Does DMT Cure Depression? Here’s What it may and may not do for you.
More and more frequently, I am seeing this question pop up. People want to know if DMT will cure their depression or other perceived or diagnosed issues they are struggling with.
No doubt, there is a growing movement of therapeutic psychedelic use and I am a huge proponent of this movement.
In fact, I am one of those people who’s lives dramatically changed in positive ways from the use of psychedelics.
First of all, the molecules I’m going to discuss are VERY illegal and secondly, most importantly, DO NOT go experimenting with psychoactive chemicals all willy-nilly. For the love of god, talk to a therapist or mental health professional about this before trying it. If you’re going to do it, anyway, please just be in a good setting and have a sober friend or family member close by.
Please take my warning seriously and absolutely do not perceive anything in this article to be professional advice. Okay?
So, if you’re not yet familiar with DMT and would like to learn more about what it is, it’s history and what the experience is like in greater detail, check out this article:
Three Hits Of DMT: A Guide To Awaking Presently
After docking a weaponized unicorn into a space station where your friends from the late 80’s are all hanging out, the…
In a study published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, reports from an independent group of individuals who’ve been regularly experimenting with 5-MeO-DMT for roughly a decade as well as a group of some 360+ individuals who reported to have only tried the same molecule a few times, were analyzed.
It’s important to note that N,N-Dimethyltryptamine which is most commonly associated with the shortened “DMT” is slightly different from the 5-Methoxy-N,N-Dimethyltryptamine AKA 5-MeO-DMT. The experiences of 5-MeO-DMT are reported to be less visual. Users often describe a “avoid” at some point in the experience, but none the less, these are similar enough molecules and for the sake of studying the effects on depression, there is simply limited data. In this case, the data is regarding the 5-MeO variant while this article will focus on the more common ‘DMT” variant.
From analyzing the reports, there was a substantial percentage of users who reported to have experienced significant, positive changes in their life. More to the point, about 80% claimed to have experienced improvements regarding depression and anxiety. These improvements were attributed to long-lasting effects described as “well-being” and “life satisfaction”.
And this study and similar studies is where things get hazy because it’s not necessarily a change in chemistry that is causing these life-changing effects. Rather, it appears to be perspective alteration and that’s what this article is going to be about.
I’m going to describe specifically what these experiences have done for/to me, as well as others and why they are psoitive.
So, to really begin to understand if DMT is going to help you in some way, we first have to understand what the experience actually is and what the potential effects of that experience might be. From there, you can make your own decision if this might be beneficial to you.
As I said above, I will be focusing specifically on “DMT” as opposed to 5-MeO-DMT, but you can rest assured that the experiences are not dissimilar in their profundity and nature.
First of all, the DMT experience feels real. In fact, it is widely reported to seem “more real than real”.
In a true, so-called “break through” experience, one will find themselves often without a body and experiencing totally new synesthetic sensations such as “breathing the experience” or even sounds that you can feel. You enter another dimension with an ineffable symmetry. You may feel that your body is the entire universe and you may even feel that your consciousness is the entire universe or that entire space.
What’s more, you may frequently meet “entities” of various forms. These entities may show you things or they may even poke fun at you. They may celebrate your arrival or they may shun you.
It’s incredibly important to understand that these entities are in a realm that is so different than the reality you are experiencing, that the language simply doesn’t exist to accurately describe them. But when you experience them, you will feel without a doubt that they are as real or more so than the reality you left behind.
So, we are getting to the first effect of this experience: Profundity.
Just as the experience can and often is synesthetic, it’s also something else. What you see can be knowledge. It’s as though you are somehow able to realize conceptualization from what you see. This can be to the point that death suddenly becomes meaningless. You’ll just suddenly realize it to be a nonsensical concept.
Now, that doesn’t mean that death is or isn’t nonsensical, but in that moment, seeing is believing.
On the other hand, you may also find that when you look for some answer to suffering, there may be nothing but pity for you. In my own experiences, it has seemed quite clear that suffering is an inescapable part of being human. Quite simply, you may often find that a pursuit of some particular information or experience is completely futile.
We are programmed to chase pleasure and avoid suffering. I believe it’s simply guidance and not necessarily guidance towards some end for you, individually, but guidance for us as a whole, to fulfill some inconceivable purpose. For us as individuals, it seems we are meant to do just what we do. Life is a self-replicating system, flowing through time. Humans organize. Religion organizes us, governments organize us, politics, war, economics, culture. We make technology and we are increasingly globally connected. Regardless of individual intent, this is the way life and humans move. Each of us like a single molecule in a flowing river.
