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mr peabody

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DMT – The differences between oral administration and smoking

by Barbara Bauer, MS | Psychedelic Science Review | 11 Aug 2020

Research is indicating that a less efficient metabolic pathway plays a role in DMT’s psychoactivity.

Psychedelic Science Review
has previously written about the biosynthesis of DMT in living organisms. Understanding this three-step process is essential in psychedelic research, particularly because some researchers hypothesize that DMT may act as a neurotransmitter. DMT is also of interest to psychedelic researchers because of its role in the effects of the beverage ayahuasca.

But the biosynthesis of DMT is only one side of the coin. How the body metabolizes DMT in the brain is critical to getting the complete picture of the compound’s pharmacokinetics. Although the metabolism of DMT has been extensively studied, examining what is known reveals gaps where further research can focus its efforts.

The all-important route of administration

The metabolism, and therefore the effects of DMT, depend on how it enters the body and then the brain (the route of administration). People taking DMT orally experience virtually nothing. The absence of activity is due to monoamine oxidase enzymes (MAOs) in the body, which rapidly break down DMT into inactive metabolites before enough of it can reach the brain (another way to say DMT has low bioavailability when given orally).

However, if DMT is given orally along with a compound that inhibits MAOs, then some of it has time to pass through the digestive system and reach the brain before being metabolized. This is why ayahuasca causes effects when a person drinks it. Ayahuasca is made using other plants that contain MAO inhibitors like harmine, harmane, and harmaline.

Injecting (intravenously or intramuscularly) or smoking (vaporization and inhalation) DMT bypasses some of the first metabolism in the liver that oral administration undergoes. Therefore, the compound is pharmacologically active when administered via these routes.

The mechanisms and products of DMT metabolism

As previously mentioned, much of DMT that is orally administered is broken down by MAOs. The two primary metabolites are:​
  • DMT-N-oxide (DMT-NO)​
  • Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA)​
Other metabolites include:​
  • N-methyltryptamine (NMT)​
  • 6-hydroxy-DMT (6-OH-DMT)​
  • 6-OH-DMT-N-oxide (6-OH-DMT-NO)​
In the early 1980s, Barker et al. discovered that IAA resulted from the oxidative and direct deamination of DMT by MAOs. DMT-NO is produced via N-oxidation of the 2-aminoethyl group on DMT.

Research is showing that there are other metabolic routes for the breakdown of DMT. In 2014, Gomes et al. found that DMT can also be broken down by peroxidase enzymes, resulting in other metabolites including:​
  • Hydroxy-DMT (DMT-OH)​
  • N,N-dimethyl-N-formyl-kynuramine (DMFK)​
  • N,N-dimethyl-kynuramine (DMK)​
In terms of the mechanism at work, the authors stated that “Oxidation of DMT by peroxidases apparently uses the common peroxidase cycle involving the native enzyme, compound I and compound II.”

Different routes = different mechanisms = different effects

Scientists are finding out that there are different metabolic pathways for the breakdown of DMT in the brain, depending on whether it is taken orally or smoked. And, not surprisingly, the data suggest that the subjective effects of DMT depend on the route of administration.

In 2015, Riba et al. observed differences in the metabolic pathways of DMT breakdown in volunteers, depending on whether it was smoked or taken orally. As the researchers predicted, these differences correlated with the subjective effects reported by the users.

The DMT used in the study was extracted from the root bark of the plant Mimosa tenuiflora. Isolating DMT like this for the study is essential because it removes any variables associated with the possible interactions of other compounds in the plant (the entourage effect).

The urinalysis of study participants revealed that oxidative deamination was the primary metabolic route when DMT was taken orally. These people had higher levels of IAA in their urine and no residual DMT. Specifically, IAA comprised about 97% of the compounds in the urine and DMT-NO about 3%. Notably, these subjects had no detectable DMT in their urine, demonstrating the MAO degradation pathway’s efficiency. As expected, these participants reported virtually no psychoactive effects from the oral ingestion of DMT (remember the action of MAOs in the body).



