July 27, 2021
My perception was zooming in…smaller and smaller…digging, digging, digging…
I was stripping apart a tree…tearing it down into its individual molecules, down to its smallest atom, until there was nothing left…
“Wow, this is it. I'm about to see the source, where everything came from,” I thought, in awe…
BOOM. Blinding, bright light. And then… Nothing.
I awoke with the beautiful assurance that God is real and good—the true Source and Beginning—yet, a new understanding of His mysterious and unexplainable nature.
Was this a dream?
Not quite, but close.
This is just one example of the type of experiences I and many others have had with DMT—also known as the “Spirit Molecule”—a psychedelic that, like LSD and psilocybin, acts on the body’s 5HT2A serotonin receptors to produce wildly visual, sometimes mystical, often life-changing visions, journeys, and deeply profound spiritual experiences.
While I’ve talked about psychedelics and plant medicines extensively on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast and even in my book Boundless, describing how they fit into my life not only as a high-achiever interested in human optimization but also a Christian, father, and family man, I haven't explored DMT too much in my writing.
But I was recently forwarded a mind-blowing documentary by the organization DMT Quest that explores new scientific research—research that may forever change how we view DMT (and other psychedelics), its impact on human consciousness, and exactly how one may be able to induce similar hallucinogenic states—without drugs.
For me personally, the film sparked an even greater interest in the mysteries behind some of these potent psychedelic compounds, specifically DMT, and after watching it I ventured off into a deep, dark, DMT research rabbit hole…
And I’ve come out the other side to bring you this in-depth article on DMT, what it is, its history, potential benefits, its effects on the body, and how you might be able to get similar effects by making your very own natural DMT.
So put on your hippie bell bottoms, tin foil hat, or lab coat—any will do, frankly—and let’s take a virtual DMT journey together, shall we?
What Is DMT?
Today, most of us are most familiar with DMT as the active hallucinogen in ayahuasca, a psychedelic tea used for thousands of years in traditional South American rituals (yet, now made mainstream by just about every Hollywood celebrity).
You may have also heard of a more potent derivative, 5-MeO-DMT (especially if you’re a Mike Tyson fan), which is four to six times stronger than DMT. 5-MeO is found in a variety of plants, but it can also be derived from the venom of the Colorado River Toad, Bufo alvarius, which is why it’s commonly referred to as “Bufo” or “The Toad.” But lest we go around licking toads all day—and since the species is, in fact, endangered (Tim Ferriss has a great article about that here)—most people now use synthetic 5-MeO-DMT.
Derivatives aside, in this article, I’ll be mostly focusing on isolated DMT, or N,N-dimethyltryptamine (N,N-DMT).
(Disclaimer: I’m definitely not an expert on DMT use, and highly recommend going to other more reputable sources for information such as Third Wave.)
N,N-DMT is also a naturally-derived psychedelic substance. When used, it’s usually injected or smoked, as it’s broken down too quickly in the body (by the enzyme MAO) to achieve any hallucinogenic effects if ingested orally. This is also why DMT “trips” are relatively short compared to other psychedelics, usually lasting 15-60 minutes, depending on dose and route. However, many traditional preparations like ayahuasca, for example, contain natural MAO inhibitors that slow the metabolism of DMT, causing the effects to last much longer.
DMT produces a more visual experience than other psychedelics, often involving wildly colorful, abstract, kaleidoscope-like hallucinations. In fact, many people claim DMT catapults you to a completely different world that’s “more real than reality,” in which you embark on an ego-dissolving psychedelic journey and meet elves, aliens, and otherworldly beings.
Whether you’re transported to “another world,” “a spiritual realm,” “a different dimension,”—or you simply sit there and hallucinate for a few minutes, no one really knows…
Yet that’s not even the most interesting thing about DMT.
