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    Thread: DMT and Lucid Dreaming

    1. #1
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      Lightbulb DMT and Lucid Dreaming

      Hi friends,

      I had a question about DMT. DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is a molecule found in many plants and animals, including humans. It's speculated that the pineal gland in our brain releases DMT when you sleep and some speculate that it's the reason we're dreaming. People smoke DMT and go on crazy and profound trips to far off dimensions and places meeting entities and seeing weird things. Sounds sort of like a dream right?

      Well, someone who spoke pretty passionately about DMT was an ethnobotanist named Terence McKenna. He said that there's some relationship between these two subjects, DMT and lucid dreaming. He even went as far as to say he believed someone who has smoked DMT or done it orally (ayahuasca) can have a dream character come up to them in a dream, hand them the pipe to smoke the DMT, and that will allow the person to jump from the dream into a full DMT trip.

      I was wondering if anyone knows anything about this subject and has any guidance on this. If you have any experience with this please feel free to send me a message.
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      I'll give it a shot. I haven't been focusing on my dreams in the last weeks for different stupid reasons... But I decided to get back into my routines again last nigh and had a short WILD (every time I return from a LD break I need to learn the hard way not to have go to town with the first girl I see) ... Anyway I should be able to do this within a week I guess. I'll let you know what happens. I know for a fact that drugs work for me in dreams. But I haven't tried psychedelics in dreams. Absolutely makes sense to do this with DMT as it's actually available in the brain. Good post!

      Would probably have been even more interesting to have somebody who hadn't done DMT do the dream version and then the real version and see how it compares..
      Last edited by LighrkVader; 03-13-2018 at 11:22 AM.

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      Sorry to be a bit anal here, but afaik it's still the case that endogenous DMT has never been detected in human brain tissue like it has been in rat brains. Detecting it would require action within an extremely limited amount of time and would require getting something like a biopsy/sample of the tissue that has it in it, which for obvious reasons isn't going to be something that happens, so confirmation has to wait for a less intrusive and destructive method of detection.

      Secondly, assuming DMT is synthesized in the brain as an endogenous ligand, these ideas about it being responsible for dreaming or Near Death Experiences is entirely speculative and more of a neat idea than any serious kind of hypothesis. I could see it maybe playing a role in NDEs, but dreaming? IMO the specific brain activity that's recorded and documented to take place during sleep is sufficient enough to explain the altered state of consciousness and dreams on its own and is corroborated by how we hypothesize the generation of consciousness as a process to work (via major thalamocortical and corticocortical circuits we've mapped out), when taking the altered function of brain structures during REM in particular into consideration.
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      That's absolutely true. But mammals have very similar pineal systems across the board. The branching into different pineal systems go wayyyy back. Before mammals were even a thing. So if it's in rat's it is likely to be in other mammals as well. That is (I assume) why they haven't checked the brains of pigs or chimps or whatever. Which would not be hard to do.

      Anyhoo. What role it plays in the brain we obviously don't know. But the pineal gland is largely there to control our circadian rythms and thereby sleep. So if it's able to synthsize DMT it's not so far fetched to assume that the DMT is involved in something related to sleep... Like dreams... or maybe it's being used all the time even when were awake. My experience with DMT definitely felt dreamy, much more so than other psychedelics.

      And if were doing this strictly scientificly, then a substance that only plays a role in the last moments of life doesn't make sense from any evolutionary standpoint that I can think of. Also, as you must know, our scientific understanding of dreams is also highly speculative and far from complete, so I strongly disagree with that what we see in brainscans is sufficient to explain it. Furthermore when it comes to psychedelics our scientific understanding is basically non-existent. It pretty much ends at "it messes with serotonin" Which A LOT of drugs do. As you said yourself a lot of this stuff require action within an extremely limited amount of time and something like a biopsy sample.

      Were still in the infancy of understanding the brain. And if we ever get to the point where we can legitimately say that we have it figured out. Nobody with a mere human brain would be able to comprehend the data.

      "If the brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't." -Lyall Watson.


