By Nikki Harper
Staff Writer for Wake Up World
As psychedelic research continues to come of age, following decades of shunning, evidence is mounting that psychedelic drugs can have positive therapeutic effects. As we have previously reported here on Wake Up World, psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and MDMA (ecstasy) have both recently been granted Breakthrough Status by the FDA, a designation given to drugs with clinically significant and potentially far reaching benefits. Psilocybin is heading towards phase 3 human trials as a treatment for major depressive disorder, while MDMA is close to approval as a PTSD treatment.
The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at John Hopkins University currently works on two different strands of research: the first is focused on this therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs for treating things like anxiety, depression and eating disorders. The second, however, is more ‘out there’, and explores the changes in consciousness and conscious experience experienced by those using psychedelics. It’s as part of this second strand that the Center has recently completed the largest ever study using DMT.
Aliens, Elves and – Huh?
Specifically, the study set out to explore the types of autonomous entity encounters people have after smoking DMT. Previous studies have revealed a large volume of anecdotal evidence for such entity encounters. In particular, the landmark work of Rick Strassman in 1990 detailed such encounters in-depth, and his book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule spoke of alien-type, unsettling encounters where participants were probed or otherwise had negative or frightening interactions with entities. The Center’s new study, however, reveals that although these types of encounter are reported, they are in a minority.
How Was the Study Done?
This study relied on online responses. An initial 10,000 responses were narrowed down to 2500 from people who had no prior diagnosis of psychosis, were reporting a pure DMT experience and had encountered an autonomous independent entity during that experience.
The overwhelming majority of participants considered the entity to be benign, joyful, loving or kind and associated it with positive emotions. ‘Being’ or ‘Guide’ were the most common labels used to describe the entity, and more than half of the respondents felt that their experience had been more real than everyday life.
Life Changing Encounters?
Of the respondents, 80% said the experience had changed their conception of reality, and 72% believed that the entity continued to exist beyond their own experience. Strikingly, more than half of those who had self-categorized as atheist or agnostic before the experience no longer categorized themselves as such after the encounter.
The link between psychedelics, god-like encounters and positive life changes have been documented before, but researchers point out that what is significant with this study is that DMT is fast acting. A typical experience/encounter is completed within 30 minutes, compared to a psilocybin treatment session, which requires a full 8 hours.
The Psychedelic Therapist Will See You Now
In theory, then, this open up potential for psychedelic clinics around the country, able to see multiple patients in a day. Within an hour-long appointment, a person could take the drug, have their encounter, debrief with their therapist and leave. Given that the vast majority of participants in the DMT study classed their encounter as one of their “most meaningful, spiritual, and psychologically insightful lifetime experiences, with persisting positive changes in life satisfaction, purpose and meaning attributed to the experiences”, there are intriguing possibilities here for DMT as mental health treatment. Where experiences are so profound that they create a major shift in one’s belief system or perception of reality, something very interesting indeed is going on.
-  https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0269881120916143
-  https://newatlas.com/science/dmt-survey-psychedelic-atheism-johns-hopkins-alan-davis/
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- Harnessing the Power of Synchronicity
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- The Benefits of a Daily Divination Practice – and How to Start One
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- Getting Started with Remote Viewing: Step by Step to Strengthen Your Psi Abilities
About the author:
Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and editor for Wake Up World. She writes about divination, astrology, mediumship and spirituality at Questionology: Astrology and Divination For the Modern World where you can also find out more about her work as a freelance astrologer and her mind-body-spirit writing and editing services. Nikki also runs a spiritualist centre in North Lincs, UK, hosting weekly mediumship demonstrations and a wide range of spiritual development courses and workshops.
Say hi at Questionology.co.uk or on Facebook.