DMT is, as it turns out, endogenously produced by every living thing (even humans) meaning it’s much, much more than just a trippy drug and may impact our physiology—and perhaps even perception of reality—more than we ever realized.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, more on that later…
The truth is, while our use of it may be thousands of years old, our understanding of DMT is just now beginning to unfold, bookmarked by a handful of groundbreaking discoveries by researchers in the last century.
The History of DMT: The Origin of the “Spirit Molecule”
Like many psychedelics, DMT has a fascinating history that goes back thousands of years, far before the flower-child, hippie-loving 1960s.
(In fact, the history of DMT follows the “Third Wave” timeline of psychedelics, as Paul Austin described in our very recent podcast together.)
The First Wave…
South American indigenous cultures have used DMT during shamanic or spiritual rituals since the 8th century, typically ingested in combination with other plants or herbs, and prepared as a psychoactive snuff (cohoba, yopo) or as a tea (ayahuasca). These ceremonies were always led by a Shaman—usually a respected elder of the tribe, doctor, or priest—which combined the plant medicine with drumming or chanting to induce a dreamlike state, helping the user communicate with the “spirit world.”
While the use of plants that naturally contained DMT goes back centuries, the understanding of the isolated DMT compound—at least in terms of a scientific perspective—is much more recent.
The Second Wave…
Less than 100 years ago, in 1931, isolated DMT was first synthesized by Canadian chemist Richard Manske. The compound was then discovered in plants by microbiologist Oswaldo Gonçalves de Lima in 1946.
But it wasn’t until 1956 that Hungarian chemist Stephen Szára uncovered DMT’s hidden hallucinogenic and psychedelic effects (by injecting himself and other volunteers with it…whew). This is when DMT hit the scene—not only as a counter-culture party drug and consciousness exploration tool—but also as a subject of massive interest in the scientific community, especially for researchers in the field of mental illness. (A theory was circulating that schizophrenia might be caused by an error in metabolism that produced such hallucinogens in the human brain, forming a schizo- or psycho-toxin, which was never proven.)
And then, in the 1960s, German researchers found trace amounts of DMT naturally present in human blood and urine, opening up a massive can of worms…
What was a hallucinogenic compound doing in our bodies? How did it get there? And more importantly, does it have a purpose?
The mystery would be squashed for decades by the US Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which categorized DMT (and many other psychedelics) as a Schedule I Drug. This not only made DMT use federally illegal but also brought all clinical research to a screeching halt.
Then in 1990, psychologist Dr. Rick Strassman at the University of New Mexico obtained permission from federal authorities to conduct the first-ever human trials on DMT. Over several years, Strassman injected around 400 doses of DMT into several dozen volunteers, and his findings revealed the uniquely mystical experiences of the compound, including contact with “entities,” visits to “otherwordly places,” and feelings of peace, harmony, joy, or the sensing the presence of a God-like being.
These reported spiritual experiences are why Strassman coined DMT the “Spirit Molecule,” which became the title of his book released in 2000, and was later made into a documentary hosted by none other than comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan.
(However, it should not be excluded that a few of Strassman’s volunteers reported “adverse effects” from high-dose DMT that included terrifying hallucinations of alien robots, insects, or reptiles; some of which stuck with participants even after the DMT trip—in part why he eventually halted his clinical research.)
The Third Wave…
Strassman’s book and film, as well as Michael Pollan’s popular 2018 book “How to Change Your Mind,” catapulted DMT back into the mainstream limelight, of course piquing the interest of many enlightenment-seeking celebrities (including aforementioned boxer Mike Tyson who famously “smoked the toad” and dissolved from an ego-driven, grisly fighter into a calm, peaceful softie).
Thanks to Strassman’s breakthrough research, by the 2010s, DMT and other psychedelics had recaptured the attention of researchers in the fields of neurochemistry and psychiatry, resulting in an explosion of new studies exploring its potential health benefits.