      Edit: also, I feel like you must give some credit to the people who just "knew" that there was DMT in the pineal gland. They didn't have any science to base it on, but damn if they weren't right. So maybe we shouldn't be too quick to dismiss everything else they say because it's not science....yet
      Last edited by LighrkVader; 03-13-2018 at 08:55 PM.
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      OK. So I did the thing in my first of two lucids tonight. Went to a pool party, it was so insane and hilarious that I actually forgot I was dreaming at one point. But once I remembered I went to find some DMT, smoked it....No success. I did not have a DMT like response to smoking dream DMT. I will try again later this week, I need a little time to get to higher levels of lucidity and get my skills back after a break like this.

      Swanson, please share the terrence mckenna video.
      Last edited by LighrkVader; 03-14-2018 at 10:41 AM.

    6. #6
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      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGlMJkE1_z0

      Start watching at 56:00 mark until 1:00:00 or so. This isn't the only time he's mentioned it but this is the first video I can remember.
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    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by LighrkVader View Post
      That's absolutely true. But mammals have very similar pineal systems across the board. The branching into different pineal systems go wayyyy back. Before mammals were even a thing. So if it's in rat's it is likely to be in other mammals as well. That is (I assume) why they haven't checked the brains of pigs or chimps or whatever. Which would not be hard to do.
      Oh I'm not debating that, this is certainly the case. Maybe I'm just being a pedant for mentioning it, but considering all of these ideas and hypotheses are contingent upon human beings actually being capable of synthesizing it, I think it's important to acknowledge that we don't actually know or have any kind of actual evidence for this being the case, even with the similarity among mammals and parts of the mammalian brain.

      Quote Originally Posted by LighrkVader View Post
      Anyhoo. What role it plays in the brain we obviously don't know. But the pineal gland is largely there to control our circadian rythms and thereby sleep. So if it's able to synthsize DMT it's not so far fetched to assume that the DMT is involved in something related to sleep... Like dreams... or maybe it's being used all the time even when were awake. My experience with DMT definitely felt dreamy, much more so than other psychedelics.
      The pineal gland doesp play a large role in the regulation of our circadian rhythm, but that doesn't mean it's all that heavily implicated in dreaming. For the most part, its role as a regulator is to detect blue wavelengths of light (which correspond to sunlight and therefore daytime), and when they are detected, to suppress the synthesis of melatonin. Melatonin does have affects on dreaming, mostly because its suppression of REM states, but otherwise it doesn't play any major role in the dreaming phenomenon. Since it has a relatively short half-life, the REM suppression winds up causing minor rebound... which is at least in part what's responsible for the occurrence of more vivid and possibly bizarre dreams when you take it as a supplement.

      As far as DMT's qualitative experience being different from other psychedelics goes, it has a bit more unique of a pharmacological profile than other psychedelics do. Most notably is its rather high binding affinity for the sigma 1 receptor, which is actually the receptor n,n-DMT is hypothesized to be an endogenous ligand of. Sigma 1 receptors don't really have much at all to do with sleep or dreaming. Agonism of this receptor is actually more associated with the induction of psychosis or psychotomimetic states of consciousness.

      Psychedelics, when compared to dissociative anesthetics, produce an incomplete model of animal psychosis in lab rodents, whereas the dissociatives are capable of producing states totally indistinguishable from schizophrenic psychotic breaks. The dissociatives most commonly used to cause psychosis in lab rodents are those with, similar to DMT, very high affinity for the sigma 1 receptor--drugs like PCP.

      I know that many people (including myself) who have taken dissociatives that are also sigma 1 agonists (DXM, PCP, various PCP analogs such as 3-MeO-PCP and 4-MeO-PCP, although not so much ones like ketamine) typically wind up describing the experiences as like being in a waking dream, or being unable to tell if they are, in fact, dreaming or not. I don't know if DMT's sigma 1 agonism is actually the cause of the dreamy quality you've experienced with it, but those dissociative experiences seem to corroborate the idea that it may be a significant factor in producing it.

