Once in a while, scientists round up a bunch of people, fill their blood with various inebriants, and then attempt to record the results. It’s just how we’ve done things; a tale as old as medical science itself, though the science certainly has changed a lot.
Back in the day, we imagine that the scientists just gave you a new drug to eat, and then they observed the results. Nowadays, they inject you with 20 milligrams of DMT and throw you into the MRI machine.
According to The Guardian, that’s exactly what researchers did at the University of London, who found that dimethyltryptamine (DMT) has an absolute bonkers effect on brain activity and connectivity, particularly with imagination.
If you’re unfamiliar with DMT or Ayahuasca, then congratulations! This means that you’ve somehow remained ignorant to pseudo-intellectual celebrities such as Joe Rogan constantly talking about it like it’s the end-all be-all of human existence. This is quite the commendable feat, and should be wore as a badge of honor moving forward.
DMT is an extremely powerful psychedelic compound. It’s found in a variety of plants all over the world, and can be easily extracted using household items. Note that, depending on who you ask, this is “federally illegal” and we can’t recommend it no matter how badly you want to role play as Walter White.
DMT is the main psychoactive ingredient in Ayahuasca, an indigenous brew originating in South America that’s been used in ceremonies for at least 1,000 years. Recently, celebrities have been attending these ceremonies, who then use the ceremonies as explanations for their MVP football seasons.
The difference between DMT and Ayahuasca could be analogously compared to smoking cannabis vs. eating edibles. Due to how fast the body metabolizes DMT, smoking the substance yields an experience that lasts for a short amount of time, usually between 10 and 20 minutes.
Ayahuasca, due to containing a separate substance called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, or MAOI, brings about an experience lasting for hours, as the MAOI results in a slower digestion of the DMT.
Are we all caught up? Would you feel confident taking a quick quiz? That’s great, because if we have to explain this to our parents one more time we’re going to explode into the Sun.
Anyway, a bunch of English nerds in lab coats injected 20 milligrams of DMT straight into 20 different participants, and then recorded their brain function before, during and after the experience using an MRI and an EEG machine.
“The recordings show how the brain’s normal hierarchical organisation breaks down, electrical activity becomes anarchic, and connectivity between regions soars, particularly those handling ‘higher level’ functions such as imagination, which evolved most recently in humans,” reads the article from The Guardian.
Chris Timmermann, who led the study at Imperial College London, explained to The Guardian that this sort of activity on the brain is exactly what makes the psychedelic experience so promising at treating mental health problems such as depression.
What’s more, DMT provides more flexibility to the user because of its short duration, compared to psilocybin mushrooms and LSD, which lasts long enough for you to smoke an entire pack of cigarettes on your roof while you listen to birds chrip and watch the sun come up.
Look, it may be strange, but humans have been playing “Fear and Loathing” since before modern civilization was a thing.
In 2019, a Bolivian archaeological dig retrieved a pouch composed of three fox snouts that were stitched together, with chemical analysis revealing that the pouch contained traces of a DMT derivative, in addition to traces of cocaine.
The bag was dated back between AD900 and 1170, and, in case you need a reference, this is what young people mean when they say that they wish they were born in a different era. We’re not talking about “Man, I wish I was born in the 1960s.”
We’re talking about how sweet it would be to exist thousands of years ago, before we could get executed by the DEA for chewing on coca leaves, or before we were priced out of the housing market in Bolivian caves.