
"if you wanna get fucked and see the mechanical elves, thats cool. find me some too! -but don't play like you're solving inner mysteries. You're much better off sitting quietly and meditating."
You can do more inner solving in 5 mins with DMT than 25 years of meditating in the holiest Ash Ram in Shangri La.
This square idea of meditating as being the only way, is niave. Why not take the express train?
Wonderful! The express train, yes!

I think the famous koan of "How do you get the goose out of the bottle? There, it's out!" is completely appropriate here. It's my favorite koan, and it totally represents the substance of my life, and I suspect most of our lives.

We grow up like the goose in the bottle, held in by constraints we don't even see because they are always there, and always were there. We are imprisoned by the fears, doubts, self-loathings, neuroses, and limitations that were there from our earliest childhood. Imagine how difficult it must be for that goose, put in there as a gosling and now barely able to move, every inch of its self pressed up against the glass, its shape deformed to the crowded confines of that enclosure. But the goose doesn't understand the concept of the bottle, because it's always been in the bottle- the bottle is, apparently just part of the goose itself. You can't get the goose out of the bottle because it's grown up in it- you'd either have to break the bottle, killing the goose, or kill the goose to get it out through the neck. So, how do you get it out? There, it's out!

And DMT, more than meditating, facilitates that process: it makes real the understanding that "There, it's out!" is a real possibility, not something taking 25 years of therapy to accomplish, but a change that could literally happen in an instant if you only flick that switch inside you to understand that you are now out of the bottle.

To be sure, you don't stay outside the bottle just from one DMT trip, and merely knowing on an intellectual- on a linguistic- level that the bottle is a fabrication in your own head won't do much for you. Those patterns take a long time to change inside, because after a good healing trip the old thoughts creep back in, and self-doubt is its own renewable energy source: the doubts themselves fuel more doubts. But understanding, really understanding on a fully physical and deep level that is as sure as the warm sun on your face, how you can simply be outside of the bottle, is the first step to staying out, the first step to help you from falling back inside the bottle every time the little voices in your head tell you that you aren't good enough, or that you're weak or worthless. You can be happy, and content, and feel fulfilled, and stop being your own worst enemy, but it's a hell of a lot easier if you can do so in an instant, and then realize that the change is something only you are prevent from happening.

So... no, it's not some light show, not some Lucasfilm fantasmagoria of special effects- or at least, it's not just that. It is vastly better than therapy, because it gets you where words and language, filtered as they are through our big gray forebrains, can never reach. And that has a lasting effect. Surely worth more than some techno music and glowsticks enhanced by MDMA...
posted by hincandenza at 11:13 AM on January 12, 2007 [15 favorites]


Hasen't DMT been linked to hag dreams?
posted by Snyder at 11:14 AM on January 12, 2007


Hag dreams are lucid dreaming. So in that sense, yes.

I've never used any of said substances, but have experimented a ton with lucid dreaming. And once I taught myself how to have lucid dreams when I was about 15 or so, it's like I flipped a switch...and since that point, I constantly have intense lucid dreaming, am usually aware I'm dreaming, and have a totally illogical respect and belief that my dreams are crucial to reality. The only frightening thing is when I'm tired, I start dreaming while I'm still awake and invent really crazy situations that are totally absolutely real and ancient and then dissapear.

See kids, you don't need drugs! (although you might need a little mental instability)
posted by iamck at 11:29 AM on January 12, 2007


So... no, it's not some light show, not some Lucasfilm fantasmagoria of special effects- or at least, it's not just that. It is vastly better than therapy, because it gets you where words and language, filtered as they are through our big gray forebrains, can never reach.

Hincandenza, I think my experience was very much along the lines you describe. People want John's apocalypse, which many hallucinagens can bring, but the real value of these drugs -especially DMT- is in calmly working out so many philosophical, psychological, even cosmological questions through clear wordless visions. And lasting as well... because it yields an
increasingly deeper acceptance of life.

No wonder Nixon's crew created a police state and changed laws specifically to prohibit and control such experimentations. You can't brainwash a healthy mind.

But let's not diss mdma too hastily. It was really fun for a while, and doing it on shrooms was like finding a female jesus for a depressed teen.
posted by sarcasman at 11:36 AM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


prostyle- Re, 4-Hydroxy-5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine, Psilocybe mushrooms, Psilocin:
Someone really needs to do this and print, culture and clone that isolate for mass dissemination. Hmmm...

