In the recent past, individuals from the different parts of the United States. as well as other countries in the world, have been traveling to South America to partake in psychedelic retreats. During these ceremonies, the individuals consume a brewed concoction made from ayahuasca, which has been used traditionally by indigenous communities in sacred religious ceremonies. The psychoactive brew induces hallucinogenic episodes that most of these individuals cite as life-changing.
The main active ingredient that causes these psychedelic visions is known as DMT (dimethyltryptamine). A recent study conducted by researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan has found that this active molecule naturally occurs in the mammalian brain. This discovery is the first step towards studying this active ingredient and finding the role it plays in the human brain.
Among the researchers involved in the study is Jimo Borjigin, from the University of Michigan’s department of Integrative and Molecular Physiology. She states that apart from occurring in plants, the molecule can also be found in mammals, noting that her interest in the active ingredient was accidental. Borjigin explains that she had been studying the production of melatonin in the pineal gland before she shifted her focus to DMT.
While scientists know that the pineal gland plays a crucial role in modulating an individual’s internal clock and also managing melatonin production, not much else is known about the pinecone-shaped organ. However, some are convinced that the organ, which is found deep in the brain’s center, produces DMT.
Rick Strassman is one of these. Strassman carried out an experiment on DMT in the mid-90s, in which participants had DMT administered via IV and were then interviewed after the psychedelic’s effects wore off. Strassman noted in his report that he believed the organ both secreted and made DMT. However, this theory has not yet been proven.
Curious, Borjigin attempted to prove this theory through a process known as in situ hybridization, which led to the discovery of brain neurons with a pair of enzymes needed to make DMT in the pineal gland. In addition to this, the researchers, led by Jon Dean, the lead author of the study, found these neurons in the hippocampus and the neocortex, which are regions in the brain responsible for functions such as memory and learning.
The researchers used rat models for their study, with Borjigin noting that the DMT levels were found to increase in rats that experienced cardiac arrest. The study results were reported in the “Scientific Reports” journal.
This discovery raises the possibility that human beings could already be making their own psychedelic compounds; it also means that any therapeutic products made by sector players such as Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) (OTC: PRXTF) could be readily assimilated by the body.
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