      Quote Originally Posted by LighrkVader View Post
      And if were doing this strictly scientificly, then a substance that only plays a role in the last moments of life doesn't make sense from any evolutionary standpoint that I can think of.
      Well, you have to remember, mutations and their effects on us are random. Even though certain traits resulting from these mutations are selected for by "nature", this doesn't mean all of them are inherently useful for survival or even make sense at all to exist or persist through the generations. On top of natural selection, there's also (human, intelligent) sexual selection to consider, which really just further increases the odds that traits with little or no value to survival itself propagate throughout the gene pool. Even traits that hinder us can remain so long as enough of the population carrying the genes responsible for them continue to survive in great enough numbers and reproduce (which is becoming increasingly more likely given our species' intelligence and social nature, and therefore, proclivity to help one another out). White people's skin's lack of melanin, the lack of protection from UV radiation that comes with that, and the risk it carries for melanoma (especially in some regions of the world) is a good example. That, or the fact we lost almost all of our fur/body hair (presumably from hunting in water and swimming in coastal regions), meaning anywhere not immediately located around the equator, we require animal furs for adequate warmth to survive.

      I'm not saying one way or another what DMT's endogenous role is or isn't, if it has one. I'm just treating the matter in a way I feel is appropriately cautious and thorough. I'm cool with speculation, but only insofar as we all understand and keep in mind the facts.
      Last edited by snoop; 03-19-2018 at 07:36 PM.
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    8. #8
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      Touching on something again real quick... the pineal gland, as I said, isn't actually involved all that much in producing the dream state. As I said in my last post, the changes in brain function we've measured during sleep and during REM in particular are perfectly capable of resulting in the dream state and its really even the more plausible explanation for what causes it. For information regarding the theory of consciousness and how psychedelics mediate their hallucinogenic and deep, profound perceptual effects, here is a good link.

      In it, you'll get some brief information about the thalamocortical circuit. Basically, the thalamus acts as a central hub for sensory information, either letting it through or blocking/gating it. The thalamus sends (and receives) projections via two-way circuits and feedback loops with various cortical brain regions, and then takes all of this information and projects it through sensory binding pathways that integrate it all, constructing our perceptual model of reality. When the network gets destabilized because of things like disinhibition (neurons that should be stopping signals not stopping them), major perceptual anamolies occur. Unlike with psychedelic hallucinogensis though, there isn't all the recurrent feedback excitation or any of the other effects that recurrent excitation winds up causing over time. Instead, certain parts of the brain go silent, others show more activity, and some show altered functionality during REM and dreaming.

      If normal waking brain function is significantly altered, like during sleep and dreaming, or like when taking psychedelic drugs, the result is a large, but predictable range of perceptual disturbances. Of course, then I'm also forgetting that the brain also produces its own interal coherent brainwave patterns all the time (partly as a homeostatic process), but during waking consciousness the signals being projected from sensory organs to the thalamus at a rate of ~40hz, iirc, effectively override (or rather, kind of lock-in) these internally generated signals and constrain us to the signals coming from our senses.

      Various altered states of consciousness allow for these internally generated signals to take precedence when constructing our internal model of reality. Closing the eyes for 15 minutes while in complete darkness, for example, allows neural networks in the occipital lobe to fully decouple, which is what allows things like visualizations or hypnagogic imagery to occur. The Ganzfeld Experiment provides a good example of the result of doing something like that. Total sensory deprivation causes hallucinations because of this same reason. Meditation, hypnosis, hypnagogia, and indeed, dreaming are all good examples of how different levels of parts of the brain decoupling from sensory input affect our consciousness and perceptual experience. Just think of dreaming as self-induced sensory deprivation.
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    9. #9
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      Sorry to triple post, but I'm going to in the interest of keeping my everything I've said at least somewhat organized and coherent.

      Quote Originally Posted by LighrkVader View Post
      Also, as you must know, our scientific understanding of dreams is also highly speculative and far from complete, so I strongly disagree with that what we see in brainscans is sufficient to explain it.
      I misspoke here. What I was meaning to say is that our current knowledge of the altered brain function during the dream and sleep states fits rather well with our current models of consciousness. This would at least, at a quick glance, seem to corroborate our current models--which also suggests the changes in brain function we can observe and measure during sleep or dreaming are largely what's responsible for dream production.


      Quote Originally Posted by LighrkVader View Post
      Furthermore when it comes to psychedelics our scientific understanding is basically non-existent. It pretty much ends at "it messes with serotonin" Which A LOT of drugs do.
      I'm going to repost the link I shared in my last post, along with two others. One basically restates what the first explains, and the second is more concerned with our current model of consciousness itself.