Participants who smoked the DMT had higher levels of DMT-NO in their urine, showing more activity in the N-oxidation metabolic pathway. The levels of IAA dropped to 63%, and DMT-NO increased to 28%. Also, unmetabolized DMT accounted for about 10% of the compounds in the urine. This residual DMT suggests that this degradation pathway is less efficient than MAO. All the participants in this group reported “fully psychoactive” effects from smoking the DMT.

The authors summarized the study findings by saying, “As the highly efficient MAO-dependent first-pass metabolism is circumvented by the smoked route, DMT metabolism is directed to the less efficient N-oxidation allowing the access of larger amounts of the parent compound to the central nervous system.”

This study had another significant finding. Analysis of the data revealed a statistically significant inverse correlation between the amount of IAA in the participant’s urine and their scores on the States of Consciousness Questionnaire (SCQ).

The SCQ uses seven subscales to assess several aspects of the mystical experience. The researchers observed the correlation between IAA levels in the urine and the Internal Unity subscale of SCQ. They explained that Internal Unity assesses “the sense of pure awareness and a merging with ultimate reality.” The inverse correlation means that the lower the IAA level in a participant’s urine, the higher their rating was for Internal Unity. The authors summarized these results by saying,

Though preliminary due to the small sample size [n=6], these results suggest that psychoactivity depends on the shift from oxidative deamination to N-oxidation.

Finding more pieces of the DMT puzzle

Science continues to advance the knowledge base of how and why DMT works in the brain. The effects of orally ingesting the DMT-containing brew ayahuasca, despite naturally occurring MAOs in the body, is no longer a mystery.

Now, by isolating and testing DMT in humans, the enzymatic pathways governing its metabolism and psychoactive effects are revealing themselves. Studies comparing the metabolic and subjective effects of different routes of administration of DMT offer additional insights and further reveal the complexity of nature.

 
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DMT Increased the Growth of Neurons by 40%, study*

Psilocybin alpha | 7 Sep 2021

Algernon Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage pharmaceutical development company, has confirmed in its own preclinical study, that DMT increased the growth of cortical neurons by 40% with statistical significance in one arm of the study, when compared to control. Algernon also reports that the increased growth was achieved with a sub hallucinogenic dose.

Professor David Olson of the University of California, Davis was the first to investigate the decoupling of DMT’s psychedelic effects from its therapeutic effects in an in vitro study and Algernon has now validated this important discovery with its own in vitro study conducted by Charles River Laboratories.

This initial data set is from the first part of the Company’s in vitro experiments designed to provide information on the dose and duration of infusion needed to achieve maximal cortical neurite outgrowth as well as the underlying mechanism of the drug’s action. The second data set from the study will focus on the duration of treatment time ranging from 1 hour to 72 hours and is expected to be completed by the end of October 2021.

The overall purpose of these studies is to identify a blood concentration and exposure time to target in the Company’s Phase 1 study to optimize the neuroplastic effects of DMT without triggering hallucinations.

“These exciting in vitro data provide further evidence supporting the use of DMT in stroke, and strongly suggest that low doses and short exposure times are feasible,” said Dr. Rick Strassman, author of the book DMT: The Spirit Molecule and Algernon Stroke Program Consultant.

Study Data

In the study, rat primary cortical neurons were treated with DMT or vehicle for one hour at varying concentrations, and then allowed to grow for three days, at which point the cells were fixed, stained, and examined for neurite outgrowth. Ketamine was used as a positive control. The one-hour exposure in the Algernon study is dramatically less than the 72-hour exposure window explored and reported by Olson in his experiments with DMT.

In a preliminary analysis, an increase of 40% in the number processes per cell was observed in the group treated with 30 nM DMT (p < 0.01; one-way ANOVA, Dunnett’s multiple comparison test). Significant growth was also observed at concentrations as low as 100 picomolar. These concentrations are well below measured levels in humans required to achieve psychedelic breakthrough. The positive control ketamine also stimulated process growth, although at higher concentrations than were required with DMT. Further analysis of the study data is in progress.

“We are very excited to have now independently confirmed with our own study that DMT is active in stimulating neuroplasticity,” said Christopher J. Moreau, CEO of Algernon Pharmaceuticals. “It is also vital to have shown that this activity in the neurons can be achieved with a sub hallucinogenic dose and with only 1 hour of exposure, a dramatically shorter period when compared to Olson’s study. Things are moving along very quickly, and we are looking forward to the final data set from this preclinical study and starting our Phase 1 human study as soon as possible.”

