This isn’t music related, but it is an early example of my attempts at feature writing. I wrote this in my first year at university for one of my modules. I got a 2.1, but I don’t think it’s particularly very good! A highly interesting topic nonetheless. If you’re into reading about psychedelics this could be up your street. Massive thanks to everyone involved in this, your honesty was unparalleled. NB - this is only an example of the article, the real piece was much longer.
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine: DMT Dimethyltryptamine is considered to be the strongest hallucinogen in the world. It resides not only in animals but also in the brains of humans.
‘Dimethyltryptamine changed my life. Prior to taking it I was naïve about the world and the spiritual universe. I was content in believing that what I could see was reality and there was nothing more to life than that. When I took [DMT] I was in a place where I could talk to spirits and understand concepts of life too difficult for the human mind to process. It’s beyond my comprehension that this is already in our brains’. Alex Childs, a 22 year old musician from North London first took DMT a year ago. His experience was profound and life altering.
Dimethyltryptamine, more commonly referred to as DMT, is a naturally occurring psychedelic derived from a chemical structure of compounds known as tryptamines. DMT consists mainly of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, its chemical make-up is similar to that of serotonin. Some of the strongest known forms of hallucinogens include psilocybin mushrooms, lysergic acid diethylamide and mescaline. All of which can provide powerful and intense trips for those taking them. DMT is significantly more potent. It is considered by many to be the most powerful psychoactive substance in the world.
If you consider the drug spectrum as a whole psychedelic substances are often considered the most taboo. Not because they’re highly addictive, or even because they can cause users to become hospitalised but simply because they cause people taking them to see things that aren’t there. This is known as a hallucination; where your brain visualises a modified version of regular perception. In the UK DMT is a Class A hallucinogen filed under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act. That means that it is illegal to produce, supply or possess in any form. Maximum penalty for possession is seven years imprisonment.
‘I believe that DMT should be made legal for scientific studies, but I honestly think that the majority of the public are not ready for such a powerful hallucinogen to be unscheduled,’ Kirk Richard, a 23 year old Youtube filmmaker from San Diego, California, showed concern over the legality status of DMT. ‘Even though it only lasts for fifteen minutes when smoked it shatters what we call reality beyond the point of recognition and can be potentially dangerous if used by an inexperienced tripper.’
In his inaugural book on DMT, The Spirit Molecule, Dr. Rick Strassman a professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico explains that ‘DMT exists in all of our bodies and occurs through the plant and animal kingdom’. Going on to further explain that DMT is released through a tiny organ situated in the middle of the brain called the pineal gland.
Heres a few molecular models illustrating how similar N-N,DMT and Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N-N,DMT aka 4-PO-DMT.)
A common misconception amongst internet articles is that mushrooms produce DMT. Mushrooms produce 4-PO-DMT and 4-HO-DMT (psilocin,) as well as other alkaloids, but mushrooms do not produce DMT. Psilocybin being 4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-DMT makes it a cousin of N,N-DMT (DMT.)
There are rumors that if you put tryptamine or DMT in the mushroom substrate that the mushroom can somehow convert it and produce 5-Methoxy-DMT (5-MeO-DMT,) which is orally active and would change the effects of the mushroom substantially, although I’m not aware if this has ever actually been shown to be true of mushrooms. One of the greatest minds associated with this theory is Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, the chemist most famous for rediscovering and popularizing MDMA, as well as the discovery of numerous other psychoactive chemicals such as the 2c-x family (2c-i, 2c-b, etc.,) and the DOx family of psychedelic tryptamimes and phenethlymines.