Though relatively obscure, N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is an important molecule in psychopharmacology as it is the archetype for all indole-containing serotonergic psychedelics. Its structure can be found embedded within those of better-known molecules such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin. Unlike the latter two compounds, DMT is ubiquitous, being produced by a wide variety of plant and animal species. It is one of the principal psychoactive components of ayahuasca, a tisane made from various plant sources that has been used for centuries. Furthermore, DMT is one of the few psychedelic compounds produced endogenously by mammals, and its biological function in human physiology remains a mystery. In this review, we cover the synthesis of DMT as well as its pharmacology, metabolism, adverse effects, and potential use in medicine. Finally, we discuss the history of DMT in chemical neuroscience and why this underappreciated molecule is so important to the field of psychedelic science.
Cameron, L. P., & Olson, D. E. (2018). Dark classics in chemical neuroscience: N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). ACS chemical neuroscience, 9(10), 2344-2357., 10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00101