*From the article here :
 
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mr peabody

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Therapeutic effects of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT)

by Barb Bauer | Psychedelic Science Review | 9 Jun 2020

Researchers are uncovering reasons to think there’s more to DMT than just hallucinations.

DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is a naturally occurring psychoactive molecule found in plants of several genera, including Acacia, Desmodium, Mimosa, Virola, Delosperma, and Phalaris. It is the main active compound in the beverage ayahuasca, traditionally obtained from the leaves of Psychotria viridis.

DMT has also been isolated in mammals. In 1961, Axelrod was the first to demonstrate the presence of DMT in rat and human brains. A study published in Nature in 2019 generated media coverage by finding synthesis and release of DMT in the brain of rats, leading researchers to wonder if this mechanism also occurs in human brains.

The resurging interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelic compounds is setting the stage for more investigation into DMT. Typically, the primary area of interest for DMT research is its hallucinogenic effects, mostly in the context of ayahuasca. However, some studies within the last decade indicate DMT may have health benefits all its own.

Some possible therapeutic applications of DMT

In science, if you don’t understand how something works and what it does, it’s hard to figure out what you can do with it. Since Axelrod’s discovery in 1961, scientists have been wondering why DMT is present in humans and what it does.

In 2013, Frescka et al. published a review paper in the Journal of Neural Transmission, which suggested an answer. The authors proposed that DMT may have a role in adaptive biological processes via sigma receptors such as sigma-1. “Our main conclusion is that DMT is not only neurochemically active, but also bioactive in general. Its sigma receptor actions are not so revealing for its psychedelic effects, but rather point to a universal regulatory role in oxidative stress-induced changes at the endoplasmic reticulum–mitochondria interface.”

Building on this work, the results of a 2014 study by Szabo et al. indicated that DMT (and 5-MeO-DMT, 5-methoxy-dimethyltryptamine) modulates the inflammatory response via the sigma-1 receptor in humans. In a 2015 review article discussing psychedelics and immunomodulation, Szabo summarized, “The mentioned studies demonstrate and propose new biological roles for DMT, which may act as a systemic endogenous regulator of inflammation and immune homeostasis.”

In 2016, Carbonaro and Gatch summarized the neuropharmacology literature on DMT. They observed that the literature indicated DMT might be useful for treating anxiety, substance abuse, inflammation, and cancer. However, at the time, they cautioned, “Experimental studies have been few and it is premature to conclude that DMT may have clinically relevant uses.”

In a 2018 study using rats, researchers found that DMT (and other psychedelics) increased the number of synapses in the brain. In addition to this, the authors stated, “…serotonergic psychedelics are capable of robustly increasing neuritogenesis [growth of neurons] and/spinogenesis [growth of spines on neurons] both in vitro and in vivo.” These changes were seen in areas of the brain that regulate emotion and mood.

Lifting the veil covering DMT

Although the studies so far are intriguing, DMT has a long way to go. It faces the same stigma that has stalled research on other psychedelic compounds. However, compounds like psilocybin and LSD are being examined in a new light, hopefully laying a path for DMT to follow.

Frecska et al. eloquently summarized the overall paradigm change needed for harnessing the potential benefits of DMT: “…while DMT is a substance which produces powerful psychedelic experiences, it is better understood not as a hallucinogenic drug of abuse, but rather an agent of significant adaptive mechanisms that can also serve as a promising tool in the development of future medical therapies.”

 
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Early Clinical Research History of DMT

by Nathan White, PhD | Psychedelic Science Review | 27 Mar 2021

The psychoactive effects of DMT were discovered in 1956 by Dr Szàra.

Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) was first synthesised by Richard Manske in 1931. However, its psychoactive properties in Western medicine were not discovered until self-administrative experimentation by Dr Stephen Szara in 1956. This discovery contributed to the explosion of research regarding psychoactive compounds at the time, but like many in this class of drugs, its history of use in clinical trials has been turbulent.​

From tree to trial: self-administration experiments

The seeds from the perennial tree Anadenanthera peregrina, long used by South American tribes in the preparation of ceremonial hallucinogenic snuff, were found to contain both bufotenine and DMT. At the time, out of these two compounds, only bufotenine was known to possess hallucinogenic inducing properties. The presence of DMT within the seeds and its highly similar chemical structure to that of bufotenine alluded to the fact that DMT may also induce similar effects. To explore these effects in humans, Dr. Stephen Szára carried out the first human trials using synthesised DMT initially through self-administration experiments, eventually progressing to a group of healthy volunteers.



Through an initial series of self-administration trials taking DMT orally in March 1956, Dr Szára quickly found that the compound did not elicit any observable effects (unknowingly due to enzymes rapidly breaking down the DMT), even up to very high doses of 150 mg. In an effort to subvert the rapid breakdown, succeeding trials were administered intramuscularly, starting with 30 mg of DMT. This concentration was enough to result in observable pupil dilation and mild disturbances in perception, with the effects far more evident when the dosage was increased to 75 mg.

Within 5 minutes of administration of the higher dose, Dr Szára noted a distinct physiological response of tingling sensations, increased pupil dilation, and an elevation in blood pressure and heart rate. These sensations were accompanied by visual hallucinations consisting of icons, colourful geometry, and mask-wearing entities. At the peak of his experience, involuntary hand movements were present, and his ‘visual space’ was completely filled with optical hallucinations to the degree where he could not describe what was in his immediate surroundings. After 45 minutes, most of his ‘symptoms’ had largely subsided, and thus, he was able to describe his subjective experience.

When compared to other psychedelic compounds such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and mescaline from his previous experiences, Szára noted that the effects arrived and dissipated in a ‘wave-like form’ though the duration and the intensity of each compound differed. Specifically, the DMT induced symptoms were rapid in onset but had a relatively short duration compared to other psychoactive compounds.

A study in 1955 showed that in rats, DMT is broken down by amine oxidase enzymes with 3-indoleacetic-acid (3-IAA), the main product produced. Dr Szára found 3-IAA in both his blood and urine samples, with the concentration of 3-IAA rapidly increasing after just a few minutes and returning to normal levels after around 90 minutes. Overall, there was a distinct lack of any unaltered DMT in the urine, thus supporting the idea that DMT is rapidly broken-down following administration and provides an explanation of the brevity of the experience.

Dr Szára lastly noted that DMT invoked a unique euphoric response within him compared to other psychoactive compounds such as LSD, which resulted in heightened anxiety.​

The first group trials of DMT

Upon Dr Szára experiencing first-hand the effects of DMT and demonstrating its relative safety, within months the trials progressed to a group of healthy volunteers.

An intramuscular injection (0.8 mg/kg) of DMT was administered to a group of male and female medical professionals between the ages of 20 and 42. Subjective accounts experienced by the volunteers were recorded by Dr Szára alongside measurements of blood pressure, heart rate and pupil dilation.

Effects were felt as early as three minutes by several participants with some experiencing illusions, hallucinations, and waves of euphoria. Alterations of body perception and sensory stimuli, depersonalisation, and involuntary movements were also noted.

Verbatim remarks were also recorded with reports from one participant including: “Everything is brighter, the whole world is significantly brighter” and “’Oh, a new wave! The pictures come in such quantities that I do not even know what to do with them!”

Some physiological parameters were relatively consistent across all volunteers (including the experiments Dr Szára conducted on himself) such as slight elevation in blood pressure and heart rate, vegetative symptoms including loss of awareness, dilation of the pupils, and intensification of visual hallucinations with closed eyes. The rate of DMT metabolism in the form of 3-IAA concentration collected from the urine of volunteers was consistent with the analysis of the blood and urine of Dr Szára’s self-experiments. This further supports the rapid yet short experience that DMT induces.