Of course, I can’t speak matter-of-factly about the assertions I’ve made above and in fact, I want to emphasize that those assertions are very subjective and more or less for ease of communicating to you what you might expect. That being said, I have had a lot of experience with this and have done a fair amount of research over the years. So, take that all with a grain of salt. I am still learning, too!
Indeed, there can be profound realization and perhaps more importantly, vast shifts in perspective, but there is one big problem with DMT: You will almost never be able to remember most of what you experienced!
That is a big problem if you’re expectation is to gain some knowledge that will free you from the bondage of your own thought and/or behavior patterns.
You will feel yourself coming back and you will have some profound concept that you try to hold onto. Really, you will think “no way am I going to forget this”.
Oh, yes, you will.
In fact, returning from the DMT experience can often feel very much like falling back asleep. As though DMT is a kind of Narcan or jolt into an awakened state.
The things you experience will quite simply not translate to this experience.
So, if DMT induces this wild, but very real, alternative experience that you can’t hardly remember, how the heck can it be of any benefit?
Well, there’s an analogy I love to use.
As I mentioned above, DMT really does seem or at least may be perceived as a jolt into an awakened state.
When you’re dreaming, you have no wherewithal that you are dreaming. It’s such a psychotic, delusional state that you’ll not even second guess being naked, riding a horse down the street to rescue your cat that passed away five years ago.
And you simply don’t remember being awake while you’re dreaming. You won’t remember the day you just had only a few hours ago. Let alone the life you are living.
From what I’ve been able to gather from my own experiences as well as analyzing the experiences of countless others, is that the nature of the DMT experience and inevitable return to “normal” experience, is quite often, fundamentally similar to waking up and falling back asleep. If it isn’t stated directly, the elements with which to extrapolate this from reports, often is.
Personally, each time I “go back” or “break through”, there is an overwhelming sense of familiarity. Just like when you wake up, you’ve no distinct sense of the time that has passed, so too, when you break through, it feels distinctly the same. It feels as though everything that happened since the last break through was like a dream and you’re suddenly awake again, if only for a few minutes. It very much feels like remembering. “Oh shit, that’s right. I remember now”. I’ve literally said that more than once.
Personally, I was never a spiritual person and now that I think about it, I guess I’m still not in the quintessential sense, but I do believe that these experiences are as valid as any other. I’m convinced of it.
Now, maybe that means that all experiences are subjective, abstract nonsense that the brain just happens to make sense of in a way that facilitates functional interactions that ensure survival long enough to reproduce and the DMT experience is just more abstract nonsense, but without the functionality.
Maybe. But that’s not what I believe. One thing DMT has cost me is my confidence. My confidence that humans are the pinnacle of intelligence and the cutting edge of science, philosophy and technology are on the verge of god-like knowledge or capability.
When a dog pisses on the carpet, you may scold him/her or even swat them on the butt. The dog has no capacity to understand that the smell of urine is not only unpleasant, but embarrassing if you have company. Not to mention it can seep into the mat underneath the carpet and even into the sub-floor and that these things cost money to fix. The dog has no comprehension of sub-flooring or money, let alone currency and economics.
If you are to guide the dog, you use reward and punishment when absolutely necessary. You can’t explain economics and human socialization or your perception of urine smell. You have to communicate and guide the dog using what it does understand.
Likewise, I believe we are given guidance, either by a “higher power” or even just genetically and culturally that drives us toward some goal that we simply can not possibly begin to conceptualize and this guidance comes in the form of what we can understand. Pain, pleasure, joy, suffering, the fear of death and the unyielding love for our children.
So, is DMT going to rewire your brain? I’m not aware of any evidence for that and that hasn’t been my experience.
However, as has been my case and many, many other’s, it certainly has been an experience that can not simply be written off as “tripping” and over time, this has had profound influence on my interest in understanding more about experience as well as my ability to accept much bigger ideas. Indeed, these experiences can lead to perspective changes that simply allow us to realize the bigger picture both of ourselves and beyond.
And realizing the bigger picture, realizing our behavior patterns and their effects, even realizing that suffering is something even the most wealthy, good-looking people experience, really is key.
But you have to be willing to be awed and bewildered. You have to be ready and also, you shouldn’t expect life-changing effects, right away. You should also consider that multiple trips may be required, as well, just to really take it seriously.