A Fascinating Look at DMT: The Spirit Molecule


🌙 Written by Kai Riverstone, international lucid dreaming expert and teacher. Learn how to lucid dream in 7 days or less.

DMT, or Dimethyltryptamine, is an enigmatic substance that definitely deserves some extra attention. Maybe you’ve heard of it yourself – if you have, you probably know it as a sort of far-out psychedelic drug known to transport its users into other realms.

You may have even come across some stories of people having ridiculously out-of-this-world experiences while under the influence of DMT.

Some actually believe that DMT is not only available as a drug (extracted from plants), but that it is naturally produced in our bodies.

When exactly would our bodies produce this type of substance? Well, in times where you might actually feel like your physical body has literally been transported out of this world. This can include lucid dreaming, near death experiences, or out of body experiences.

DMT trip

DMT is an interesting substance because it shares extremely similar qualities with the common chemical, serotonin, which controls our mood, sleep and memory.

It’s part of a bigger group of substances called tryptamines, which also exist in other psychedelics like magic mushrooms or LSD. Whether or not it exists in you and me is still up for debate.

If you are curious about this ethereal substance and the potentially life-changing effects it can have, you have come to the right place. After reading this post, you will be aware of all the essential information surrounding DMT. You can also check out the below video for more information on the subject.

In this article we will cover the following topics:

  • The production of DMT by the pineal gland
  • The effects of DMT on the mind
  • The stages of a DMT trip
  • The history of DMT
  • Can DMT induce a spiritual awakening?

Let’s start exploring!

The production of DMT by the pineal gland

There are a number of pretty sound theories which argue that DMT is produced in the pineal gland of our brains. If you’ve never heard of this tiny pine-cone shaped structure in the center of our brains, you should know that it’s usually associated with what we like to call the “third eye”.

Many believe that it’s the source of our connection with the supernatural, the universe, or God (I’ve experienced this to some degree when I dissolved the lucid state).

There’s even some evidence that ancient civilizations had a larger and more developed pineal gland that we do today. Some argue that this minute gland is actually the very source of human consciousness as we know it.

A DTM trip

Getting back to the topic of DMT, however, it’s fascinating to note that the substance has been found in the pineal gland of mice and rats. As both mice and humans are mammals, this could point to the possibility of it being produced in us as well, although no exact proof of this has yet been found.

The pineal gland is essentially a tiny structure inside our brains, that has been shown to influence our sleep cycles through the secretion of hormone melatonin. In the past, there have been trace amounts of DMT found in the pineal glad and in other locations in the body.

The links between the pineal gland and the third eye chakra have long been speculated.

It is thought that the chakra system is the movement of spirit throughout our physical bodies. Essentially, it is the animation of physical form by a spiritual being.

To simplify chakras, they can be visualised as circular motions of energy which maintain the best possible function of the human system. These centres of energy are intrinsically connected to the organs of the body but are not necessarily located the same position as the relevant organ.

The third eye chakra is located in the middle of a persons forehead, very close to the pineal gland.

You can look back through the history of many esoteric traditions and find that they believed in the connection between the third and and the spiritual dimension. Through the third eye, it is thought that we gain access to our highest source of energy.

Meditation can really help you relax and reduce stress levels! It also balances the chakras and opens the third eye

Unfortunately, as time went by the pineal gland was regarded with much less significance than in ancient times. It came to be thought of as a mere vestigial organ and the connection to spirituality was given less prominence.

The pineal gland is responsible for regulating circadian rhythms in our body, so it is intrinsically linked to our perception of time. This is where the link to DMT comes in.

It would make perfect sense the pineal glad – the resting place of the soul and the portal into the spiritual world would be a fitting home for the spirit molecule – DMT.

The effects of DMT on the mind

Perhaps the most fascinating part of DMT is the effects that it has on its users. The trips described by those who took the drug all have a baffling number of similarities, and here the word trip is definitely applicable when it comes to describing the overall experience.

That’s because the subjects all seem to describe their experiences as a kind of journey into a different realm, in which they literally felt like they had physically travelled to another reality.

After smoking the drug, the person begins to fall into what looks like a deep sleep to outside viewers. This sleep will last anywhere from five to fifteen minutes, and while the person could even appear unconscious to the outside world, internally they are experiencing a wave of sensations and physical symptoms. Each trip seems to include intense auditory and visual hallucinations, along with an evident change in consciousness.