The early experiments conducted in the late 1950s highlighted the relative safety of DMT, its potent hallucinogenic inducing effects, and the high degree of consistency regarding the symptoms it induces across different people. This work laid the foundation for future trials carried out by Dr Szára and also more recent clinical research from teams led by Dr Rick Strassman in the early 1990s, and Dr Robin Carhart-Harris in the late 2010s.​

UK starting first DMT clinical trials to treat depression

In partnership with Dr Carhart-Harris at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College London, Small Pharma will soon be carrying out the first DMT clinical trials of its kind in the UK. Over 60 volunteers are enrolled over both phases of the trial which aims to assess the safety, tolerability, and how the drug is broken down in volunteers both healthy and those suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). A series of objective and subjective measurements are to be carried out similar to previous trials though this is the first study to evaluate the effectiveness of DMT-assisted psychotherapy in those living with MDD.​

Conclusion

Clinical research regarding DMT has been intermittent since its initial discovery, largely due to political hurdles preventing the study of the compound. These early published studies have shown the relative safety of DMT, and now finally researchers are working to further interrogate the effects of these compounds in a therapeutic context.

 
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Integrating the DMT Experience

by Sam Woolfe | 13 Sep 2021

One of the most common features (and frustrations) associated with the DMT experience is that despite being profound, it can also be very difficult to recall. DMT has a dream-like quality to it, in that you quickly lose your memory of the DMT trip as you return to normal waking consciousness. Terence McKenna drew attention to this quality of the experience when he said: “the way a dream melts away is the way a DMT trip melts away,” adding that “there is a self-erasing mechanism in it.”

Many people who experience DMT, especially at the breakthrough levels, will find that they simply can’t remember the bulk of what they experienced. This is something quite unique to the DMT flash and I think part of it comes down to the extremely ineffable nature of the DMT experience, which you could even call hyper-ineffable, with certain aspects not only being indescribable but also unrememberable.

Some people might accept this is a DMT quirk and think nothing of it, whereas others might feel that a lot of important knowledge and insight was lost when the amnesia set in. Whatever your attitude may be about DMT and memory loss, one challenge remains: how can you integrate a DMT experience that is difficult to remember?

In this article, I’d like to share my own experiences of DMT and memory loss, relating to one experience, in particular, that took place six years ago, but which I still mull over sometimes. This has been my most profound psychedelic experience to date, yet it has also been the most difficult to remember, with essentially most of the trip (apparently) erased from my memory. However, over the years, I have still been able to integrate the experience by way of helpful discussions, enlightening books, and productive introspection. First, here’s a brief description of what my experience was like.

A Mystical DMT Experience

One day, I decided to go on a solo psychedelic journey and took 430mg of mescaline HCl. This experience was highly profound in itself, with emotional and life-affirming insights. It felt like the negativity bias had been flushed out of me, replaced instead by existential joy. At the peak of the experience or perhaps just after, however, I had the thought of smoking DMT. I wanted to aim for a breakthrough.

I got everything ready and, for the first time, I had zero anticipatory fear or anxiety, something that was usually quite prominent any previous time before blasting off. I think the lack of pre-trip jitters (and the mescaline, no doubt) helped me to go deeper into the experience than I otherwise might have.

I was ‘congratulated’ for taking the last hit by some presence or presences, to my amusement. After that, I began to lay down and remember a tsunami of colour and patterns enveloping me. I’m not sure I even remember feeling my body completely lay down; my sense of self and body was snuffed out in an instant.

From this point on, the memories are hazy and sparse. My clearest memory was having what felt to be universal knowledge. Every question was answered. There were no mysteries left to be solved. These insights felt as clear as the understanding that follows when you finally solve a problem you’ve been working on for a long time: the immediate relief of clear understanding. There came a point though where I had to leave this realm of universal knowledge and I was told (or knew) that as I was leaving, I wouldn’t be able to bring this knowledge back with me. The cosmic secrets had to remain in this realm and this realm only. A pity, I thought.

I do have a snapshot memory of then traveling through a psychedelic wormhole or tunnel, ending up in a realm with ever-shifting activity. This activity was going on for what felt like an eternity – I definitely had the sense of being away for aeons and certainly could not imagine that there would be a time or place in which this experience was not happening.

But eventually, I gained some perception of my body, feeling the pressure of the floor against my back. At this point, though, my ‘body’ felt nothing more than pulsating, pleasurable energy – everything about me seemed to have melted into the totality of the experience. As I regained more bodily awareness, at a certain point I opened my eyes, as if in shock. I saw multi-layered DMT-like patterns above me, so I was half in my room, half in this heavenly realm. I closed my eyes again and I was still somewhat back in hyperspace. There were entities engaged in all sorts of frenzied, zany activities.

