Native cultures have been taking psychedelic chemicals for recreational and religious purposes for thousands of years. One of which, N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is reported to create intense visual experiences that include phenomena such as meeting other ‘beings’, having information or future events revealed to the user, and changes in their perception of the divine as reported by a survey from Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic Research.
Johns Hopkins Medical School, one of the principle American institutes tracking the statistics of COVID-19 in America, is renowned for being the first medical school to conduct broad extensive research on the medical capacity of various psychedelic compounds.
Their research, led by Dr. Roland Griffiths, has produced several treatments for anxiety disorders such as PTSD, chronic anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, and others. The compounds studied have included psilocybin derived from mushrooms, MDMA, LCD, ketamine, and now DMT.
Their 2006 finding on the safety and enduring beneficial effects of just a single dose psilocybin is widely recognized as a landmark study that renewed interest in the field world-wide.
A recent publication by John Hopkins’ Alan Davis and Roland Griffiths in the Journal of Psychopharmacology involved the survey of 2,500 reported users of the compound DMT. The questions related specifically to the participants’ most-notable “entity encounters” during their experiences on DMT, one of the widest-reported phenomenon associated with the compound, and that involves the encountering of a being of some sort, which is perceived as conscious and intelligent.
Respondents noted the senses most involved in the experience, which normally lasts about 30 minutes, were sight and extrasensory – described as emotional intuition, telepathy, etc.
“Most respondents reported that the entity had the attributes of being conscious, intelligent and benevolent. Almost three quarters of participants reported believing that the entity continued to exist after the encounter. The vast majority of participants attributed subsequent positive changes in life satisfaction (89%) and purpose (82%),” reads the study.
“That we have the capacity and are biologically predisposed for these experiences with psychedelics suggests that this may be an evolutionarily conserved process in which we are wired to detect sentient others. Historically, such a predisposition would have a significant survival value in hostile environments,” says senior author Griffiths.
Changes in emotional reactions and thinking are also commonly reported following DMT-inhalation, and 80% of people said their “fundamental perception of reality” had changed, and “more-than half” of the participants noted that while they had been atheists before, they no longer would claim to be after.
“Although we need to do more research in order to understand how these entity encounters exert positive changes in people’s lives, it’s possible that the metaphysical shock from questioning one’s worldview occasioned by these vivid, unusual experiences may play an important role in the enduring positive life changes in attitudes, moods and behavior they inspire,” says lead author Alan Davis, Ph.D., a part-time adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
5% of those surveyed described negative experiences and undesirable changes in life-satisfaction after taking the DMT, and Griffiths notes it’s important that research on the compound be done with “caution” because the effects described would be on the psychotic end of mental experiences.
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