Does DMT Cause Schizophrenia?

Purple psychedelic silhouette of person standing

The Mystery Of The Pineal Gland

The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland in the human brain that produces melatonin; the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. It is believed by some in the medical and scientific communities that the pineal gland may also secrete DMT, a chemical compound responsible for altered states of consciousness, intense hallucinations and mystical experiences.

DMT has been discovered in the human brain in extremely small concentrations. At these concentrations, no altered states of consciousness are experienced. It is also believed that the pineal gland may contain anti-DMT enzymes that constantly break down the compound, preventing us from hallucinating.

The question becomes: are anti-DMT enzymes malfunctioning in patients with schizophrenia, resulting in too much release of DMT that may be responsible for auditory and visual hallucinations? It is believed that DMT may be released at birth, during dreams, during very traumatic experiences and death.

It would be quite difficult to measure DMT in the human brain during any of the scenarios listed above. But since we do not know what causes psychosis, besides the possibility of too much dopamine, it may be possible that DMT is uncontrollably released due to malfunctioning anti-DMT enzymes.

When DMT is used for recreational purposes, users describe a very intense psychedelic experience of vivid hallucinations, a universal consciousness and detachment from the body. These descriptions sound similar to people who have gone through near-death experiences.

In addition, it has been observed in small DMT clinical trials that participants did not experience tolerance to DMT after receiving multiple doses. Tolerance is classic after multiple, consistent doses of LSD, psilocybin and mescaline are received. If the human brain does not experience tolerance to DMT, can this be part of the reason why some schizophrenic patients hallucinate indefinitely?

The next reasonable question to ask is why would the human brain create an endogenous substance responsible for making humans hallucinate? The same question can be asked as to why the human brain contains cannabinoid receptors and a compound called anandamide.

The human brain also produces endogenous natural pain killers such as endorphins and enkephalins, which are released when a person experiences pain. The pattern seems to be quite clear: the human brain contains receptors and endogenous chemical compounds that help with pain relief, pleasure, eating and sleeping.

If DMT is produced by the pineal gland, is it possible that it may be responsible for causing schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses in millions of people worldwide?

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Unique Keys To Mental Illness

Focus photography of psychedelics used for treating mental illness

Psychedelics For All Walks Of Life

Can chemical compounds such as DMT, psilocybin, LSD and mescaline be one day utilized to treat mental illness? MDMA is already in phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of PTSD. Defeating mental illness has already proven to be a difficult challenge for the medical community, with many drugs simply not touching the pathology responsible for these destructive conditions.

Psychedelics may one day prove to be unique keys to mental illness because of the altered states of consciousness in which they provide. It’s not necessarily their mechanism of action in the brain which is proving to be useful, but the meaningful and profound experiences which they provide for users.

Many patients in clinical trials have reported relief in their anxiety and depressive symptoms after having meaningful trips on psilocybin. The idea is that hallucinogens force the user to confront their troubles and unconscious conflicts directly in the trip; their madness comes out in a controlled and supervised medical setting.

Perhaps anxiety and depression is much more complex than the monoamine hypothesis of not having enough serotonin circulating in the synaptic cleft. Perhaps the reason why psychedelics are proving to work against these mental illnesses is because they directly tackle the unconscious conflicts which have gone haywire; psychedelics help the user untangle the intricate and sticky unconscious webs.

One exciting point about hallucinogens is that they’re non-addictive; no one wakes up everyday and states, “I want to trip on ibogaine today.” This is because hallucinogens provide such powerful experiences, that the mind simply does not have energy to “trip” on a consistent basis. This prevents users from becoming addicted.

Throughout history, psychedelics have been regarded as sacred medicines used for guidance, learning and healing. They were even previously used in the field of psychiatry in the 1950s before they left the laboratory and blew up into the free love social movement. In return, the Nixon administration viewed hallucinogens as a threat to the mind and soul of America’s youth and made them schedule I drugs; the research was buried underground.

As more traction is gained regarding the research studies on psychedelics, maybe one day we will be able to utilize these powerful medicines to help alleviate mental illness, and provide a higher quality of life for people from all walks of life.

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DMT: The Spirit Molecule

DMT vision of two women dancing in a set of mixed colors

DMT Versus 5-MeO-DMT

DMT and 5-MeO-DMT have been used for thousands of years in South American shamanic practices. Both substances provide a very psychedelic experience: the loss of one’s ego, the sensation of being transported into another world or dimension and obtaining information about life that you otherwise did not know before inhaling.

DMT stands for N, N-Dimethyltryptamine. The chemical has been found in many animals and plants. It is believed that the pineal gland of the human brain releases DMT during birth, traumatic and stressful situations and death. That being said, DMT is a natural molecule that is part of life.

DMT has long been used in ayahuasca brews by South American shamanic tribes. Some research is showing that ayahuasca may have benefits in treating depression, PTSD and drug addiction. Ayahuasca also helps many people break down their defense mechanisms, helping them establish new relationships and meaningful connections.

5-MeO-DMT stands for 5-Methoxy-N,N-Dimethyltryptamine. The chemical is derived from the parotid glands of the Colorado River toad (“Sonoran Desert toad”). Many claim that the DMT experience is highly visual and humbling while 5-MeO-DMT is like a near-death experience.

Michael Pollan describes his experience with 5-MeO-DMT in his book “How To Change Your Mind.” He states that he does not remember ever exhaling the smoke; the 5-MeO-DMT immediately transported him out of this world. 5-MeO-DMT is considered more powerful than psilocybin, LSD and DMT.

Like all other hallucinogens, the potential for psychological addiction is slim. Even if a person loves “tripping” on hallucinogens, their mind naturally prevents them from tripping too often. Simply put, a user will not feel determined to trip too often. Some users say that they trip once a month, every six months or even once a year.

Hallucinogens do not induce any physical dependence, and thus, no withdrawal is experienced. They also don’t cloud your mind as marijuana and other drugs do. You remain clearheaded while your perception of your surroundings and reality become altered. The experience is transcending to many people.

Lastly, it is important to note that DMT, like all other hallucinogens, have the potential to induce paranoia and anxiety. Set and setting are the key words to any hallucinogenic experience. If you enter the psychedelic world with something bothersome on your mind or are in an uncomfortable setting, you are risking a very bad experience with potential adverse consequences.

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