After opening my eyes a second time, I went into the fetal position and began sobbing, feeling like pure consciousness. I had felt the presence of the divine: this titanic, loving, and merciful force. I had the feeling of being shot out of some cosmic womb, reborn, and given a second chance at life. I was utterly stunned and in disbelief about the whole experience. Slowly, piece-by-piece, I regained my sense of identity and my memories, realising I had a life here on Earth and had returned to it.

After the Experience

I have thought about this experience a lot since it happened six years ago, but one of my personal frustrations has been how little I remember and whether my thoughts about the experience or what I wrote down some time after the experience even approaches what actually occurred.

There are many things, nonetheless, that have helped me to integrate this experience (and other DMT experiences), despite the gaps in memory. Before describing these techniques, I’d first like to touch on why integration has helped me and how it might benefit you, as well.

The Benefits of Integration

Integrating this particular experience has helped me to sort through some of the confusion, such as endless questions and doubts about what certain elements mean. You want to remain mindful after such an intense experience, as there is often a difference between healthy introspection and unhealthy obsessive thinking.

Integration, for me, has been a process of creating a clear and meaningful narrative that benefits my attitudes, beliefs, and actions, rather than forget about the experience as something ineffectual and inconsequential. If you are struggling with memory gaps and confusion about a DMT experience, you may find peace of mind by accepting that the experience is likely to remain deeply mysterious to some degree and will always be open to re-interpretation.

Integration has also motivated me to explore different ideas and belief systems, especially those relating to transpersonal, humanistic, and Jungian psychology, spirituality, mysticism, world religions, and wisdom traditions. In these explorations, I found connections to my DMT experience, which helped to add new meaning to the experience, by providing frameworks in which to interpret it and use it to benefit myself and others.

As an atheist confronted with ‘the divine’, I also felt a need to reconcile my atheistic worldview with this undeniable experience. This is not a process that has finished (which is true of integration, in general), but so far viewing this divine quality and experience as something human and interior (rather than necessarily exterior) has been productive. You may likewise discover that integration will allow you to find more wholeness, through the reconciliation of different aspects of yourself, as well as the expression of unrealised aspects.

6 methods for integrating a difficult-to-remember experience

1. Let Integration Happen Organically

What I’ve found is that the process of integrating a DMT experience will happen organically when I stop trying to force interpretations onto it and when I give up obsessing about what I might or might not remember. Often, more memories may arise further down the line or existing memories can become clarified or take on a new meaning.

Integrating a DMT experience that is hard to remember might just require patience, time, and being mindful of any new ways in which the experience seems to influence your thoughts, beliefs, opinions, choices, behaviour, and lifestyle. Integration can be organically going on without you even being aware of it.

2. Read Widely

For me personally, there have also been spontaneous moments of integration or clarity when reading a book, article, or someone else’s trip report. A word, phrase, or sentence can seem to bring a memory into focus, create an emotional reaction that feels meaningful, or elicit some sort of constructive thought or insight.

I can give a few examples of books that seemed to help with the process of integration. One was the sci-fi novel Star Maker (1937) by Olaf Stapledon (see here for my review of the book). It tells the story of a nameless narrator who travels through the cosmos, eventually coming into contact with the ‘Star Maker’, the divine creator of everything. The description of this meeting with the Star Maker helped to clarify my own contact with ‘the divine’ during my DMT experience.

Another book was the novel Narcissus and Goldmund (1930), written by Hermann Hesse. There were just a couple of phrases that reignited my memory of the DMT experience:​
At any rate, Goldmund had shown him that a man destined for high things can dip into the lowest depths of the bloody, drunken chaos of life, and soil himself with much dust and blood, without becoming small and common, without killing the divine spark within himself, that he can err through the thickest darkness without extinguishing the divine light and the creative force inside the shrine of his soul.

The phrases ‘divine spark’ and ‘divine light’ helped me to recall how, coming out of my DMT experience, I felt that ‘the divine’ was something in me. The reason these phrases stood out to me, pregnant with meaning, might have been because this aspect of ‘divinity’ in the self held some importance that I should pay attention to. While I am still unsure and sceptical about what this inner ‘divine’ quality actually is, I do believe it is a positive quality and that if I can focus on that feeling of the divine, it will lead to greater well-being and more positive experiences and actions.