      Selective 5-HT2A agonist hallucinogens: A review of pharmacological interaction and corollary perceptual effects
      5-HT2A Agonism and Multisensory Binding
      Thalamocortical system and human consciousness

      As you'll see by reading the first two, we at least have a greater understanding of how psychedelics work than simply knowing it "messes with serotonin". Sorry if you were exaggerating a bit with that statement, I couldn't really tell. Not to be annoying either, but if we were to be precise, psychedelics don't actually mess with serotonin(5-HT). They're typically agonists or partial agonists at various 5-HT sites, with primarily the 5-HT2A, and somewhat less so with 5-HT2C receptors being most responsible for producing the psychedelic brain state.

      We might not be able to understand why the psychedelic experience occurs, or fully understand how, but we actually have (at least, IMO) a fairly impressive understanding of what's going on.
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    10. #10
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      Thanks for all of the information. Yeah the original part of the post about using dreaming to enter the DMT state is purely speculation. I've never done DMT but I've been looking into the interesting talks about it. I always found it interesting how there is a similarity between DMT and dreaming in that it's difficult to remember both experiences and this is what keeps the lid on how amazing these experiences are, well at least dreaming I can't really speak much for DMT.

      I didn't mean to take away from any of the scientific discoveries about dreaming, but every time I hear about DMT or ayahuasca the people explain the experiences as alien and mysterious. Going off that, it's said that we can't figure out what this is all about through normal means but rather abstract approaches. Why can't we use the act of dreaming to figure out what dreaming is actually all about? Doesn't it seem like the most likely way to figure it all out is from the thing itself?

      I might need to go digging into the forums a bit more, but I thought I read somewhere that it's possible to experience other drugs in a dream, like marijuana or molly. If this is the case, why can't this happen with DMT? I'm not saying your body would somehow get DMT or weed or molly into it from dreaming, but it would be like a memory that you can go back to through the dream. Again, it's speculation but just curious as to what you all think.
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      Very interesting topic!

      I would like to add my point of view.

      I'm a firm believer in that psychadelics serve us the purpose of introducing us to a different experience connected to the specific substance (the signature frequency of the substance, since all substances have a different signature frequency and will introduce a different experience). However, when one has experienced a specific substance once, I believe that by consciously remembering as much detail about the feeling or the state of mind which the substance helped you to attain, you can recreate the experience without the substance itself.

      This however takes some practice, and meditation with focus on the details of the feeling and state of mind the substance brought you to, and it also depends on your ability to imagine, visualize and meditate.

      I would also like to say that I believe you can use lucid dreaming in the aid of attaining the ability to recreate the experience at any time, and I believe that the recreation of the full experience will be done easier and come prior to the ability to recreate it from a more awake state.

      So.. If you want to attain the ability to experience a DMT trip in a lucid dream, I would intuitively recommend these steps:

      1. do DMT atleast once so that you obtain as much detail as possible about the feeling and frequency of the state (of course stay away from drugs and never do DMT though )
      2. Meditate or visualize and imagine this feeling as an exercise for some time
      3. Incorporate the exercise into your lucid dreams

      And soon you will have the ability to experience a DMT trip in lucid dreaming.

      4. continue the exercise even after you've attained the ability to experience a DMT trip in lucid dreams
      5. continue the exercise in waking state

      And soon you will have the ability to experience a DMT trip a more awake state of meditation.



      Edit: IT would also be helpful in the exercise if you anchor the initiation of the intention to get a DMT trip by using some object to smoke from like a pipe or anything similar, something that you can also bring into your LD when doing the exercise there.
      Last edited by Despierto; 03-21-2018 at 10:49 PM.
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    12. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by greyswanson View Post
      I didn't mean to take away from any of the scientific discoveries about dreaming, but every time I hear about DMT or ayahuasca the people explain the experiences as alien and mysterious. Going off that, it's said that we can't figure out what this is all about through normal means but rather abstract approaches. Why can't we use the act of dreaming to figure out what dreaming is actually all about? Doesn't it seem like the most likely way to figure it all out is from the thing itself?