The Potential Benefits of DMT
In the last 10 years alone, there have been dozens of studies conducted on DMT (both N,N-dimethyltryptamine and 5-MeO-DMT)…
…and the results appear to be overwhelmingly positive, especially in the field of brain disorders and mental health:
- In The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Johns Hopkins researchers published the results of a survey of 362 adults that used 5-MeO-DMT in a group setting. Approximately 80 percent of respondents reported improvements in anxiety, depression, well-being, and life satisfaction.
- A 2018 report in Frontiers in Psychology analyzed the administration of 50mg of vaporized 5-MeO-DMT in 20 male individuals. 75% of subjects reported “complete mystical experiences,” similar in intensity to high dose psilocybin administered in a laboratory setting.
- Results of a 2020 study found that DMT administration promoted neurogenesis of brain cells in the hippocampus of mice and in vitro samples of the human brain. The mice that received DMT also performed better on memory tests than controls.
- Researchers from UC Davis found that chronic, intermittent, low doses of DMT produced an antidepressant-like effect without impacting working memory or social interaction, suggesting that psychedelic microdosing may alleviate symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders.
- A 2021 preclinical study using an animal model for stroke showed that rats treated with DMT recovered motor function more quickly and to a greater extent, and also exhibited lower lesion volumes when compared to control group animals that did not receive DMT. These results suggest DMT may be helpful in treatments for brain injury recovery.
- There are even clinical trials currently underway that are exploring DMT as a potential therapy for substance use disorders.
While the research is still young, both large doses and microdoses of DMT appear to—when used appropriately, in the right “set and setting” of course—have some pretty profound impacts on depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and even neurogenesis and brain healing. Science aside, properly administered DMT trips are reported to enhance one’s quality of life and feeling of purpose, and are often described as highly spiritual, mystical, and reportedly life-changing experiences.
In fact, even my own plant medicine facilitator once proclaimed, “I've had many, many atheists come to my facility, and none leave.”
Which again brings us back to the main question:
What’s this supposed “Spirit Molecule” doing floating around our bodies?
Endogenous DMT: A Natural Neurotransmitter?
After German researchers found DMT naturally present in human fluids, many people began to hypothesize about how DMT was produced in the body and what role it served, if any.
Rick Strassman hypothesized that the pineal gland was the main source of DMT in the body, which has been long revered in Eastern traditions as the mystical “Third Eye.” He speculated that it was only produced in trace amounts during certain times of life, such as near-death or heavy REM sleep, perhaps playing a role in the “hallucinatory” nature of those states.
Without more research, this idea formed the consensus around DMT, at least until 2019…
In the DMT Quest film I watched, the producers highlighted a groundbreaking study from 2019 in which researchers from the University of Michigan found levels of DMT in rat and human brains in similar amounts to serotonin and dopamine.
This finding shattered everything that was previously hypothesized about DMT: That it was only produced in small amounts, at certain times of life, and was inconsequential to everyday human consciousness…
In other words, DMT might be as fundamental to everyday life as other neurotransmitters!
The DMT Quest film also pointed out several other recent scientific discoveries that are absolutely mind-blowing:
- The highest expression of the enzyme responsible for converting tryptamine to DMT (INMT) was indeed found in the pineal gland—but smaller amounts were also found in other parts of the brain, including the cerebral cortex and the choroid plexus, as well as in cerebrospinal fluid (which is also modulated by the choroid plexus). And since cerebrospinal fluid transmits substances throughout the body, this could mean that DMT doesn’t just stay in the brain.
- Induced cardiac arrest (near-death) in rodent models caused a massive surge in gamma wave activity and a 600% increase in DMT in the visual cortex.