But what effects does DMT actually have on your brain?

Recent studies have given us a remarkable insight into the spirit molecule’s effects on the brain and mind of a user. By measuring the electrical brain activity, scientists are able to monitor what is occurring during a trip.

In order to truly understand the consciousness of human beings, psychedelics are a vital topic of research.

As the poet William Blake once wrote:

If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.

DMT works alongside the serotonin system in the brain. Serotonin has a huge impact on consciousness and attention. In many ways, DMT is closely linked with serotonin. So much so that if a serotonin receptor is blocked inside the brain, the effects of a DMT are largely hampered.

It has been established that when someone is in a DMT trip with their eyes closed, the effects shown by the brain are identical to someone who is being subjected to images with their eyes open. 

Basically, people are seeing with their eyes shut!

At the peak of a DMT experience, the theta wave increases inside the brain. This wave is associated with dreaming, which suggests that our dreams have a lot in common with the DMT experience.

There has not been enough concrete evidence to definitively confirm this, but it is speculated among scientists that DMT could be acting upon the specific parts of the brain which allow us to recognise faces, intentions or signals from others.

Many people report that a DMT trip is cleansing, and can remove baggage that they may have carried for long periods of their lives. This may be due to the depth of the experience, which acts as a reset button for the persons perception of their reality.

There are many reports of people alleviating mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety or phobias through the use of DMT and other hallucinogenic substances.

The stages of a DMT trip

The DMT trip can be broken down into a series of stages which are commonly reported among users. The shared experiences are a fascinating topic of debate.

Users all report the experiences in distinct stages. Right after smoking, auditory hallucinations begin to take place, which include a buzzing in the ears and something that apparently resembles the sound of wrapping plastic being torn apart.

Next, the subjects describe entering the DMT hyperspace, where the real adventure begins.

This is where it really begins to get “woo-woo”, as all of those who took the drug seem to report coming into contact with otherworldly entities or beings.

The entities take the shape of strange creatures that include fairies, aliens or elves. They’re also described as being playful and clever, and seem to be trying to guide or help the subject in some way, often offering special insights.

Imagine coming face to face with these beings all the while experiencing crazy psychedelic colors and swirling fractals.

An overwhelming majority of DMT users claim to have been transported to a place where they come into contact with aliens who somehow communicate with them, either with actual words, telepathically, or in some other indescribable way.

This makes some people wonder if DMT is a substance that opens up doors to alternate realities, dimensions or even parallel universes.

Those that have taken the drug describe that experiences – and the beings that they met, especially – to have felt so real that this theory could definitely be plausible.

This may be similar to what we experience in our dreams. We do travel to different realities that can sometimes feel incredibly realistic, both on a mental and even physical level, right?

In the dream world, we can transcend the physical limitations of the human body and the planet earth. For example, people can morph into other people in the blink of an eye. If we reach an obstacle, we can simply defy the laws of gravity and fly over it.

Psychedlic trips are thought to be similar to dreams, as things which can appear “normal” and “mundane” in everyday life become animated and seemingly break charachter.

Most of the time, a DMT trip happens while a person is stationary, but the movement is happening inside their brain, much like our dreams. We can travel to other worlds, create incredible scenarios and interact with all kinds of beings in this state.

A significant part of the trip is commonly described by users as “meeting the lady.”

This is an encounter with a female entity who communicates to the person in various ways. Some people report the lady signifying them to relax, and not to fight to dissolving of their ego.

This lady character then leads a person through the cosmos, revealing truths about existence and the nature of our reality.

Some might say this is spiritual nonsense, but the frequent reporting of it by people means it is worthy of being discussed.

Perhaps there’s a connection between DMT, dreams, and alternate universes. For now, all we can really do is dive deeper into the experiences available to us and wait to see if more tangible proof comes up in the future.

The history of DMT

All we can really be sure of now is that DMT use has been around for thousands of years – about 4,000 at least. In 1990, two mummies were discovered in Argentina and were found buried alongside a pipe and the remnants of a plant called Anadenanthera colubrina.

The plant wasn’t just any native shrub, though. It’s a source of DMT, and all of the signs point to the theory that ancient South Americans were pretty familiar with the substance. The use of Ayahuasca throughout South America has also been recorded since the 1600s at least, and has recently become a pretty widespread practice, not only among natives.