One more book that I’ve come across that benefited the process of integration was The Idea of the Holy (1917), written by the philosopher and theologian Rudolf Otto. In this book, Otto introduces the concept of the numinous, which stands for ‘the holy’ or ‘the divine’, which Otto conceives in a particular way.

He argued, firstly, that this experience of the divine, the “wholly other”, was at the basis of all religions, something that I understood, based on my experience with DMT. I came out of the experience thinking that my encounter with this powerful force, this divine ‘other’, reminded me of descriptions of prophets or Biblical characters being overwhelmed by the presence of God, such as Moses’ vision of the burning bush and Saul’s Road to Damascus experience, when Jesus appears to him, an experience that was so overwhelmingly powerful it caused Saul to fall to his knees.

Otto describes the experience of the numinous as involving fear, mystery, and fascination. This mixture of fear and fascination towards the power of the divine was very relatable and Otto’s elaboration on the numinous helped me to further clarify my experience, although it still remains shrouded in mystery, which, after all, seems to be an essential quality of this divine presence.

So, if you are struggling to both remember and integrate a DMT experience, I would recommend searching for books, articles, and trip reports that relate to the particular themes of your own experience. Reading fiction, non-fiction, and anecdotes can, when you least expect it, trigger some recall or allow you to look at your experience from a different light, helping you to make sense of it. While you may not remember much of your experience, what you do remember can, as it turns out, contain a great deal of potential for meaning and growth.

3. Talk Openly About It

One of the most effective ways to aid integration, when your experience is difficult to remember, is to talk about it openly with someone else. You can turn around an experience in your head for years and wonder about what it means, but sometimes the perspective of someone else can lead you to conclusions you might not have reached on your own. This is especially true when the person you’re talking to has had similar experiences, is aware of such experiences, or is knowledgeable about areas of psychology – such as transpersonal psychology – which deal with altered states of consciousness.

When I was seeking out a therapist once, I found someone who specialised in transpersonal psychology and remember thinking this person could help me examine my DMT experiences in more depth. I believed the positive nature of the experience could help me in my depressive state. When I first met the therapist, however, and voiced this intention of mine, the reaction was not what I had hoped for. Rather than view these experiences as meaningful material that could benefit me, she stressed that because I had depression I should not have used psychedelics, that I put myself at risk of harm, and that if I were to continue therapy, I would have to avoid all drug use.

Not only was this response surprising, given her training as a transpersonal psychologist, but it was also anathema to the integration I needed, as it cast the experience in a negative light, with ‘wrongness’ attached to it. Needless to say, I decided not to see this therapist again. If you are trying to integrate a DMT experience, it is crucial to be selective of who you speak to and to avoid talking about it further if you are met with any judgement. Integration is a highly personal and vulnerable process and so, if other people are to help you in this process, they will need to be open, empathetic, and non-judgemental.

Fortunately, I saw two other therapists whose attitudes about my DMT experiences were completely different. And I am grateful that I was able to discuss these experiences so openly, especially considering that these therapists were not specifically trained (as far as I’m aware) in psychedelic integration. I talked about some elements of my mystical experience with DMT and my frustration with being unable to remember much of it.

Interestingly, both therapists had similar responses to this frustration of mine. They said something to the effect of “you’ll remember what is most important about the experience”, with one therapist saying that I was lucky to have had it, as it is a rare experience. I think this helped to make the process of integration much smoother, as it made me realise I didn’t have to obsess about what I do and don’t remember, or regret not being able to remember more, as the most meaningful aspects are still there, and that the experience is something to be immensely grateful for.

Again, even if an experience is hard to remember, this doesn’t mean integration isn’t going on unconsciously, affecting the way you view yourself, others, and the world at large. However, because a lot of this process is unconscious, you may find it beneficial to seek out a therapist who can work with you in becoming aware of this material and processing it, which can be conducive to personal growth.

Others find that psychedelic integration circles offer the ideal environment in which to discuss and make sense of their psychedelic experiences.

4. Write About the Experience

Writing about DMT experiences that are difficult to remember is another great way of trying to integrate them. Fleshing out ideas in writing is a different process than speaking about those ideas. You can write in a stream of consciousness sort of way, writing down whatever thoughts about the experience arise moment-to-moment. You can write in a divergent, creative way, producing as many new and interesting avenues of interpretation as you can and seeing which interpretation for you, subjectively, holds the most meaning and significance.

For me personally, writing – whether that’s privately or publicly in the form of articles – has allowed me to make a lot more sense of my DMT experiences than I think I could achieve through just introspection and conversations with others. For example, when I get some moments of clarity – moments where memories of DMT experiences start flooding into conscious awareness – I have made sure to make a note of that memory, usually as notes on my phone, or in a notepad if I have one nearby. These moments of clarity are fleeting, but trying to capture them in written form can help you create a clearer picture of the DMT experience, even if what you write down seems harder to relate to once the memory fades again.

5. Recreate the Context of the Experience

Context-dependent memory refers to the phenomenon whereby it is easier to retrieve certain memories when the context in which the memory was formed is replicated. For example, if you are struggling to remember what a DMT experience felt like, but you were listening to particular music during the trip, re-listening to that music could help you to retrieve memories of the visual, emotional, and conceptual components of the experience. The more you can do to try to recall the experience, the easier it will be to integrate.

Another aspect of context-dependent memory is state-dependent memory: the phenomenon in which it is easier to recall a memory if you are in the same state – or a similar state – in which the memory was formed. One possible reason DMT experiences can be so hard to remember is that the memories relating to such experiences (or at least some aspects of them, anyway) are state-dependent. So, if you can put yourself in the same physical or mental state in which the memory was formed, or a similar state, you may find it easier to retrieve the memories of the experience in question, which may provide you with valuable information.

You can access state-dependent memories in a variety of ways. One way would be to use DMT again, as this would mentally and physically put you in the same state in which the memory was formed relating to a previous experience. You may not even need to take a high dose, as even a light DMT experience may be similar enough in its quality to trigger the retrieval of memories.

Since I’ve not tried this, I can’t personally speak on the effectiveness of using DMT again to retrieve memories. However, I remember that when using cannabis, I would sometimes have vivid memories – like snapshots of hyperspace, imbued with emotions – of previous DMT experiences (although it’s hard to say which particular experiences they relate to).

Of course, if you don’t use cannabis or don’t want to, this doesn’t mean you can’t retrieve the memories in other ways. I have also remembered DMT experiences under the influence of a different psychedelic, as well as experienced short moments of recall during meditation. It seems that the ‘similar’ state you need to be in to remember a DMT experience can encompass a range of altered states.

6. Prioritise the Emotional Dimension

While many aspects of the DMT experience can be difficult to remember (e.g. the sequence of events and various details), usually one of the strongest impressions of the experience is its emotional quality. It can be easier to question and interpret how the entities and hyperspace appeared to look than how one felt entering hyperspace, traversing hyperspace, and then coming out of hyperspace.

Many strong emotions and feelings may be involved in the DMT experience, such as awe, bliss, euphoria, joy, unconditional love, gratitude, fear, panic, and the feeling of being overwhelmed. By taking the time to really feel into the emotional aspect of these experiences, you can let your mind freely engage with them, seeing what meaning arises.

Emotionally charged memories may be connected to important insights and lessons. For instance, you might recall how you felt when experiencing love and comfort from the entities during the experience. You may realise that this was connected to greater well-being and so decide for yourself that in order to experience this greater sense of well-being in daily life, it is wise to try to treat yourself just as the entities did. Part of integrating this lesson may involve more attention placed on self-care and self-compassion. This is just one possible interpretation, of course. Integrating the emotional aspect of the DMT experience will always be highly personal.

By prioritising the emotional dimension, you may find you can remember more details of your DMT experience, as well as make more sense of it, offering you some nuggets of wisdom when you least expect it.

A DMT experience might be brief and hard to remember, but it can also be extremely powerful and rich. With patience, self-awareness, and conscious effort, you can unearth meaning and benefits from a single experience over the course of many years.

*From the article here :
 
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