More than half of users of the “spirit molecule” told researchers they had started to believe in a higher power.
A study has found that most people who regularly use the psychedelic drug DMT develop beliefs in a higher power such as God, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins University.
An online survey of more than 2,500 people undertaken by researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine revealed that after taking DMT—nicknamed “the spirit molecule” for its ability to create deeply spiritual experiences—58 percent of respondents said tripping on DMT had triggered a belief in divine beings and powerful supernatural entities.
The study, published in the new issue of Journal of Psychopharmacology, aimed to better understand the weird experiences people have on DMT—called “entity encounter experiences”—and how they impacted their outlook. The survey was shared globally on websites such as VICE and is the largest questionnaire looking at DMT entity encounters to date. The results were published by some of the pioneers in modern psychedelic research: Alan K. Davis, Roland Griffiths, and Matthew Johnson, who run Hopkins’ new Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research.
Respondents to the study, who had taken DMT on average 14 times, described bumping into an array of what they could best describe as aliens, spirits, angels, demons, gnomes and fairies. Most of these creatures, said respondents, were sentient and benevolent, with many described as “sacred.” Less than 15 percent reported “judgmental or malicious” creatures.
Meeting these entities seemed to rattle people enough to make 80 percent of them admit the drug had completely altered their fundamental concept of reality. The study found the DMT experience ranked as “one of the top five or single most personally meaningful, spiritually significant, or psychologically insightful experiences of [respondents’] lives.”
DMT, or N,N-dimethyltryptamine, is often described as one of the most powerful hallucinogens on Earth, burying people in a distorted, dreamlike condition that is ineffable, or too extreme to describe using words. It often resembles a near-death experience, and similar to being pronounced dead on a hospital bed and zapping back to life, many folks walk away from a DMT trip with a newfound spiritual outlook.
In the study, most people reported positive outcomes of getting high on DMT. Around 90 percent reported improved life satisfaction and wellbeing, while around 80 percent reported finding meaning and purpose following their experience.
Almost 70 percent of people said they received some kind of message, task or insight from the entities they rubbed elbows with. Some were given predictions about the future or told the day they would die. Some were shown a way out of addiction. Others were told “love is the answer to everything” or “we are all connected, all one.” Some were even told they are God.
“It’s possible that the metaphysical shock from questioning one’s worldview occasioned by these vivid, unusual experiences may play an important role in the enduring positive life changes in attitudes, moods and behavior they inspire,” wrote Alan K. Davis, the study’s lead author. “We need to do more research in order to understand how these entity encounters exert positive changes in people’s lives.”