DMT is astonishingly common throughout nature. In fact, it’s found in over 60 different plants. In the early 20th century, the substance was synthesised which made it easier to consume as a drug in different forms, from smoking to snorting or injecting.

At the turn of the twentieth century, DMT was discovered in its natural form by a Brazilian chemist called Oswalfo Goncalves de Lima. By isolating the alkaloid which he subsequently named nigerina from the root bard of a plant called jurma preta.

It was later discovered that the substance that he had extracted was an impure form of DMT, due to it containing an atom of oxygen.

Fast forward to 1959, and Goncalves de Lima would present some American chemists with a sample of the plant. DMT when then confirmed as being an ingredient in the plants material.

Since then, DMT has been identiied in anumber of other organisms – over fifity plant species which span across ten families. Interestingly, the substance was also found to be in four animal species; three mammalians and one gorgonian. This is when the potential link between DMT production and humans was first established.

The first time that DMT was discovered to be a hallucinogenic drug was when Hungarian chemist Stephen Szara drew an extract from a host plant and injected it into his muscle. From then onward, the psychedelic elements of DMT have been much researched and debated among users and scientists alike.

Another breakthrough was made when it was discovered that DMT was frequently used by Amazonian tribes.

These indigenous people had been preparing the plants which contain the molecule for many generations in order to evoke spiritual psychedelic experiences.

But what about the legal history of DMT?

In many Western countries, DMT is classed a an illegal hallucinogenic substance similar to magic mushrooms or LSD. This controversial as there have been no known cases of overdose from DMT, and among users, it is though to be a natural, spiritually-revealing substance.

In the UK, DMT is a class A drug. In America it is also illegal, but some cities have begun to decriminalise all ehteogenic plants including ayahuasca.

Can DMT induce a spiritual awakening?

The links between spiritual awakening and psychedelic trips have been well documented through peoples personal experiences. DMT is referred to as the “spirit molecule”, and has intrinsic ties to the spiritual plane.

Pioneers of phychedlic drugs like Timothy Leary in the 1960’s stated that the experience was capable of providing a “chemical enlightenment.”

He argued that there was no need to spend years practicing spirituality in order to reach a state of awakening – it could be achieved through the responsible usage of substances like LSD.

DMT is now often used by spiritual seekers in order to get a glimpse of the elusive state described as “enlightenment.” The self expansion that it provides is thought to provoke an ego-death, where one becomes aware of their existence as a spiritual being having a human experience.

What exactly is a spiritual awakening?

The process of spiritual awakening is dismissed by some as being a myth, and this is largely down to the difficult nature of explaining it. In Buddhism, the state is referred to as “Nirvana” or enlightenment. It is a state of no-mind, where the limitations of human life are transcended and a person sees through the veil of reality, so to speak.

The problem with trying to define a spiritual awakening is similar to the issues faced by people trying to describe the DMT experience.

Both are beyond words.

Zen Buddhists have a saying “Those who speak do not know, and those who know do not speak.” The mind loves to coneptualize and understand things, but spiritual awakenings are felt and experienced through something beyond the thinking mind.

And this is where it is linked to DMT. The intensity of a DMT trip catapults your consciousness into a state beyond the world of form and physical reality, into what is thought to be the world of spirit. In this state, you no longer experience yourself as a separate entity.

You become aware of your connection to everything else in existence, and that essentially, that you and everything is really one form of energy which animates the physical world. Many spiritual teachers and artists have described this state over history, but it is still thought of as an abstract concept by many people.

Many people report after a DMT trip that their anxieties and fears about life dissipate. A deep sense of peace is often a side effect of the experience. 

This could be because they have glimpsed into the vast spiritual realm and realise that everyday life is merely an experience – you could say it is the universe experiencing itself from every point of view.


DMT is obviously a very powerful tool which gives us a glimpse of another realm. It’s recent surge in popularity and the shared experiences of users confirm this.

After reading through this comprehensive guide to DMT, hopefully you have grasped the potential power that this “spirit molecule” can have. It is still a topic which is in the early stages of research and our understanding is limited, but as more and more people share their experiences of using DMT, we will gain more insights into its usefulness and how to learn from it.

Do you think it could be a useful tool in the development of human consciousness?