It sounds like the Psilocybe mushrooms already do this, so there's nothing to culture and clone. The hard part is getting a substrate loaded with tryptamines, which must be extracted from another plant source or (often tediously) synthesized from an unwatched compound. In either case, not many magic mushroom growers want to use a finished product from another process (which is in itself quite valuable) as a starting material for growing mushrooms.
posted by peeedro at 12:33 PM on January 12, 2007


Tryptophan-5ht: DMT is also over-abundant in the brains of schizophrenics

Not really.
posted by daksya at 12:55 PM on January 12, 2007


People have misunderstood what I said: the key phrase is "beyond the veil", the mark where you go beyond the typical trip where you are still interacting with the world around you and go into an *alternate reality*. This only happens with DMT and only with right does to some people.
So, I am not saying tripping is dreaming, I'm saying stories from beyond the veil are induced dreams.
posted by Osmanthus at 1:11 PM on January 12, 2007


Um.
I've been "beyond the veil" on LSD.
It just takes the right dosage and formula.
It's a lot of fun, too.
Except for coming slowly back to reality and finding yourself in a tree with your pants on your head trying to eat the moon. That part still has me rather baffled. My babysitter still doesn't understand how I managed to get out of the house.
posted by daq at 1:18 PM on January 12, 2007


"Except for coming slowly back to reality and finding yourself in a tree with your pants on your head trying to eat the moon.

You, too, eh?
posted by rougy at 1:33 PM on January 12, 2007


The context of my comment is important too: read the paper I linked to. These people are trying to prove that the alternate reality is an objective place, and they aim to prove it by giving one tripper a huge number no human could factor, have them give it to a machine elf, and then have the machine elf give the factors to another tripper.
What I'm saying is that their evidence that their alternate reality is objective is based on interpreting trip accounts in a way to meet their preconcieved idea,but that in fact an objective overview shows that the accounts are not consistent in a way pointing to objective existence of alternate realities.
posted by Osmanthus at 1:37 PM on January 12, 2007


hincandenza.

Damn. Now I REALLY want to try this stuff. You are a "gateway." When the ask me why I was running down the freeway naked with a home made flint spear - your name is coming up.
posted by tkchrist at 2:15 PM on January 12, 2007


Osmanthus writes "These people are trying to prove that the alternate reality is an objective place, and they aim to prove it by giving one tripper a huge number no human could factor, have them give it to a machine elf, and then have the machine elf give the factors to another tripper."

Yeah, that's fucking nuts.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:44 PM on January 12, 2007


The way that is seen is no the true way.

I'm not putting down meditation, I think it's healthy and I've had excellent experiences with it..
But to say that DMT is any less "the way" than meditation.. what grounds do you have for that reasoning?
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:58 PM on January 12, 2007


tkchrist: hincandenza.

Damn. Now I REALLY want to try this stuff. You are a "gateway." When the ask me why I was running down the freeway naked with a home made flint spear - your name is coming up.
Heh- thanks for the compliment! And to think my high school guidance counselor said I wouldn't amount to anything! Take that, Mr. Walker!

You might want to check out the resources linked in my AskMe regarding this issue.
posted by hincandenza at 3:20 PM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, finding out you have a terminal illness is one of the best preparations for an uplifting psychedelic trip.

I imagine tripping on shrooms would be a good way to help accept it.
posted by delmoi at 3:48 PM on January 12, 2007


I imagine tripping on shrooms would be a good way to help accept it.

... and maybe figuring out what you really want to do with the time you have left.
posted by whatnot at 4:36 PM on January 12, 2007


"Holy crap that was amazing."

"Wow, that was over fast."

"What, how long was I up there?"

"I dunno, 15, 20 minutes."

"No WAY."

"Yeah."

"NO. WAY. I was up there for like 8 hours."


(from empath, above)

DMT was known as the "businessman's trip" back in the 60s, because you could do it on your lunch hour and than get back to your desk.

Yes, children, all these drugs were around in grandpa's day. Have fun, be careful, but grandpa doesn't do that anymore.
posted by beagle at 8:04 PM on January 12, 2007


An extended nondrug MDMA-like experience evoked through posthypnotic suggestion
posted by homunculus at 8:31 PM on January 12, 2007


I always enjoy it when I think certain people (comedians, mostly) are complete idiots and then find out that the opposite is true.

Joe Rogan always came off as really vulgar and simple to me (not that that's not funny occasionally), but I guess he was understandably just playing to the lowest common denominator for his career's sake. That "Those aren't lightbulbs, motherfucker!" video and the link in the post make him seem like a really intelligent and interesting person. It was horrible to listen to the other people on the show sit there and laugh at him like he's doing a standup routine, when he's really just talking about things that are on a level they don't really want to think about.
posted by borkingchikapa at 1:06 AM on January 13, 2007


I do have to admit, it's kind of funny reading hincandeza recommending DMZDMT and all.