- Even more interesting, a recent unpublished study by Steven Barker of LSU showed that the administration of the psychedelic LSD significantly increased levels of both 5-MeO-DMT(10x) and DMT (4x) in animal brains. Which is odd, to say the least, since LSD does not contain any DMT…
These findings point to a few unproven ideas, all of which greatly piqued my curiosity as someone interested in high-performance, increasing my creativity levels and focus, and improving my spiritual health and loving relationship to others and to God:
- If it works similarly to other neurotransmitters, DMT may actually serve a physical purpose outside of dreaming or dying, perhaps related to higher-order brain functions (such as conscious information processing, creativity, flow states, learning/memory);
- Other psychedelics may work by simply stimulating our own endogenous DMT, perhaps working on an “endogenous hallucinogen neuronal system” such as the opioid or cannabinoid systems;
- And finally, it may be possible to stimulate the release of endogenous DMT via activities that influence gamma waves, the pineal gland, or cerebral spinal fluid.
So, since we know DMT is produced in high enough amounts in the body to actually serve a purpose, and psychedelics may in fact work by releasing this natural DMT, which can be stimulated by altering brain waves or targeting other organs…
Are there ways we can tap into our own DMT naturally, in order to reproduce psychedelic effects and the associated benefits, without any psychedelics?
How to Tap Into Your Own DMT Naturally (Without Psychedelics)
OK, I’ll admit, being able to “tap into your own DMT” is not a novel concept by any means, and I’m certainly not taking credit for it.
Experienced meditators and breathwork practitioners—most notable of which is likely “The Iceman” Wim Hof—have been claiming to be able to “get high on their own supply” for decades.
However, this claim has always been “poo-pooed” by scientists that cite the common argument: Your body doesn’t produce enough DMT to cause hallucinogenic effects (~25 mg).
Which is exactly why the new research highlighted in the DMT Quest documentary is so intriguing and may explain what folks like Wim, and even our ancestors, may have always known that by using methods that:
- Activate the pineal gland or other parts of the brain; or
- Increase the movement of cerebrospinal fluid; or
- Induce brain states that produce high amounts of gamma waves; or
- Decrease activity of MAO, the enzyme that breaks down DMT…
…we may, in fact, be able to get, as Wim is famous for saying, “high on our own supply”.
So, in case you’re a little wary of exogenous DMT (rightfully so), but still curious about the effects and benefits of a DMT-like state, here are some tips and tricks to help you tap into your own DMT naturally—while staying well within the confines of the law.
Step 1: Optimize the Health and Function of Your Pineal Gland
As mentioned, research has now partially confirmed Strassman’s hypothesis from the 90’s that DMT is produced in the pineal gland—though we now know it’s not the only source of DMT in the body, proven by a 2019 study in which rats were still able to produce DMT even with their pineal glands removed.
Regardless, the pineal gland has a history of mystery and has been referred to as the “Seat of the Soul” or the “Third Eye,” linking it to spiritual awareness, creativity, dream states, and out-of-body or near-death experiences.
So, until proven otherwise, I still place some weight on the pineal gland in terms of it having some kind of connection to endogenous DMT. However, thanks to modern living, it’s now common for the pineal gland to become “calcified” (buildup of calcium phosphate crystals), which is caused, at least in part, by environmental toxins such as fluoride, other heavy metals, or pesticides.
Calcification of the pineal gland has also been linked to rapid aging, brain disorders, neurodegenerative disease, cognitive decline, and psychiatric symptoms. The pineal gland also produces melatonin, a powerful anti-aging hormone that regulates hundreds of functions including your precious sleep-wake cycles, and lack of melatonin could be a factor in these disease states.
On that same thread, one might also speculate that calcium buildup could inhibit your brain’s ability to produce DMT, and therefore, people with a calcified pineal gland won’t necessarily get as much out of a plant medicine journey…
While this specific theory has yet to be proven, taking steps to ensure the health of your pineal gland will likely improve your ability to more easily tap into brain states conducive to releasing DMT (and if not, at the very least, you’ll be taking care of your precious brain).
Here are some ways to care for and optimize your pineal gland.
Fluoride is likely one of the main contributors to pineal gland calcification. In fact, it’s been shown that the more fluoride in the human pineal gland, the greater the calcium accumulation. A rodent model from 2019 also found a fluoride-free diet stimulated more positive growth of the pineal gland compared to rats that consumed food and water that contained fluoride.
