Citation: Sam. "I Was Injected With DMT in the Name of Science: An Experience with DMT (exp112640)". Erowid.org. Feb 12, 2019. erowid.org/exp/112640
Following a few hours of screening and getting acquainted with the MRI, I had two full DMT study days at the Imperial College's Hammersmith Hospital in London, as a participant in some cutting edge brain imaging neuroscience research conducted by researchers at Imperial College London. The two study days were a week apart (a slot came available earlier than originally planned, and it was a big help to the Imperial guys with my being able to be flexible). I abstained from intoxicants a week prior to the study day. I was initially invited to participate in the pilot DMT-EEG study via a friend who is paying for the MRI scanning sessions, and I had the opportunity to participate in this study due to other study participants moving about in the scanner and giving poor quality data as a result.
On the study day, on arrival at the hospital, I meet with the head neuroscientist whose study it is, another researcher working with him, and the medical doctor who will be injecting me with the DMT (high purity synthetic DMT fumarate) and placebo (saline). I wash my hair in preparation for the EEG skullcap being fitted, while completing a number of questionnaire surveys on a laptop. Electrodes are attached to a number of places over my scalp via a gel that soon solidifies. I'm wired up to the EEG and shown how sensitive it is to noisy data (essentially if the face isn't relaxed). So one needs to be relaxed and very still while undergoing the DMT experience in the MRI for high quality data to be produced. I'm fitted with an injection port in my arm to allow for easy IV injection of DMT and placebo. I have good rapport with the Imperial team and feel like I'm in good, safe hands. I've met the leading neuroscientist running the study a number of times, he's a great chap.
There are four EEG and fMRI brain scanning sessions...two with DMT (in the medium and high dosage range), two with saline placebo, and I don't know which order I'll be receiving the dosages in. It was good to have been acquainted with the MRI environment prior to any dosing. My upper body is confined to the MRI tube, and my head is secured. For the quality of both the EEG and MRI data, it is imperative I cannot and do not move. I have eye shades on while being scanned, with eyes closed. The scanner is really quite noisy, but despite the noise and the confined, restricted space, I quite quickly start to feel comfortable in there.
I was really quite nervous prior to my first dosing. Prior to my first scanning session I gave a urine sample for a drug test to make sure I was clean. I was fitted into the bed in the scanner and it was made sure I was secure. My head was locked in and I was fitted with ear plugs and ear defenders. Eye shades were placed over my eyes and I was loaded into the scanner. Anxiety levels were increasing. I communicate with the study lead through an intercom. He plays a recording of "You are receiving the dose now" and I select my preferred volume over the sound of the baseline scan of my brain. Following the scan, it is time for the dosing. I know that dosing is now imminent, and I'm pretty nervous and my heart is pounding. I receive my dose, and nothing happens. Going on from previous experience in the DMT-EEG pilot study, I know it would only be a few seconds before I start feeling the dose if it was DMT. I'm able to relax, knowing I will not be receiving the dose now. I think this worked quite well, as with more time spent in the MRI scanner, the more comfortable I got being in there.
I fill out a variety of questionnaire surveys and we have lunch. Another member of the Imperial team I know comes to pay me a visit with his baby. This is nice and has a soothing effect on my nerves. We head back in the scanner. A little nervous as I know I will be being dosed for sure now. I personally don't enter the DMT space lightly these days...it is not really a "love n' light" experience for me
I personally don't enter the DMT space lightly these days...it is not really a "love n' light" experience for me
, but rather something much more serious and imposing in tone, if not outright menacing in tone. I'm wired up and loaded in the scanner, with a panic button on hand, and I'm talked through a body scanning session to help relax me. This time around, I will provide an intensity rating every minute. The study lead starts asking me my intensity rating (0 being no effect, 10 being the most intense drug effect imaginable), so I know dosing is imminent. I hear the dosing notification recording, and prepare for blast off. Within in a few seconds there is a distinct shift and expansion of perception behind closed eyelids...the contrast changes dramatically, a silvery screen comes into focus, and from this geometric patterns of extraordinary beauty and order condense and coalesce and link up in the space of just a few seconds. At the same time, I become aware of this feeling of heat or warm energy in both of my hands (something I experience repeatedly on mushrooms and other psychedelics and cannabis, and sometimes while deeply relaxed or meditating). This is a pleasant sensation, and for some reason it reassured me, I knew I was going to be ok, and relaxed and surrendered completely to the experience.