Not because of who hincandeza is, just because of his nick and all.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 9:39 AM on January 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


How is it that people find reliable sources of this stuff on the Internet? Is there a secret handshake I'm missing I wasn't impressed by LSD (maybe not enough of a dose), but I found myself very refreshed and oddly appreciative after psilocybin, a state that lasted months. DMT sounds fascinating.
posted by adipocere at 11:39 AM on January 13, 2007


adipocere -

They are pretty different highs and, like most things, one kind of LSD isn't much like the next. I prefer the acid if I know the source is good.

I personally am not quick to call these DMT experiences "dream states", though I have nothing to go on but my own experiences with acid and shrooms.

The uniformity of what complete strangers have each claimed to see - another world populated by cognizant beings - could suggest some aspect of the collective unconsciousness that Freud and Jung failed to map. Or, by cracky, it may really be some kind of doorway to a different dimension, and there is just no way to explain it sufficiently given the constructs of our own.

On a lighter note:

"George Bush says we are losing the war on drugs. You know what that implies? There's a war going on, and the people on drugs are winning it. Well what does that tell you about drugs? There's some smart, creative fuckers on that side. They're winning a war and they're fucked up!
Bill Hicks
posted by rougy at 1:05 PM on January 13, 2007


Since i saw a couple of people mention how interested (but unable to do further research/bio-essaying)
they are in this subject: smokable dmt from organic sources (brains, weeds, mhrb, etc.) is very easy to produce.
I think even the wikipedia entry links to sufficient explanation.
If one were really curious about this i would suggest to take a day off, move to a country where such interest
is in compliance with local laws and read up on the subject.
It might be worth it.
posted by morizky at 2:48 PM on January 13, 2007


I'm not putting down meditation, I think it's healthy and I've had excellent experiences with it..
But to say that DMT is any less "the way" than meditation.. what grounds do you have for that reasoning?


Because the way is not a destination. You don't go through a process, be it meditation or DMT or Bavarian rutabega therapy and come out saying, "Whelp, I'm enlightened, I know the way." You can't get "there" quicker one way than another because there is no "there" to get to. It's a journey, a process, an effort, wherein you realise you cannot fully realise, in an intellectual manner, what you are aware of. The way cannot be communicated, with language or any ingestable material. It's not easy or hard.

Yeah, you can have a trip, but in the end you simply had an experience that was isloated and without context. It may grant a realisation, but the idea that you can simply rewire your brain with a chemical, (naturally occuring or otherwise,) and gain "quicker" enlightenment. Enlightenment is not simply powerful hallucinations, or a radical but temporary paradigm shift.
posted by Snyder at 3:26 PM on January 13, 2007


Snyder -

You make a very good point. I think that the "trip" is only the beginning of a process, ultimately toward understanding.

I've tripped probably more than anybody I know - but I do meditate, too. And I do it, in part, because of the tripping - even though the two are hardly comparable.

I zazen - and I notice that the more that I do it, the more "in tune" I am with things, the existence, in ways that are almost preternatural.
posted by rougy at 3:37 PM on January 13, 2007


I guess DMT isn't as strong?

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

that would be, er, the wrong assumption. it lasts 15-25 minutes and has correctly been referred to as a 'blastfurnace for the soul.'
posted by n9 at 6:20 PM on January 13, 2007


hincandenza - Judging by your well written post, you didn't have the same reaction to DMT as your literary counterpart. I'm curious, does your name come from this connection?
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 7:18 PM on January 13, 2007


Not so much- I read Infinite Jest back in 1999/2000 or earlier (can't recall exactly when) and that was the first name I thought of when creating an account.

That I also happen to have had profound experiences using DMT is quite truly a coincidence. Certainly by the time I read "Infinite Jest" the novel, I chuckled at the thinly veiled references to "DMZ" and to mold growing out in the lawn having similar properties to a plant used by Jivaro shaman, etc. But there is no reasoning behind my username beyond simply picking a likely unique login name using a principle character of one of my favorite books of recent years.
posted by hincandenza at 1:19 AM on January 14, 2007


*eventually finds time for Joe Rogan link* ...

holy... JOE ROGAN.

nothing said in this thread changed my mind about the man, and then I followed the link.
posted by dreamsign at 11:21 AM on January 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ayahuasca Monologues In NYC, January 25
posted by homunculus at 9:21 AM on January 21, 2007


« Older Happy anniversary, modern art....  |  Beachwear and modesty are gene... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments