A study has taken a look at the real-life experiences of people using N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, more commonly referred to as DMT.
Study author Stephen Kagan explained that while more research was needed into dosing and the brain on DMT, closer study of the experiences of DMT is needed as growing movements push for legalization.
"People who smoke DMT, and can recall their experiences in detail, frequently describe seeing vivid and detailed geometric structures, experienced synesthesia, visions of alternate worlds," Kagan wrote in the study, "encounters with strange autonomous entities and divine beings, interactions with complex technological objects, profound emotional and mystical experiences, and being transported to unusual and complex hyperdimensional places."
Kagan looked at 100 trip reports from various DMT users that are already available, based on real-world experiences. These came from sources including YouTube and drug education site Erowid, where people report their experiences of different drugs under titles ranging from "very dreamlike" to "into the mind of God".
The experiences were transcribed (where in video format) and the contents were analyzed and categorized, based on the types of experiences described.
The experiences were broken down into the categories of Places, Objects, Entities, Feelings, and Attributes, which were further broken down (for instance, the Places category contains experiences of domes, caves, space, and hyperdimensional places).
"In the majority of reports, people who encountered complex visual and synaesthetic phenomena and had the experience of entering alternate realities did not describe their experiences as being manifestations of their own minds and frequently described what they encountered as being autonomous of themselves and independent of their influence," the study reads.
"Some people also described the content of their experiences as being more real than real. This often meant that what they experienced was more vibrant, complex, varied or detailed than what they normally experienced in their daily lives. In most cases the ability to perceive their normal surrounding reality did not remain intact and if it did, then the content and structure of their DMT experiences were superimposed upon and within the external world."
Some of the more interesting "entities" seen by DMT users included "gods:mythic", "jester:clown", "elves:goblins" and a rather sinister category of "disembodied". Humanoids were the most-encountered of the reported entities at 36 percent, with more unusual "living machines" appearing in 16 percent of experiences, narrowly beating snakes and dragons on 15 percent. As reassuring as "humanoid" sounds, the experiences were far from usual than regular humanoid humans.
"Sometimes they appear as aliens, family members, have strange shaped bodies or heads, limbs with extra joints or that separate in unusual ways," the study reads. "Their clothing varied from spacesuits to tribal to that of ancient Egyptians or Greeks and their skin varied in color, sometimes blue, red or golden. Their language was usually telepathic or easily understood."
In many of the experiences, the hallucinated entities acted as guides, imparting wisdom whether they were an insectoid or a simple geometric shape.
Kagan had originally intended for the research to explore the relationship between reported entities and reported spaces where these "encounters" occurred. However, during the research, he realized that this could only be achieved through categorization, which revealed a greater diversity of experiences of places and entities.
"With the categories and content found here, we can now build a mature survey for gathering more comprehensive data and we may be able to develop better models of the psychedelic experience in general that can help therapists and clients as well as guides and explorers," he added in the discussion.
"This may especially be useful as there could be similarities between DMT and high dose Psilocybin experiences. In numerous reports subjects claimed that their DMT experiences were some of the most profound and transformative experiences of their lives. Further investigation of this is certainly warranted and if this is true, because DMT is faster acting it may be more manageable as a clinical treatment than psilocybin."