Therefore, if you want to keep your “Third Eye” squeaky clean (as well as improve the health of everything from your hormones to your thyroid), do everything you can to ruthlessly eliminate fluoride from your environment, specifically your drinking water. At the very least, invest in a high-quality water filter that eliminates fluoride, make sure you’re using fluoride-free toothpaste, and avoid non-stick pans and cookware.
My comprehensive article, “How to Protect Your Body from the Ten Hidden Killers in Your Home” covers much, much more on how to detox your home from fluoride, EMFs, and other toxins that could be harming your pineal gland, and your ability to produce DMT. I’d also recommend reading the book “The Fluoride Deception” for more of the story on fluoride.
Do a “Pineal Gland Detox”
While I’ve admittedly not yet added a “pineal gland detox” to my regular cleanse calendar, I recently read a very detailed article by Scott Jeffrey, founder of CEOsage, on how to detoxify your pineal gland that I will likely follow if I ever decide to.
In addition to removing harmful environmental toxins like fluoride, Scott also lists the following foods and supplements as part of the protocol to support detoxification, reduce calcification, and restore the health of the pineal gland:
- Iodine, which can chelate heavy metals like fluoride and help excrete them from the body;
- Shilajit, an Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb rich in antioxidants and the powerful binders fulvic acid and humic acid (or you can simply take pure fulvic acid);
- Chaga mushrooms, which contain high levels of Superoxide Dismutase, a potent antioxidant;
- “Activator X” (combo of Vitamin K2, D, and A), which can be consumed in the form of concentrated butter oil or ghee, in conjunction with additional supplemental Vitamin A and Vitamin D3;
- Raw cacao, believe to be able to “stimulate the Third Eye” and support blood flow and detoxification;
- Tamarind, edible fruit pods from a tropical African tree, shown in multiple studies to significantly aid in excreting fluoride from the body (here and here);
- Chlorella or Spirulina, which contain high levels of chlorophyll, a well-known chelator.
Big thanks to Scott for doing most of the leg work on this topic.
If I were to do a pineal gland detox, I would also probably add organic oregano oil extract and beetroot powder to my list, not to mention the following strategies and methods for comprehensive pineal gland support…
There are two peptides known to support the health of your pineal gland: Epitalon and Pinealon.
In my recent podcast with one of the world’s leading peptide researchers, Ian Mitchell, we discussed Epitalon, a synthetic peptide designed to mimic the natural pineal gland peptide epithalamin. There are now dozens of animal and clinical studies showing Epitalon can not only decalcify and restore the health of the pineal gland but also significantly reduce all-cause mortality risk and even lengthen telomeres, making it a potent anti-aging peptide as well.
Pinealon is another peptide that can support your pineal gland, and can actually improve memory. One study on Pinealon showed that it stimulated serotonin expression in the brain cortex, which may point to its ability to also stimulate other serotonin-like molecules, such as DMT. Personally, before embarking on a journey of self-discovery with something like DMT, I will often do a bout of Pinealon to make sure my pineal gland is optimized and my body and mind are able to get the most out of the experience.
While research on the link between peptides, the pineal gland, and DMT is quite thin currently, I firmly believe peptides are the future of medicine, use them extensively myself, and will certainly be watching this field with great interest over the next decade.
BioCharger (“Pineal Gland Mastery” Mode)
If you follow me on social media, you may have recently seen me in front of a crazy, rocket ship-like device called the “BioCharger,” which combines four different energy types—light, voltage, frequencies & harmonics, and pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs)—into one ultimate biohacking machine. (Even the great Tony Robbins uses it at his events, so it must be good, right?)
In my podcast with the BioCharger founders, “The Ultimate Human Recharging Station – How To Reboot The Human Battery, Get To Sleep Faster, Increase Energy, & Restore Your Cells’ Proper Electrical Voltage With A BioCharger,” we discussed a setting on the device called “Pineal Mastery” that emits energy levels designed to activate your pineal gland and reduce any issues such as calcification.
