WASHINGTON – It’s one of the most popular new hallucinogenic drugs being smoked by young people around the world, with many users reporting “spiritual encounters” with entities that sound a lot like demons.
And now, Johns Hopkins University is studying the alarming effects of DMT, or Dimethyltryptamine, asking volunteers who have taken the drug about encounters they may have had with “seemingly autonomous beings or entities.”
One researcher characterized DMT as a “spirit molecule.”
So bizarre are the effects that users have described crossing into another world and seeing “machine elves,” aliens or cartoon cats. One woman reported being swarmed by apparently alive Slinky toys.
The research team is headed by Roland Griffiths, a behavioral biologist with a history of studying psychedelic substances that produce “mystical-type and near-death experiences.”
DMT is a “tryptamine” molecule that occurs naturally in many plants and animals but has been synthesized since the 1930s.