DMT, or Dimethyltryptamine is a chemical substance naturally occurring in many plants and animals known as a tryptamine. Tryptamines are substances found in nature that mimic the chemical structure of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the human brain that regulates mood, memory, and sleep. Other notable tryptamines include melatonin (the sleep hormone), psilocybin (found in "magic mushrooms"), bufotenin (psychedelic toad slime), and LSD.
DMT was originally synthesized in 1931, but clinical research began in the 1950s and 1960s after DMT was found in the blood and urine of normal human subjects. The most famous study came in the 1990s from psychiatrist Dr. Rick Strassman, who administered approximately 400 doses of DMT over five years to nearly 60 volunteers while documenting their experiences. As a result of his research, Strassman came to refer to DMT as the "spirit molecule" since subjects reported religious experiences such as visions, voices, and disembodied consciousness. Interestingly, over half of the volunteers claimed to have met with non-human entities described as intelligent "beings," "entities," "aliens," "guides," and "helpers."
Several yet untested hypotheses suggest that endogenous DMT is produced in the human brain. Lab studies have shown the production of DMT in rats, as well as the presence of INMT. INMT is an enzyme that may be associated with the biosynthesis of DMT in the primate (rhesus macaque) pineal gland. Mystical traditions and esoteric schools of thought have long defined the pineal gland as the "third eye," or the link between the physical and spiritual worlds. Hinduism points to the pineal gland as the 7th or crown chakra, and philosopher René Descartes called the pineal gland "the seat of the soul." There is also speculation that vast as-yet-undiscovered amounts of DMT are released by our brains when we are born and when we die. Dr. Strassman believes this is why so many people have similar near-death experiences.
If DMT is naturally produced in our brains, could some humans be producing more or less than others daily? Is this why some people are open to things like seeing ghosts, having visions, psychic abilities, or even being "abducted by aliens," while others never experience such phenomena? Or if ingesting plants that contain this tryptamine (over 60 different kinds have been documented thus far) causes people to have similar experiences, could this be why cave paintings, pictographs, and even temple complexes made by ancient civilizations often contain striking similarities, even when separated by vast distances of land or even oceans? Maybe the "ancient aliens" didn't come from outer space at all, but from the inner space of the mind via chemical substances like DMT.