It takes me a minute following dosing to peak interestingly. At minute 1 I'm at a 7, minute 2 I'm at an 8, by minute 3 I'm already on my way back! A very fleeting and fast moving experience. The geometric visual architecture I'm witness too is outrageously beautiful. I remember coppery, bronzey metallic colours, navy blue and some neon pink in the centre of my vision during the peak...in the centre of my vision, it was like there was a light shining into the visual realm, illuminating what I was seeing and splitting up the spectrum of colours to produce a resplendently coloured but localised pool of constantly undulating colours. As the intensity of the peak wears off and I start to come back, I feel in a serene afterglow state, and I nearly tear up in gratitude for having the opportunity to experience something so amazing. I completely relaxed into the remainder of the experience, and I realise the anxieties I'd carried were misplaced.
I should mention that IV DMT is a very smooth ROA, and I much prefer it to vaping. The transition to DMT space I found was smoother and less jarring than vaping it, and due to this smooth entry to DMT space, it seems to change the tone of the experience. I imagine at higher dosages things are likely to be more jarring, given how efficient this ROA is, and Iím not really condoning it, as I was injected with medical grade DMT by a medical doctor, it was a nice way to fly though!
Following the experience I am interviewed in detail about the content of my experience, and find I can recall a fair bit (certainly a lot more than by subsequent high dose experience). I then complete a number of questionnaire surveys to assess my experience in different ways, before having a shower to wash the EEG gel out of my scalp (remnants of which remained in there for a week), I say goodbye to the study lead and head home.
For the second study day, things were reversed, in that I got the DMT dose in the morning MRI scanning session, and the placebo for the intensity rating study. For the afternoon placebo session, even without being dosed, I was definitely in an altered, pre-hypnogogic state in the scanner. It makes me curious as to whether the very powerful magnets of the MRI could affect the brain in some way...but I see pink light pulsing in waves, and my imagination and memory recall is unusually vivid. I feel deeply relaxed in there, despite it being confined and it being so noisy, and I feel on the verge of sleep. Following this I am interviewed and complete more questionnaire surveys.
My second DMT dose for the morning scanning session was a fair bit higher, and I could tell this within a few seconds of being injected with it. There was a dramatic change in contrast, accompanied by a very powerful feeling of acceleration or expansion
There was a dramatic change in contrast, accompanied by a very powerful feeling of acceleration or expansion
, as I entered the DMT space. I encounter similar very beautiful, very ordered geometric visual patterning, but this time much more expansive and all encompassing, and much fast moving. I recall this experience being one of supreme order and supreme chaos...two opposites...at the same time. This was a more imposing experience given its intensity compared to the first, lighter dose. I have to say, I rather enjoyed the MRI scanner setting! Despite being cramped and restricted in movement, despite the incredible noise, it was experienced as a positive setting for a DMT experience in my case, and really didn't detract (one of my friends who took part in this same study thought the same). The interaction of the loud and highly repetitive and rhythmic MRI scanner sounds was interesting, and had a big effect on the visual aspect of the experience...what I was hearing really seemed to cross over with what I was seeing, and at the peak it was hard to know which was which. The experience was longer than the previous one, but a fair bit harder to recall afterwards. On my re-entry I experienced the same feelings of gratitude, and feelings of love and empathy for the special people in my life. Despite the power and speed of the geometries I was moving through, I never forgot that I was part of a scientific study (apparently some other participants did forget this), and I remained absolutely still for the duration. I was commended for this by the researchers, who stated that I would be in the front of the queue should Imperial conduct brain imaging research with 5-MeO-DMT..
One of the final questions I was asked in the surveys was to rate to what degree I thought the experience could be explained as the effect of a drug on the brain, and to what degree I thought I was interacting and experiencing something outside or beyond myself. During the experience itself, I may have been more inclined towards the latter, but once I was back, I rated more highly on the "drug effect on brain" scale...while actually being in the DMT space can be so real, so vivid and so convincing at times, when I'm back down and my mind folds back in on itself to conform to this reality, my sceptical walls go back up with it. From this sober vantage point it seems more likely to me that the DMT experience is some very beautiful and mysterious aberration of brain function...not that I feel that detracts from its majesty really, given how mysterious and complex and amazing human brains are.
So there you have it. An experience I feel tremendous gratitude for having had the opportunity to have, and great to see scientific research on psychedelics start to expand into interesting new areas, and great also to encounter some really great people involved in this. Not something I shall ever forget. Onwards!!! :)
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