      I might need to go digging into the forums a bit more, but I thought I read somewhere that it's possible to experience other drugs in a dream, like marijuana or molly. If this is the case, why can't this happen with DMT? I'm not saying your body would somehow get DMT or weed or molly into it from dreaming, but it would be like a memory that you can go back to through the dream. Again, it's speculation but just curious as to what you all think.
      Unfortunately, when it comes to science and the scientific method, the only way we have to actually study any kinds of mental phenomena (likewise with astrophysics, often times) is to take these more abstract approaches. The scientific method is the way it is in order to eliminate the cognitive biases inherent to being human. Something you can't measure objectively and have observed by others who agree with the results or aren't able to reproduce them isn't something we can truthfully say is in the realm of science. Science has no interest in making a statement about things like that... other than maybe "we don't know". If you can't successfully produce and reproduce objectively measured results from a good, proper experiment, then any conclusions you come to are just unsubstantiated assumptions.

      However, I don't think that that means there isn't any value in using the act of dreaming and our dream experiences to try and supplement already existing knowledge, inspire curiosity, or explore new hypotheses and concepts about dreaming. As a matter of fact, if the actual dream experience isn't included or integrated into our exploration and discovery of the phenomenon, it's my opinion that any model we construct that is lacking that is fundamentally incomplete without it.

      As far as experiencing drugs or drug effects in dreams goes, I have personal experience with that myself. Truthfully though, rarely has a time that I've ever used a drug in a dream ever produced the effect specific to that drug rather than another altogether, or at least only effects that are vaguely reminiscent of them. A lot of the time I experience drug effects I don't even take anything in the dream and I actually get a rather bizarre amalgamation of the effects of various hallucinogens I've taken in the past (mixing the effects of all 3 classes to various degrees--serotonergic psychedelics, dissociative anesthetics, and deliriants).

      More interesting to me than those effects, though, are the dream experiences that mimick specific effects from hallucinogens but instead it's the natural version. One example is a lucid dream I had a long time ago where I simply existed in a void... and as the void. You could say it was "black", but there was more accurately a total absence of color or anything at all other than my consciousness. I felt as though I were infinitesimally small, yet simultaneously infinitely expansive. I could not tell where I ended or where I began. Indeed, there was a total absence of any kind of location I could even actually exist. I had this dream prior to ever even trying drugs, and its rather similar to holing on a dissociative to the point of ego death (only I didn't lose the ability to comprehend who or what I was, what humans were, what anything was, etc.--I retained all that). It's also similar to ego death on a psychedelic, but I feel the difference there is qualitatively different enough that dissociative ego death was a better match.

      edit:

      By the way, I want to apologize a bit. Not for anything I've said, but for what I haven't (enough)... that is, failing to stress more that I like and enjoy speculation and topics like this. I kinda feel like I've been raining all over everyone's parade here. I'm just trying to help guide the speculation toward being closer to what might actually be going on/the truth... or at least, guiding it away from what we can verify isn't, or is likely further away from it.
      Last edited by snoop; 03-22-2018 at 06:38 PM.
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    13. #13
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      I don't think you've been raining on anyone's parade! I'm a firm believer that a devil's advocate is needed in any intelligent discussion, or else everyone would agree and it would be boring. Possibly my favorite part about lucid dreaming is the possibilities it opens and this is just one idea of how it might open up. This idea might be limited because I don't think many people have ever tried this approach and from what I've heard no one is doing this substance for recreation. One notion I got from the discussion of DMT and dreaming is that it probably won't be solved by normal science, not trial and error, not hypothesis.

      Another question came into my mind. What if we've been unconsciously blocking this possibility in the dream state because of what we think is true in the waking life? Is it possible to suspend our disbelief about what we think we know about these substances in the dream state and once we let down that barrier it will affect you? Meaning we can't explore this possibility because we believe it to be another way.

      From this discussion it sounds like going into this trip is possible through the memory of the experience. Again I appreciate the discussion and look forward to your responses.
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      Hmm, I'm not really sure if it's possible... or even necessarily that it would be the cause of failing to induce the experience. I'm just about positive that unconscious expectation is capable of causing it to fail, but what I meant in my last sentence more specifically was that, at least in my experience with having impaired and/or hallucinogenic states in dreams (typically non-lucid, but sometimes lucid... but I enter the dream that way, so I suppose in either case an unconscious block really couldn't be at fault), is that despite having had these experiences, never have I had one of said experiences be accurate to a specific substance.