By targeting the pineal gland, the BioCharger may also theoretically be able to enhance your body’s ability to more easily produce endogenous DMT. I can personally say that I notice subtle, DMT-like effects from this device, notably uplifting my mood, enhancing my creativity, and improving my ability to get deeper into flow states during work, meditation, or breathwork.
So, when I need a boost of creativity or focus, rather than, say, taking a microdose of DMT or other psychedelics, sometimes I’ll simply turn on the BioCharger to “Pineal Mastery”, and meditate, breathe, or heck, even bounce on a trampoline, while absorbing its mind-enhancing energy.
Now, those were all just methods to optimize the health and functioning of your pineal gland, which, if following the theory that DMT is produced at least in part by the pineal gland, will all help to enhance your body’s innate ability to stimulate DMT endogenously.
However, there are also methods that may directly stimulate DMT production, and when practiced in specific ways or using certain techniques, I can personally vouch that they may get you “higher” than you’ve ever been on any drug…
Step 2: Use Natural Methods to Stimulate Endogenous DMT
While we don’t yet know the exact mechanism of how, when, or why DMT is produced in the body, there are three tried-and-true methods that have been used for thousands of years as part of ancient spiritual traditions, cleansing ceremonies, and even in conjunction with psychedelic rituals, as a way to tap into “alternate brain states”—which we now know might actually be due to their ability to stimulate endogenous DMT production:
Breathwork, meditation, and fasting.
Here’s how you can use these science- and history-backed tactics to tap into your own DMT naturally, and experience similar mind-altering, life-changing, perspective-shifting moments as a full-blown psychedelic journey.
Could naturally high levels of DMT, induced by breathing techniques, be Wim Hof’s secret to completing superhuman feats like running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot in shorts, or swimming underneath ice for 66 meters?
Wim certainly thinks so, as described in a recent Reddit AMA:
“I can trigger my own DMT, a hormone-driven from the pineal gland–I know how to get there and can do that all the time.”
Furthermore, the specific practice of “holotropic breathwork” was developed by Stan Grof to reportedly mimic the effects of LSD: the merging of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, creative and analytical thought combined, and a big release of DMT and nitric oxide.
While the mechanisms are still unknown, there are a few hypotheses around how breathing techniques may stimulate DMT production:
Breathwork increases gamma wave activity
Towards the end of the DMT Quest documentary, scientists conducted a baseline EEG test on someone practicing Wim Hof-style breathwork and found increased gamma wave activity in the brain on par with DMT and 5-MeO-DMT.
Breathworks stimulates the movement of cerebrospinal fluid
As mentioned, the cerebrospinal fluid contains some of the highest amounts of DMT outside of the brain. A 2017 study in The Journal of Neuroscience observed that respiration (breathing) is what controls the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid throughout the brain. Therefore, by targeting breathing in a specific way, you could be increasing the distribution of DMT throughout the brain and body.
Breathwork shifts CO2 and O2 ratios in the body
Prolonged rapid breathing also creates a hyperventilation state that increases carbon dioxide and decreases oxygen. Some people think it’s the reduced oxygen levels, while others think it’s the increased CO2, that’s responsible for breathwork’s ability to induce states of altered consciousness similar to DMT.
Personally, whatever the mechanism, I reached the “highest” state I’ve ever been (without the use of psychedelics) during a holotropic breathwork session in San Diego a few years ago, which resulted in an intense out-of-body experience unlike anything I’ve encountered before.
Since then, I’ve been regularly using holotropic breathwork to increase my own natural DMT levels—often following this DMT breathwork recording—and while it admittedly takes more time and practice than, say, sucking on a DMT vape pen, in my opinion, the “hit” from a long, intense breathwork session feels much more natural and therapeutic for me.
