A new study out of John Hopkins University has found that the majority of people that reported encountering entities while using the psychedelic drug N,N-dimethyltryptaminemore commonly known as DMT, were so impacted by their experiences that they wound up developing a belief in a higher power.

Conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the study, titled Survey of entity encounter experiences occasioned by inhaled N,N-dimethyltryptamine: Phenomenology, interpretation, and enduring effects, consisted of an online survey of 2,500 individuals that sought to characterize the “subjective phenomena, interpretation, and persisting changes that people attribute to [DMT]-occasioned entity encounter experiences,” according to the study text, based on the idea that many DMT users have reported encounters with “seemingly autonomous entities” while under the influence of the psychedelic.

The survey found that the two senses most often affected were visual and extrasensory (telepathic) when confronted by entities that were most often described as a “being, guide, spirit, alien, and helper,” although auditory and tactile experiences were also reported.

Although 41 percent of the respondents reported feeing fear during their encounters, the majority reported feeling love, kindness, and joy that they attributed to as coming from the entity; 58 percent of those surveyed also reported that the entity itself also appeared to have an emotional reaction to the encounter. Although there some respondents reported negative emotions during their encounters, such as anger and sadness, these events were in the minority.

Most of the respondents were also left with the impression that the seemingly-autonomous entities they encountered were “conscious, intelligent, and benevolent, existed in some real but different dimension of reality, and continued to exist after the encounter,” according to the study text.

Over two-thirds of the respondents (69%) reported receiving a message from the entities, with about one-fifth (19%) being given a prediction about the future. The long-term effects of using DMT were also striking, as over half of the respondents that identified as atheist before their experience no longer identified as such afterwards, with their encounters “rated as among the most meaningful, spiritual, and psychologically insightful lifetime experiences, with persisting positive changes in life satisfaction, purpose, and meaning attributed to the experiences.”

In the study’s conclusion, the authors noted the striking similarities between the encounters reported by DMT users and those reported in “non-drug entity encounter experiences such as those described in religious, alien abduction, and near-death contexts.

“Aspects of the experience and its interpretation produced profound and enduring ontological changes in worldview.”

“It’s possible that the metaphysical shock from questioning one’s worldview occasioned by these vivid, unusual experiences may play an important role in the enduring positive life changes in attitudes, moods and behavior they inspire,” according to the study’s lead author, Alan K. Davis. “We need to do more research in order to understand how these entity encounters exert positive changes in people’s lives.”

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4 Comments

  1. Where in the United States (or elsewhere) could someone who wanted to have these experiences get access to DMT? Is there a place where one could be assured that the drug itself is pure and the environment safe?

    1. Due to the highly illegal status of DMT in the U.S. (a Schedule I controlled substance), we can’t allow posts regarding the actual trade of the drug in the comments section. We’re free to talk about the various effects and aspects of the drug itself, but we don’t want to draw undue attention from the authorities.

      On a personal note, I do wish you luck in your quest. The safe environment aspect can be set up by yourself, preferably with a trusted friend to keep an eye on you.

    2. Johns Hopkins University, mentioned in the article, has a center dedicated to research on psychedelics. A few other academic centers may have similar. You could investigate the possibility of enrolling as a subject in a [LEGAL!] research project, where psychedelics are administered in a safe and controlled environment. JHU has administered psilocybin, but not, to my knowledge, DMT, to subjects to study whether it relieves addictive behavior, depression, or anxiety, the last in people with terminal illness; 60 Minutes has broadcast a segment on the first group. I do not know if Hopkins or any other academic research center administers DMT specifically. I plan, if I ever receive a terminal diagnosis, to pursue enrolling in the Hopkins psilocybin study if possible. (Matthew, I thought about sending this to you to be vetted, but the information contained here is already public and does not discuss any illegal activity/source. I cannot see why it would be objectionable to suggest to Sergios to looking into legal research projects.)

  2. I had a number of DMT experiences way back in my 20s.. in the “proper” Amazonian-style setting with ritual etc (mind you, this took place outside the US – in South America)

    Looking back I realize how it can induce certain physiological phenomena described by yogis – probably through Pineal or Pituitary stimulation is my wild guess

    however.. the effects usually stayed a week or so and then faded away.. that’s as “long-lasting” as it gets.. I also noticed the aficionados ended up looking rather sallow and sickly as constant intake of the (horrible tasting) beverage deteriorated their liver

    there are no realistic shortcuts to spirituality IMO.. if you want permanent results, start a serious sadhana – it will take some years but eventually your body may be able (God willing) to synthesize its own physiological DMT..

    my 2 rupees…

    MC. 😉

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