      Something that immediately comes to mind is the fact that (hopefully, lol) any time anyone takes and experiences any of these substances, the brain is functioning in the waking state prior to and during the ingestion/come up of, and more or less throughout the entire duration of a substance and its effects. The impaired... well, rather, let's say the state of non-waking functioning (or the lack thereof, in this case) of the frontal lobe and parts of the prefrontal cortex in particular, along with perhaps additional portions of the parietal lobe and somatosensory cortex are very likely to make a reproduction of the legitimate experience nigh impossible to achieve unless maybe you have been sleeping for quite some time and your REM cycles are getting very short and waking brain function is beginning to return from waking up every 20 minutes or so.

      However, those brain structures having altered/lowered or virtually no activity does present us with other opportunities though. As I mentioned before, my hallucinogenic experiences in dreams have all been an amalgamation of basically all the hallucinogens I've experienced, with their various effects showing up in differing degrees each time. I've also had plenty of what you could call trippy and hallucinogen-like experiences in dreams without experiencing anything relating to previous hallucinogen use, the dreams or SP/REM Atonia/hypnagogia themselves produced the experiences as likely a natural response to being in an altered state (doesn't mean it happens often or has to happen at all though).

      The frontal lobe and PFC are responsible for our executive functions, which cover our capacity for logical reasoning, directing our attention and focus, short term memory to some extent, emotional and behavioral regulation, and the self control we utilize during social interaction (being polite and otherwise civil discourse with one another), The somatosensory cortex is responsible for tactile sensations like touch and, to degree, our inner sense of position and location. The somatosensory cortex, or part of it, is either partly some of what makes up the parietal lobe, or its location where it basically directly touches it gives them some overlap in function. It mostly governs both the physical sense of self and the mental sense of self and the perception of being separate from your external surroundings and their feeling of "otherness". T

      he latter two in particular are capable of producing rather captivating and interesting sensations and perceptions when in altered states of consciousness, as they pretty much have a finger on the pulse and control of what determines a normal, healthy, mundane perception of reality. As soon as your ability to properly sense your location in space, the direction and speed you are moving (if at all), where your body is, that you even have a body, and the fact that it's you and not the couch or your dog or literally the entirety of your surroundings. Impaired enough function here is what makes experiences where you can't tell where you end and where things begin, that you are both infinitely large and infinitesimally small, that there is no you and a couch and a rug that you are standing on, but rather an undifferentiated continuum of you-rug-couch-house-etc.
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    15. #15
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      Hi! sorry for dissapearing in the middle of the thread. Things suddenly got real busy on my end. But great thread, you've clearly been getting on well without me

      As for the goal... I've been too busy and tired to keep my focus on lucid dreaming up so no DMT dreams I'm afraid. I did however take a puff of a a giant joint of acid in a non-lucid tonight. The guy who had it before me had gotten so much saliva on it that the tip broke off in my mouth and I got my mouth full of tobacco and tiny chocolate cookies. I don't know why, but there were chocolate chip cookies and tobacco in an acid joint............................................. .............. As for the results, I got high as hell, but didn't feel like acid maybe it was just weed and cookies and the DC was fucking with me, flet more like weed..

      Anyhoo! Lot's of good info! It's dificult to jump in at this point. And I got a little overwhelmed trying to get it all in at once. But I'll try and get around to it. One thing I noticed while was when you spoke on the sigma 1 receptor:

      So DMT ties to Sigma 1.
      DMT is (likely) in the brain naturally.
      Sigma 1 agonists are involved in states that feel dream like.

      From that it would be interesting to know, and it sounds quite likely at least that DMT could be stimulating Sigma 1 during REM. It could at least explain why drugs that act as sigma 1 agonists make people feel like they are dreaming.

      Also: the pineal gland does our circadian rythms and can produce DMT. I can't remember this, but does it also work on REM-cycles? sounds like a likely suspect at least.. and if so. Do we know which hormones or neurotransmittors are used to iniate the REM state? could it be DMT is involved?
      Last edited by LighrkVader; 03-24-2018 at 03:46 PM.

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