A new study published in Scientific Reports covers analysis conducted at the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London that examined the effects of DMT on human consciousness by studying how it influences the brain. The findings reveal that the psychedelic substance creates a waking dream state in the brain, Newsweek reports.
DMT, which is found naturally in many plants and animals, has been consumed as a psychedelic drug throughout many different cultures. For example, it is the primary active ingredient in the shamanic brew Ayahuasca — made from the Brazilian “spirit vine” — that has been used by groups in the Amazon region of South America for hundreds to thousands of years.
The recent study was led by Christopher Timmermann, who spoke to Newsweek about the compound.
“DMT has remarkable effects in human consciousness. Users often report being completely immersed in alternate dimensions and interacting with beings or ‘entities.'”
The study examined 13 subjects that wore EEG caps and electrodes that tracked their brain activity following an intravenous infusion of DMT, Ars Technica reported. Following the injections, the team discovered that DMT created a decrease in alpha brain waves, which are markers of wakefulness, and an increase in theta brain waves — waves that indicate a dream state.
“From the altered brainwaves and participants’ reports, it’s clear these people are completely immersed in their experience—it’s like daydreaming only far more vivid and immersive, it’s like dreaming but with your eyes open,” Timmermann said.
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The researchers claim that the findings are the first to show how DMT affects brain waves. According to the team, the next step is to conduct a similar study using the continuous infusion of DMT for a more extended psychedelic experience that allows for more brain wave data. Another possibility is performing fMRI imaging while on DMT — something that has been done with psilocybin and LSD.
“Our sense is that research with DMT may yield important insights into the relationship between brain activity and consciousness, and this small study is a first step along that road,” said Robin Carhart-Harris, co-author of the study.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, The Beatles‘ Paul McCartney reportedly took DMT with his gallery-owner friend Robert Fraser and a couple of others.
According to McCartney, the experience connected him with God.
“We were immediately nailed to the sofa. And I saw God, this amazing towering thing, and I was humbled,” he said, per People, via MSN.
“It was huge. A massive wall that I couldn’t see the top of, and I was at the bottom,” he added.