Additionally, 1-2 times a month (often before church on Sunday mornings) I’ll microdose with a little psilocybin, hop in my sauna, and practice Soma Holotropic Breathwork. It’s an incredibly spiritual experience that’s been a game-changer for me as far as being able to dissolve my ego and tap into a greater state of love and acceptance during something like a church sermon.
(Pro tip: I will also, before a breathwork session, put a little bit of Blue Lotus Extract or Third Eye from Essential Oil Wizardry on my upper lip to activate my pineal gland. And if you’re really feeling up for a DMT-like experience, try snuffing powdered rapé using a Kuripe pipe before doing Wim-Hof style breathwork.)
For thousands of years, experienced meditators have reported being able to reach altered states of consciousness similar to psychedelics using meditation alone.
In fact, in the 1960s when psychedelic use hit the mainstream, meditators often criticized users of drugs like DMT, claiming they were “cheating” the hard work of meditation.
DMT and other psychedelics may in fact produce similar effects as meditation, as they both appear to reduce activity in a part of the brain called the Default Mode Network (DMN).
The DMN—which includes the hippocampus, posterior cingulate cortex, and prefrontal cortex—is the area of your brain responsible for everyday processing, planning, strategizing, and reflecting. It’s incredibly useful for being a thoughtful, productive, and useful human being.
However, if the DMN is constantly activated, we remain “chained to the hamster wheel” so-to-speak, unable to think outside of ourselves, stop worrying or ruminating, or express creativity. An overactive DMN is, not surprisingly then, linked with higher rates of depression.
One of the benefits of psychedelic drugs—and, coincidentally, regular meditation—is their ability to “turn off” the DMN. This is believed to result in the “ego dissolution” effects of high-dose plant medicine.
According to a 2018 study that compared brain scans of those using psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, and ayahuasca) to those in deep meditative states, researchers found similar activity in the DMN between the two modalities. This may suggest that certain types of meditation can produce similar ego-dissolving, awareness-enhancing, and other transformational effects as high-dose DMT.
While I’m certainly not at “levitating monk status”, shorter, targeted meditations are a big part of my daily spiritual practice, and I have, in fact, dabbled around with more intense techniques such as Transcendental Meditation, EcoMeditation, and Joe Dispenza’s Pineal Gland meditation. During these longer meditations, I can say with certainty that it’s possible to reach a mental state that rivals any exogenous psychedelic drug.
So, instead of going on a third, fourth, or fifth ayahuasca retreat, for example, some folks may do better by investing in a serious meditation practice that allows them to upregulate their natural production of DMT, as well as get the extensive list of other benefits associated with meditation.
Or, if you’re simply looking to double down on the effects, perhaps try microdosing with some DMT or psilocybin prior to your next meditation session.
There are dozens of different types of meditation practices available to the curious-minded, many of which I’ve covered in the past and can be found here:
- The One Component Of Fitness Most People Neglect (Meditation, Plant Medicine, Yoga, Sex & More: How Ben Greenfield Trains For The Spiritual Disciplines).
- The Most Important Muscle You Own (& Exactly How To Train It)
- Transcendental Meditation: Cult, Quackery, or Science?
- Meditation For Mind-Blowing Sex, Meditation For Insomnia, Meditation For Energy & Much More.
- Why You Can’t Afford Not To Meditate (& One Simple Mindfulness Exercise You Can Do Today)
- Better Living Through Science: Two Advanced Biohacking Strategies & “Stacks” For Enhancing Sleep & Meditation.
- Altered States of Consciousness, Energy Vortexes, Breathwork Vs. Psychedelics, Dangers of Plant Medicine, Pairing Fasting With Prayer, Meditation & Breath, & Much More With Anahata Ananda.
- Should Christians Do Yoga? How To Combine Energy Medicine & Religion, Flat Earth Christianity, Transcendental Meditation, Anti-Aging & More With Pastor Toby Sumpter.
- How Musicians Stay Fit, Why Meditation Is Crucial, Should You Try To Live Forever, Shroomies & More With Mike D Of The Beastie Boys.
