What got you interested in researching psychedelics or the pursuit into how our brains possibly formulate indigenous psychedelics?
I was struck by how similar reports of mystical experiences were to those made by people experiencing big psychedelic trips. I thought that mystical experiences may be related to endogenous psychedelics.
In relation to sleep, Dr. Callaway seemed to pave the way for many of your ideas into the possibility for an indigenous psychedelic being produced at that time. Do you support the idea that indigenous DMT is the possible cause for our dreams during REM sleep?
Jace suggests that pinoline, a pineal MAOI, allows endogenous DMT to be more effective during REM sleep. We don't know the dynamics of endogenous DMT, so that's why the LSU group is developing a new generation assay to more accurately and sensitively measure DMT and related compounds in humans. Once we've got normal values in normal people during normal wakefullness, we can start looking at differences in states, conditions, and so on.
In your book “DMT: The Spirit Molecule” you proposed the hypothesis that DMT is synthesized in the pineal gland. I have noticed that many websites and forums misquote you about DMT being factually formulated there. I know that you never said it was, but has there been any further research into the area and what has become of that hypothesis since your last study?
I regret not being more clear about the hypothetical nature of the DMT-pineal link. There is one paper in which human pineal tissue is ground up and put into a test tube; then the precursors for 5-methoxy-DMT are added, stirred, and warmed, and out comes 5-methoxy-DMT. We have no data on intact, in-person pineal gland DMT synthesis. That's one of the questions we hope to answer with our new assay at LSU. While the pineal link remains speculative, it is established that lung makes lots of DMT.
What was the most profound idea that you took from your research on DMT at the New Mexico clinic?
There is a spiritual level of reality, and it does not depend upon our observing it.
I remember reading in your book “DMT: The Spirit Molecule” that you took a break from research into the psychedelics. I have recently read that you may recently be conducting further research into psychedelics. If so what got you back into that work and what type of new research are you working on?
I set up a foundation, Cottonwood Research Foundation, to see if we could get a free-standing institute off the ground to perform research less constrained by University logistics. Right now it's mostly functioning as a clearing-house and think tank. I'm collaborating with several other researchers in the development of research protocols and/or interpretation of their data. I'm working on another book project, which takes all my time, so Cottonwood isn't getting the attention it deserves.
According to the website http://www.thespiritmolecule.com/ they are producing a movie based on the title of your book. What type of involvement (if any) have you contributed to the movie?
I'm a co-producer, have rounded up most of the interviewees, and performed most of the interviews.
In respects to current laws on psychedelic drugs, what do you see as happening in the future with how psychedelics are controlled?
Schedule I is a bit unwieldy, as these drugs are being used safely in research and are generating important data - that is 2 of the 3 criteria for Schedule I (not safe; no use) are being made irrelevant by current research projects. Perhaps a new Schedule could emerge which requires significant additional training in order to use these drugs in non-research settings, once some utility is established for them.
What do you see as some of the positive uses of psychedelics being in relation to psychiatry?
These drugs help us understand the biology of consciousness; and they may be helpful in treatment of various conditions or problems.
If you could start over, would you have done the research into DMT or what other area of research would you spend more of your time on?
I needed more of a peer group within which to do my research, but that's usually the case when you're doing something no-one else has done for such a long time.
Thanks for your time Dr.
Hope that's helpful.