Javier Hidalgo Jiménez
Psychedelics researcher

Significance of mammalian DMT: a 60-year-old debate.

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. Research on endogenous DMT is messy and controversial: this paper integrates historical and updated literature providing a comprehensive and intentionally honest overview of the state of the art.

Special attention is given to the most confrontational 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 under hypoxia or the biased activation of serotonin receptors are highlighted. It is concluded that most of the arguments dismissing endogenous DMT’s relevance are based on obsolete data or misleading assumptions. By contrast, data suggest that DMT can be a neurotransmitter and a neuromodulator with relevant functions to our physiology. To end speculation, future research is oriented and encouraged.

Javier Hidalgo Jiménez completed a degree in biomedical sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Having met Dr. José Carlos Bouso in the final year of his degree, he did an internship with ICEERS (International Center of Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Services) where he also met Genís Oña with whom he conducted a public health study on cannabis users that has been published recently. His final year thesis was published last July in the Journal of Psychopharmachology under the title “Significance of mammalian DMT: a 60-year-old debate”.