If you’ve ever done an extended fast, after a few days of uncomfortable suffering (aptly known as “The Suck”), chances are, around the third or fourth day, you started to experience a noticeable boost in your mood, energy levels, and productivity.
While some believe the euphoric effects of fasting are caused by your body switching to ketones for fuel, it may also have something to do with increased DMT levels—specifically by downregulating the activity of the enzyme that breaks it down: MAO.
A 2009 study in the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry found that prolonged fasting (three days) in rats resulted in a 50% reduction in MAO activity.
Additionally, if DMT acts anything like other neurotransmitters such as serotonin, tryptophan, or melatonin, another study showed that fasting increased levels of these compounds throughout the body, and most of all in the brain and stomach tissue.
In other words, extended fasting appears to reduce MAO activity, which could result in higher levels of endogenous DMT floating around the body. Based on what we know about the benefits of DMT, this could also explain some of the cognitive, mood, neuroprotective, and therapeutic effects associated with fasting.
For more on fasting, its benefits, and how to do it safely:
- Mito Fast: A Brand New Advanced Anti-Aging Protocol To Nurture Your Mitochondria, Boost Autophagy, & Rejuvenate Your Stem Cells.
- The Latest Research On Fasting: What 9 New Studies Say About Fasting’s Effects On Fat Loss, Satiety, Insulin Resistance, & More.
- The Powerful Health Benefits Of Fasting (Plus The Top 5 Questions I Get Asked About Fasting).
- The Complete Guide to Fasting: How To Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting
- The Official Fasting Q&A With Ben Greenfield: Does Coffee Break Your Fast, Poor Sleep During Fasting, Amino Acids During Fasting & Much More!
All of this to say, here’s what I learned in my DMT research rabbit hole, sparked by the recent DMT Quest documentary…
DMT isn’t just a drug. It’s a powerful compound that’s naturally present in your body in much higher amounts than we previously thought, on par with other vital neurotransmitters. Additionally, it may be possible to increase your endogenous levels of DMT, and experience similar benefits as a transformational psychedelic journey, without the use of any exogenous hallucinogens.
Ancient practices such as breathwork, meditation, and fasting—enhanced by modern techniques to optimize and activate your pineal gland—may all have the potential to increase your natural DMT levels, allowing you to tap into a state of consciousness not otherwise accessible in everyday life.
Pretty cool, huh?
So, as opposed to smoking DMT out of a vape pen and going into a 20-40 minute trance, a “natural DMT journey” may look something like:
- A dose of Epitalon or Pinealon followed by 20-30 minutes of holotropic breathwork;
- A few drops of Blue Lotus Extract or Third Eye from Essential Oil Wizardry on the upper lip before a long meditation session;
- Snuffing a bit of powdered rapé or Zen spray before sitting in front of the BioCharger set to “Pineal Gland Mastery” mode;
- Or 3-4 weeks of a “pineal gland cleanse” followed by a 3-5 day extended fast.
While these strategies will likely enhance your ability to produce and release endogenous DMT, what the compound actually does still remains a mystery.
Whether it unlocks access to another spiritual realm, in which we can interact with powerful beings…
Or allows us to reach a higher mental state in which we can achieve superhuman feats like Wim Hof…
Or simply stimulates anthropomorphic data-driven hallucinations that serve no actual purpose…
No one knows. Yet.
And while we don’t have all the answers right now, at the end of that day, I’m encouraged by the latest resurgence of psychedelic research, and sincerely hope it contributes to the mainstream acceptance of psychedelics as a therapeutic tool.
Because as science is starting to show, these plant compounds—when used responsibly, in the right setting, and for a purpose—are not only completely natural to our bodies, but can also help us foster a greater sense of joy, connection, purpose, and love for our fellow brothers and sisters.
And loving one another is one of the greatest things we can do in this life.
What about you? What are your thoughts about plant medicine? Have you experimented with DMT, or experienced any DMT-like effects from other drug-free methods?