Someone sent me an email with a link to an article whose title was so intriguing, I was eager to read the piece: "The psychedelic drug that could explain our belief in life after death."
DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) is the most powerful hallucinogenic drug around. The class A psychedelic is so potent that under the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances its manufacture is strictly for scientific research and medical use and any international trade is very closely monitored. But it also naturally occurs in the human body.
Now a Senior Psychologist at Greenwich University, Dr. David Luke, is trying to undercover a link between DMT and 'near death experiences' to explain elves, tunnels of light and centuries old folklore. On July 8th he’ll talk about his research at an event in conjunction with SciArt collaboration Art Necro at The Book Club in London.
I'd heard of DMT before, having quoted Sam Harris in a post about Eben Alexander's ridiculous claim that while in a coma, supposedly with no brain activity, he experienced heaven. I called the post "Heaven is NOT real, no matter what Eben Alexander says." Harris said:
...Everything that Alexander describes here and in his Newsweek article, including the parts I have left out, has been reported by DMT users. The similarity is uncanny.
...Does Alexander know that DMT already exists in the brain as a neurotransmitter? Did his brain experience a surge of DMT release during his coma? This is pure speculation, of course, but it is a far more credible hypothesis than that his cortex “shut down,” freeing his soul to travel to another dimension.
Anyway, the article about research into DMT is well worth reading. Back in my college days I used LSD and mescaline. I had some profound experiences, but nothing like what DMT can produce.
A pioneering medical doctor in the 1990’s called Rick Strassman , started injecting people with DMT as part of a medical research project. About 50 to 60 participants were given high doses and they reported some extremely bizarre phenomena.
Approximately half of the participants on a high dose reported being in other worlds and encountering sentient entities, i.e. beings of an intelligent nature which appeared to be other than themselves. The experience was so powerful that participants were convinced of the reality of experience with these other beings.
...The beings themselves took on various forms. Sometimes they took on the form of little elves or imps or dwarves, sometimes they’re omniscient deities, other times they’re angelic beings. But they’re specifically not humans.
Well, the brain/mind works in mysterious ways.
No one knows why ingesting a chemical that the brain produces on its own causes people from different backgrounds and cultures to have similar experiences of sentient beings. But since this phenomenon has a physical cause, it's difficult to argue that DMT is a passport to a supernatural reality.