Significance of mammalian N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT): A 60-year-old debate

This review (2022) explores the role of endogenously (within the animal) produced DMT in mammalian physiology by exploring 60 years of research. The biosynthesis of DMT, its receptor activity, and regulation are discussed while key experiments are used to prove what role DMT plays in the body such as a neurotransmitter and/or a hormone.


“N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a potent psychedelic naturally produced by many plants and animals, including humans. Whether or not DMT is significant to mammalian physiology, especially within the central nervous system, is a debate that started in the early 1960s and continues to this day. This review integrates historical and recent literature to clarify this issue, giving special attention to the most controversial subjects of DMT’s biosynthesis, its storage in synaptic vesicles and the activation receptors like sigma-1. Less discussed topics, like DMT’s metabolic regulation or the biased activation of serotonin receptors, are highlighted. We conclude that most of the arguments dismissing endogenous DMT’s relevance are based on obsolete data or misleading assumptions. Data strongly suggest that DMT can be relevant as a neurotransmitter, neuromodulator, hormone and immunomodulator, as well as being important to pregnancy and development. Key experiments are addressed to definitely prove what specific roles DMT plays in mammalian physiology.”

Authors: Javier H. Jiménez & Jose C. Bouso

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Significance of mammalian N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT): A 60-year-old debate

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Published in
Journal of Psychopharmacology
June 13, 2022
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Authors associated with this publication with profiles on Blossom

José Carlos Bouso
José Carlos Bouso is a Clinical Psychologist with a PhD in Pharmacology and is the current Scientific Director at ICEERS.


Institutes associated with this publication

ICEERS, or 'The International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research, and Service,' is a non-profit organisation in Spain that plays a key role in both research with psychedelics and the education about psychedelics to a wider audience.

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